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Other Names:
Winter Itch, Skin Dryness
Dry Skin

Definition

Dry skin or skin dryness is caused by lack of moisture or "oils" in the skin. The skin may be cracked, peel easily, or become irritated, inflamed and rashes may appear.

The oil producing glands or sebaceous glands produce less secretions as we age. This decrease in sebaceous secretions is more pronounced in women than in men. It becomes difficult to keep the skin moist, resulting in dryness and itchiness.

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Causes

  • Aging process - dry skin is extremely common, especially in the elderly.
  • Weather conditions especially during winter when the humidity decreases and the air is drier.
  • Use of a forced-air furnace or a fan.
  • Taking baths too frequently
  • Use of harsh soaps

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What You Can Do

  • Inflammation may be reduced by over-the-counter anti-inflammatory creams or lotions.
  • Change your bathing habits and reduce the frequency of bathing; short baths or quick showers should be taken, with tepid (not hot) water.
  • Use milder soaps or body washes
  • Dry the skin gently after bathing, do not rub.
  • Lock the skin moisture in by applying moisturizing lotions or body creams immediately after drying your skin. Increase the frequency of using these moisturizers.
  • Use a humidifier at home or at work.

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Dry Skin