Briefly describes the causes of dry skin. Covers home treatment options. Includes info to help you decide when to call a doctor. Offers prevention tips.
Dry Skin and Itching
Dry skin is a common problem
that can occur at any age. When you have dry skin, your skin may be rough, or scaly or flaky, and it may itch.
There are many causes of dry skin. As you age, your skin produces less of
the natural oil that helps your skin keep its moisture. Dry indoor air can
cause your skin to become dry. So can living in climates with low humidity. Indoor heating or air conditioning can dry out the air inside your home. Bathing too often may also dry your skin, especially if you use hot water for your baths or showers.
Practice good skin hygiene to keep your skin healthy. Here are some tips if you notice your skin getting too dry:
Shower or bathe in lukewarm water. Don't shower too often—just when you're dirty or sweaty.
Avoid washing with soap during every bath. When soap is needed, use a gentle, nondrying product, such as Aveeno, Dove, or Neutrogena. Use soap only on the underarms, groin, and feet, and rinse immediately afterward.
Pat your skin dry after a bath or shower. Apply a moisturizer right away. Moisturizers include Aquaphor, Eucerin,
Apply moisturizer several times a day. Use moisturizer on your hands, especially if you must
wear gloves often or if the air is dry where you
Consider using a humidifier if the air inside your home is very dry.
Use sunscreen to protect your
skin when you are outside.
Protect your lips with lipstick or a lip balm, such as
Part of good skin hygiene is also making sure the skin between your fingers and toes doesn't get too dry or cracked. Take care of rashes or fungal infections, like athlete's foot. If they don't clear up with nonprescription medicines, see your doctor to prevent more serious skin problems.
In addition to the prevention
guidelines, the following home treatment suggestions may help make you
comfortable if you have dry skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) provides information
about the care of skin. You can locate a dermatologist in your
area by using their "Find a Dermatologist" tool. Or you can read the latest news in dermatology. "SPOT Skin Cancer" is the AAD's program to reduce deaths from melanoma. There is also a link called "Skin Conditions" that has information about many common skin problems.
American Academy of Family
P.O. Box 11210
Shawnee Mission, KS 66207-1210
The website FamilyDoctor.org is sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians. It offers information on adult and child health conditions and healthy living. There are topics on medicines, doctor visits, physical and mental health issues, parenting, and more.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.