Is your skin so dry it burns? Very dry skin can be incredibly painful, with a feeling of anything from stinging to burning to tingling. Unfortunately, using lotion to relieve the problem might actually hurt! Why does lotion burn dry skin and what can you do about it? Fortunately, there are clear reasons why this happens, and plenty of ways to alleviate the pain.

Why Does Lotion Burn Dry Skin?

If your hands sting after lotion application, you’re not alone. Many people suffer from the very unpleasant feeling of putting a soothing lotion on their dry hands, only to be confronted with an even worse burning sensation. In many cases, this can be due to two main reasons: the ingredients in the lotion and the dryness of the skin.

As mentioned above, dry skin itself can lead to painful feeling, sting or burning sensations. When it comes to lotions, certain ingredients contained in the lotion can cause such burning sensation. If you have extremely dry or very sensitive skin, avoid products with the following ingredients:

  • AHAs

  • Vitamin C

  • Benzoic acid

  • Lactic acid

  • Glycolic acid

  • Azaelic acid

When seeking out a product that doesn't include these ingredients, look for one that is designed for sensitive skin. You should also look for something that is very smooth and fragrance free, or designed for specific reasons, such as barrier repair or post-peel balms. Though these might still sting your dry skin, they will hurt much less than typical products do.

How to Find the Right Lotion for Dry Skin

Why does lotion burn dry skin? It should make it feel better, right? Unfortunately, not all lotions are created equal, which means that some just won't work for your skin type. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a lotion that works for skin so dry it burns:

No alcohol. When your skin is very dry, it often has tiny cuts in it. You can't see these microscopic cuts, but you will definitely feel the sting of them when alcohol touches the area! Besides that, alcohol is known for drying skin out even more. Avoid any lotion that has alcohol as an ingredient, even a minor one.


No scent. Fragrances are actually chemicals that are added to the lotion ingredients. These chemicals can make your skin itch, burn and sting. This is especially true if you have those microscopic cuts mentioned earlier. Look for a fragrance-free lotion.


Recommended lotion. Now you know what to avoid, but what should you embrace? There are several ingredients that can care your skin very well. Look for lotions that contain aloe vera or chamomile, essential oils and are fragrant-free as well. You can also benefit from those that contain jojoba, olive or almond oils.

How to Take Care of Dry Skin


Take care of your hands and feet. Your hands and feet are often the first places you feel the dryness, so take care of them before the burn starts. Use a good, high-quality lotion on your hands and feet, and take care to use more heavy-duty lotion in the winter, such as those that contain glycerin. For even more hydration, put on the lotion and then slip on socks or gloves. Remember to exfoliate your feet in order to get rid of dry skin cells and help the lotion do its work.


Keep things steamy. When the weather turns cold, heaters blast out hot air – but that air is very dry, and it sucks the moisture right out of your skin. Avoid this by plugging in a humidifier to keep the air moist and comfortable. Several small humidifiers throughout the home often work better than one large unit.


Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water because it's good for you – but remember that it doesn't necessarily mean your skin will be softer. In fact, the amount of water you drink doesn’t change the way your skin looks or feels. Don't discount drinking water, but do it in conjunction with the other methods mentioned here.


Avoid over-washing. If you wash your skin too often, it can turn dry and rough. In fact, washing your hands too often might even lead to cracking and burning. Use warm water to clean your face, and limit your washings to twice a day at most. After you wash your skin, always use a moisturizer.


Apply sunscreen. Always use sunscreen, even if the day is overcast. The sun can dry out your skin over time, as well as damage it in other ways. Sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide is much better for you than those that contain harsher chemicals.


Shower in the proper manner. Never go for long, hot showers – no matter how good they feel to your dry skin at the time. Hot water will destroy the oils that your skin produces, leaving it raw and unprotected. Try to stick to showers or baths that are ten minutes at the most, once a day.


Moisturize your skin correctly. A great trick to use moisturizer is apply that after you get out of the shower; while your skin is still slightly damp, you skin can trap in even more moisture. Why does lotion burn dry skin? Sometimes, the skin is too dry to begin with. Using lotion every chance you get can help alleviate the burn and restore smooth, healthy skin.


Please Log In or add your name and email to post the comment.

  • Mona M.Jun.18 10:24
    Technically it might burn because it's trying to repair the dry skin, especially if it's chapped. I think.
View All Comments /Add Comment