How to deal with dry skin on hemodialysis

Since starting hemodialysis I have had to deal with incredibly dry skin. My skin literally flakes off because it is so dry and it actually hurts. Kidney failure can affect your sweat and oil glands, impacting your skin. You are also limited to the amount of water you can drink so your skin is dehydrated. I have spent the last few months trying a combination of different products and I have finally found a routine that sort of works for me. My skin is still dry but it no longer hurts or flakes. It also looks a lot healthier and does not look as dry. This is not a cure for your dry skin. I have spoken to a lot of people and they all admit that they try all these techniques and it helps for a while but not forever. But if you’re someone like me that is obsessed with trying to perfect everything, this will help.

Step 1 – Dry brushing

I was introduced to dry brushing by my friend/beautician. You can read the article she shared with me here. Before getting into the shower, I brush gently over my entire body to brush off the dead skin. I used a beard brush that I found at home but you can use any exfoliating brush. I literally see the dry skin flake off as I do this. Just be careful not to brush too hard. My skin is incredibly sensitive and I bruised easily so I have to remember to be quite gentle when doing the simplest things.

Step 2- Exfoliate

Because my skin is so dry, I do two phases of exfoliation. The dry brushing and by using a salt scrub. Some people prefer to use their body scrub in the shower but I apply mine while my skin is still dry. This ensure that the salt does not dissolve under running water. I use the Lush Rub Rub Rub  and it is honestly amazing. It leaves your skin so soft. The salt pieces are quite big so it gives you a good exfoliation. Once I have applied the scrub and massaged it into my skin, I wash it off with warm water.

Step 3- Shower Oil

Once I am in the shower, I use the Eucerin AtoControl Bath and Shower Oil.  This is an amazing little product. When you pour it from the bottle, it looks like an oil but as soon as you use it on your skin, it starts to lather up. It is non greasy but it leaves your skin so shiny and smooth. It is a bit pricey but a little goes a long way. Sometimes I apply this with my hands or with a sponge from Shzen.

Step 4 – Oil Massage

As soon as I step out of the shower, I use Bio-Oil (you can use any tissue oil or essential oil, but I love Bio Oil in general) all over my body. I do this before I dry my skin. So basically I massage the Bio-Oil into my skin with the water still on my body. Once I have done that, I take my towel and gently pat down on my skin so that I do not remove all the oil with my towel.

Step 5 – Moisturize

I have honestly gone through so many different moisturizers. I have tried some from The Body Shop and others from Vaseline. I use PhysioGel AI Cream on the very dry spots like my knees, feet and elbows. I still haven’t found the perfect moisturizer though. So if you know of any, please let me know!

12 thoughts on “How to deal with dry skin on hemodialysis

  1. Hi..I had kidney failure in April this year…like you I also felt sick for a while but thought it was because of my busy lifestyle untill in started vomitting non stop for almost a week, anything I swallowed I threw up again even if it was just abit of water…I arrived at hospital in a critical condition! I was shocked when I was told I have kidney failure and my kidneys are only functioning on 2% the toxins in my blood was over a 1000!!! Iam now on Dialysis 3 Times a week and alhumdulilah I feel stronger and better, some days are better than others, but I have back pain every day and suffer a lot of hair loss and dry skin too….I have a disabled card in my car so I can park in disabled areas at malls too….I love your blog it’s very informative to me as I didn’t know what to do with my dry, flaky, itching skin…I’m still trying to find a way to stop the hair loss. Thanks so much for sharing your journey. xxxxxx


    1. Hi Jubayda! I am so sorry to hear that but I am very glad to hear you were diagnosed and that you are receiving treatment. I don’t have a disabled parking disk but sometimes I wish I did. I’m glad my blog assisted with your skin issues. As for the hair loss, I know Biotin is recommended but only post transplant. I’m not sure if its allowed while you’re on dialysis. Maybe chat to your doctor for advise


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