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Dry skin is a very common skin condition. It can make your skin feel irritated and itchy. Dry skin often worsens in the winter when the air is cold and dry. Bathing often also makes it worse. With no treatment, dry skin may become flaky or scaly.
Dry skin happens when skin loses too much moisture. Skin thins with age. So, older adults often have dry skin. Other causes of dry skin include:
Dry skin can affect people differently. Dry skin may present like:
Your healthcare provider can usually diagnose dry skin by examining your skin. He or she may also ask about your medical history and your daily habits. If your healthcare provider thinks your dry skin may be due to an underlying health problem, he or she may do other tests.
Bathing less often can help improve dry skin. And when you do bathe or shower, don’t use hot water. Using ointments, lotions, or creams that keep the moisture in also helps.
Apply moisturizers right away after bathing or showering. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a product that contains petrolatum or lanolin.
Consider using a humidifier in your home. If dry skin isn’t helped with these treatments, your healthcare provider may prescribe a prescription medicine to apply to your skin.
Call your healthcare provider if:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
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