How to Prevent Dry Skin After a Shower

Hot showers may feel good, but they can also leave your body feeling dry and itchy. This is because hot water pulls moisture and oils from your skin. Itching is a common reaction to showers, but if you notice your skin peeling or see a rash, it may be time to see a dermatologist.

Read on to learn how to prevent dry skin after showering.

Woman after shower

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Dry Skin and Showering

Though it can be uncomfortable, the itch that can develop after showering is completely normal.

Some reasons why you may feel itchy after a shower include:

  • You shower often, use very hot water, and linger in the shower
  • You have an allergic reaction to your soap or other cleansing products
  • You have an allergic reaction to residue from laundry products
  • You have an allergic reaction to moisturizer or other after-shower products

Other Causes of Dry, Itchy Skin

Certain skin conditions can either lead to dry, itchy skin or develop because of it. Long hot showers can aggravate the following skin conditions:

Damaged skin is more prone to infection and irritation, so if you see signs of a possible skin condition, don't ignore it and contact your healthcare provider.

Remedies and Prevention

If your skin feels tight and dry after a shower, you can take measures to preserve the oils and moisture to reduce that uncomfortable feeling. You can also help prevent itching by following a few basic principles.

Remedies

If you find your skin is feeling tight, dry, and itchy:

  • Use a fragrance-free moisturizer while your skin is still damp, which will make it absorb better
  • Use creams and ointments, which are more moisturizing than lotions
  • Use a moisturizer with ingredients like ceramides or peptides that help heal the skin barrier
  • Try a humidifier if the room air is dry
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Try anti-itch products, like cortisone cream, to help you avoid scratching, which can spread rashes and lead to infection
  • Avoid products that sting or burn

If your itching becomes very uncomfortable, or if your skin develops a rash or peels, see a dermatologist.

Prevention

Some ways to help keep your skin healthy and hydrated include:

  • Keep showers short and use warm—not hot—water
  • Shower or bathe no more than once a day
  • Use fragrance-free, hypoallergenic products (fragrance is a common trigger for itching)
  • Don't overuse soap
  • Avoid skin products with retinoids
  • Avoid products with alpha hydroxy acids
  • Treat your skin gently and don't use rough washcloths or exfoliators
  • Use a soft towel and pat your skin dry
  • Moisturize with products containing petrolatum (petroleum jelly) or other ingredients that help the skin barrier

What Is the Skin Barrier?

The skin barrier is the outermost layer of tissue on your body, called the stratum corneum. When it's intact, it forms a watertight seal that protects you from damage from irritants and infection. If your skin is dry, the barrier can break down and allows even more water to escape from your skin and body.

Summary

Dry skin after showering is a sign that your skin needs some moisture. You can help prevent dry skin by avoiding overly long, hot showers, using hypoallergenic soaps, detergents, and moisturizers, and treating your skin gently. Use moisturizer after your shower and stay hydrated throughout the day to keep your skin moisturized.

A Word From Verywell

Changing your shower routine may feel like giving up a special pleasure, but it can leave your skin a lot more comfortable. Treat your skin well by avoiding long, hot showers and baths, and make sure to use a moisturizing cream afterwards to keep your skin nourished. If you develop a rash or your itching becomes unbearable, see a dermatologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is my skin so dry even after applying moisturizer?

    You may be dehydrated. Try drinking more water during the day. Also apply moisturizer when your skin is warm and damp, which will make it absorb better.

  • What does dry skin look like?

    Dry skin can look rough, patchy, or flaky. It shows more lines and may crack if it's severe. Older dry skin may look loose as well as rough.

  • How can you tell if you have oily or dry skin?

    If your skin feels tight, itchy, or flaky, you have dry skin. If it gets shiny or feels greasy, you have oily skin. A person can have a combination of the two and both types can get dehydrated, so be sure not to confuse that with dry skin.

  • How often should you shower?

    It depends. If your work, exercise, or sports routine makes you sweaty, you may well need to shower every day. If your activities are more moderate, a shower every other day or so should do it, and is less likely to strip your skin of moisture. You can clean your face and areas prone to odor with a gentle cleanser.

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. American Academy of Dermatology. Dry skin: overview

  3. American Academy of Dermatology. Dry skin: tips for managing.

  4. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Dermatologists' top tips for relieving dry skin.

  5. Kanwar AJ. Skin barrier functionIndian J Med Res. 2018;147(1):117-118. doi:10.4103/0971-5916.232013