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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.
Practice good skin hygiene to keep your skin healthy. Here are some tips if you notice your skin getting too dry:
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.
Avoid scratching, which damages the skin. If itching is a
problem, try the following:
Call your doctor
if any of the following symptoms are present:
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.
Other Works Consulted
Baumann L (2012). Cosmetics and skin care in dermatology. In LA Goldman et al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 8th ed., vol. 1, pp. 3009–3020. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Garg A, Bernhard JD (2010). Pruritus. In MG Lebwohl et al., eds., Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies, 3rd ed., pp. 608–614. Edinburgh: Saunders Elsevier.
Habif TP, et al. (2011). Maintaining the skin barrier. In Skin Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment, 3rd ed., pp. 2–5. Edinburgh: Saunders.
Hall JC (2010). Pruritic dermatoses. In JC Hall et al., eds., Sauer's Manual of Skin Diseases, 10th ed., pp. 124–130. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
November 7, 2013
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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