Q. My skin is so dry and itchy that sometimes I have to stop and scratch in the middle of a tennis game. This annoys my partner, and of course it bothers me more than I can say. What suggestions do you have for dry itchy skin?
A. For very dry skin, dermatologists often recommend a heavy-duty moisturizer. Plain petroleum jelly (Vaseline) works well and is inexpensive. Aquaphor is also very effective, though some people find it greasy.
The best way to use such products is by applying them after a bath. Blot, don't rub, excess water off the skin and then put the moisturizer on.
Many people also find barnyard moisturizers such as Bag Balm or Udder Cream helpful and cost-effective. We are sending you our Guide to Skin Care for more tips on these and other skin creams to fight dryness.
If moisturizer doesn't cure your itchy dry skin, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Some skin conditions, including eczema, scabies and hives, can cause itching. But so can serious diseases like liver problems, diabetes, thyroid abnormalities and certain cancers. Your doctor should rule out such causes of persistent itching.