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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Dry Skin and Itching
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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.
The following home treatment suggestions may help make you comfortable if you have dry skin.
Using this type of moisturizer can help heal dry skin.
This is helpful for very dry hands. (Dry feet may benefit from similar treatment.)
Long or sharp nails can accidentally scrape your skin.
Scratching damages the skin. If itching is a problem, try the following:
Practice good skin hygiene to keep your skin healthy. Here are some tips:
Don't shower too often—just when you're dirty or sweaty, or no more than once a day. Wash your skin gently rather than scrubbing it.
A skin cleanser can help protect your skin's natural moisture barrier. Examples include Aveeno, Dove, and Neutrogena.
Apply a moisturizer right away while your skin is still damp. Examples include Aquaphor, Eucerin, and Purpose.
Moisturizer, such as a skin cream or ointment (petroleum jelly), protects your skin better than lotion.
Part of good skin hygiene is also making sure your hands and feet don't get too dry. 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.
Current as of:
March 3, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Martin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineEllen K. Roh MD - Dermatology
Current as of: March 3, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Ellen K. Roh MD - Dermatology
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