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Guide to Sjogren's Syndrome

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Updated February 25, 2007

10 of 10

Part 10 of 10 - What Can I Do About Dry Skin?

Many People With Sjogren's Have Dry Skin

Some experience only itching, but it can be severe. Others develop cracked, split skin that can easily become infected. Infection is a risk for people with itchy skin, particularly if they scratch vigorously. The skin may darken in infected areas, but it returns to normal when the infection clears up and the scratching stops.

Tips

To treat dry skin, apply heavy moisturizing creams and ointments several times a day to trap moisture in the skin. Lotions, which are lighter than creams and ointments, are not recommended because they evaporate quickly and can contribute to dry skin.

Doctors also suggest that you:

  • take only short showers
  • use a moisturizing soap
  • pat your skin almost dry and then cover it with a cream or ointment.
  • If you take baths, it is good to soak for 10-15 minutes to give your skin time to absorb moisture. Using a humidifier in the bedroom can help hydrate your skin. If these steps do not help the itching, your doctor may recommend that you use a skin cream or ointment containing steroids.

    Sun Sensitive

    Some who have Sjogren's, particularly those who also have lupus, are sensitive to sunlight and can get painful burns from even a little sun exposure, such as through a window. If you are sensitive to sunlight, you should wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) when you go outdoors and try to avoid being in the sun for long periods of time.

    Source: Q & A About Sjogren's Syndrome, NIAMS, Jan. 2001

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