In most cases, dry skin responds well to lifestyle measures, such as using moisturizers and avoiding long, hot showers and baths. If you have very dry and scaly skin, your doctor may recommend you use an over-the-counter (nonprescription) cream that contains lactic acid or lactic acid and urea.
If you have a more serious skin disease, such as atopic dermatitis, ichthyosis or psoriasis, your doctor may prescribe prescription creams and ointments or other treatments in addition to home care.
Sometimes dry skin leads to dermatitis, which causes red, itchy skin. In these cases, treatment may include hydrocortisone-containing lotions. If your skin cracks open, your doctor may prescribe wet dressings to help prevent infection.
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.