Dry Skin

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Signs & Symptoms

•  Itchy skin. The skin can be red from scratching it.

•  Chapped skin.

•  Skin cracks, peels, and/or flakes.


•  Aging. The body naturally produces less oil and moisture.

•  Cold winter weather. Dry air or heat.

•  Washing the skin often. Using harsh skin products.

•  Chronic and excessive sun exposure.

•  Allergies. An underactive thyroid gland. Diabetes. Kidney disease. Other skin conditions, such as psoriasis.


Dry skin is not a serious health risk. It can be managed with self-care. When dry skin is a symptom of a health problem, treating the problem treats the dry skin.

Questions to Ask

American Academy of Dermatology

866.503.SKIN (503.7546)


Self-Care / Prevention

•  Drink 8 or more glasses of water a day.

•  Apply an oil- based lotion daily.

•  Wear rubber gloves when you wash dishes.

•  Take showers instead of baths. Use warm (not hot) water. Try sponge baths.

•  Apply a moisturizing cream while your skin is damp. Use products with lanolin.

•  If you do bathe, do so for only 15 to 20 minutes in lukewarm water. Pat yourself dry. Do not rub.

•  Put soap on a washcloth, not right on the skin.

•  Use a mild liquid soap, like Cetaphil lotion or use a fatted soap. Avoid deodorant, medicated, or alkaline soaps.

•  Don’t use moisturizers with fragrances, preservatives, or alcohol.

•  Use a night cream for the face.

•  Stay out of the strong sun. Do not use tanning salons. When in the sun, use a sunblock with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.

•  Don’t scratch or rub dry skin.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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