Dry Skin

Content provided by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School

Dry skin is a nuisance. It can be a pain (literally). When dry skin cracks, it can give bacteria and other microbes entry to the body.


Dry skin can be a tip-off to some seemingly unrelated health problems. But most often dry skin is not a sign of a separate skin condition or other medical problem. Instead, it can come from taking long, hot showers, using harsh soaps, exposure to dry air, and other things that pull moisture from the skin.


This guide will help you discover what might be causing your dry skin.


Let's start by making sure you have only dry skin and not another skin condition as well.


Which of the following descriptions applies to your skin?

My skin is only dry and/or flaky.

My skin is dry and itchy?

My skin is dry, itchy and red?

My skin is dry and red, but not itchy?

None of the above describe my skin.

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