Ordinarily, dry skin isn't serious, but it can be uncomfortable and unsightly, creating fine lines and wrinkles.
Serious dry skin conditions — an inherited group of disorders called ichthyosis — can sometimes be disfiguring and upsetting. Fortunately, environmental factors that can be at least partially controlled cause most dry skin. These factors include hot or cold weather, low humidity and soaking in hot water.
Chronic or severe dry skin problems may require evaluation by a doctor who specializes in skin (dermatologist). But first you can do a lot on your own to improve your skin, including using moisturizers and avoiding harsh, drying soaps.
Jan. 28, 2014
- Dry skin. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/a---d/dry-skin. Accessed July 1, 2013.
- Fazio SB, et al. Pruritus: Overview of management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 1, 2013.
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=740. Accessed July 1, 2013.
- The management of chronic pruritis in the elderly. Skin Therapy Letter. com. http://www.skintherapyletter.com/2010/15.8/2.html. Accessed July 1, 2013.
- Weston WL, et al. Treatment of atopic dermatitis (eczema). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 1, 2013.
- Dermatologists' top 10 tips for relieving dry skin. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.skincarephysicians.com/agingskinnet/winter_skin.html. Accessed July 1, 2013.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 1, 2013.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.