Challenging Dry Skin


Haley Pierce , Editor

Dry skin is not usually serious. It is mostly caused by factors like hot or cold weather, low moisture in the air and soaking in hot water. There is a lot you can do on your own to improve your skin, including using moisturizers and avoiding harsh, drying soaps. Dry skin can sometimes be severe so in these cases, you may need help from a doctor who specializes in skin.


You may only get dry skin in the winter, but it may be a lifelong condition. Signs and symptoms of dry skin depends on your age, your health, where you live, time spent outdoors and the cause of the problem.



  • A feeling of skin tightness after showering, bathing, or swimming
  • Skin that feels and looks rough
  • Itching
  • Slight to severe flaking, scaling or peeling
  • Fine lines or cracks
  • Redness
  • Deep cracks that may bleed


Most causes of dry skin respond well to lifestyle and home remedies. You should see or contact your doctor if:

  • Your skin does not improve in spite of your best efforts
  • Dry skin is accompanied by redness
  • Dryness and itching interfere with sleeping
  • You have open sores or infections from scratching


Dry skin often has an environmental cause. Potential causes of dry skin include:

  • Your skin seems to be the driest in winter when the temperatures and humidity levels go down.
  • Central heating, wood-burning stoves, space heaters and fireplaces all reduce humidity and dry your skin.
  • Harsh soaps and detergents. Many popular soaps, detergents and shampoos take moisture from your skin as they are formulated to remove oil.
  • Hot baths and showers. Taking long hot showers or baths can dry your skin. So can frequent swimming especially in heavily chlorinated pools.
  • Other skin conditions. People with skin conditions are prone to dry skin.


Risk Factors:

  • The risk increases with age. More than 50 percent of older adults have dry skin.
  • Live in a dry, cold, or low-humidity climates.
  • Have a job that requires you to immerse your skin in water.
  • Swim in chlorinated pools frequently.


  • Seals skin to keep water from escaping.
  • Limit Water exposure. Keep bath and shower time to ten minutes or less. Turn the dial to warm, not hot. Try to bathe no more than once a day.
  • Skip the drying soap. Try cleansing creams, gentle skin cleaners and shower gels with added moisturizers.
  • Cover as much skin as possible in cold or windy weather. Winter can be especially drying to skin, so be sure to wear a scarf, hat and gloves when you go out.
  • Wear rubber gloves. If you have to immerse your hands in water or are using harsh cleansers, wearing gloves can help protect your skin.


With winter approaching us quickly these tips will serve you good in preventing yourself from getting dry skin.