Dry Skin


Dry skin, or xerosis, is a common skin condition that results when the skin loses moisture and its natural oils resulting in scaling, flaking, cracking, and itching. It is sometimes also referred to as xeroderma or xerosis. Dry skin affects people of any age and skin type and can occur anywhere on the body.

Normal skin has a water content that ranges from 10-15% to keep it soft and smooth. Disruption to this, due to external factors or internal factors, can lead to the development of dry skin.

What are the Common Causes of Dry Skin?

You can experience dry skin for a variety of different reasons, including:

External Factors
  • Weather and climate: Exposure to the cold, low humidity, and dry indoor spaces can all lead to dry skin.
  • Your occupation: People who work in jobs that require repeated hand washing or result in exposure to chemicals are more likely to have dry skin. Examples include: nurses, housekeepers, daycare workers, cooks, florists, and hairdressers.
  • Lifestyle factors: Taking long hot showers or baths can dry out your skin. Similarly, many popular soaps can be harsh, stripping your skin of its natural oils.
Endogenous Factors
  • Skin diseases: Patients who suffer from conditions like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis commonly have dry skin.
  • Systemic disorders: People with diabetes, thyroid disease, or kidney disease may also develop dry skin as a result of their health issues. Cancer survivors and cancer patients can also develop dry skin as a result of their cancer treatments.
  • Age: As we age, our skin produces less oils and we become more prone to having dry skin.
  • Medications: Certain medications such as retinoids and diuretics can cause you to have dry skin.
  • Diet: A lack of water intake, along with vitamin or mineral deficiencies, can lead to the onset of dry skin.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Skin?

The common symptoms of dry skin include:

  • Roughness
  • Scaling
  • Flaking
  • Peeling
  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Cracks in the skin
  • Pain, burning, or stinging of the skin

How is Dry Skin Treated?

Setting up an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist can help. A dermatologist can accurately diagnose your condition and recommend a treatment regimen that works just for you.

The most common treatments options that your dermatologist may recommend for dry skin include:

  • Lifestyle modifications:
    • Limiting the frequency and duration of showers and baths
    • Using warm water instead of hot water for showers and baths
    • Adding a humidifier to your home
  • Product recommendations:
    Your dermatologist can help provide a list of recommendations for mild cleansers, good moisturizers (usually creams or ointments), and fragrance-free laundry detergents.
  • Treatment of underlying skin conditions which may contribute to your dry skin

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Serving Patients in and around Palm Beach County

Palm Beach Dermatology has been serving patients in and around Palm Beach County for over twenty years, we are a full-service dermatology and dermatological surgery practice with special emphasis on the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer. All physicians in our group are Board Certified by The American Board of Dermatology and are Fellows of the American Academy of Dermatology. We invite you to visit us at Palm Beach Dermatology to find out why you can trust our skin care team.

  • "To My Wonderful Doctor! I just couldn’t wait 6 months to tell you what I think of you! You are friendly, kind, gentle, soft spoken and you don’t want to hurt me! You’re Special and …. YOU REALLY CARE!! Thank You For You!"
    Marilyn T.
  • "Dr. Muhart is truly a very caring and professional doctor. I have referred many friends, family members and co-workers to her office knowing they will get great care."
    Karen C.
  • "Dr. Lifshitz has an incredibly gentle bedside manner. He diagnoses issues with ease and offers possible ways to address them so the patient can make the best decision for him or herself. I know I am in great hands with Dr. Lifshitz."
    Ami S.
  • "The office team is very personable and friendly. When you walk in you feel like family. Brian is the best. I have been going to Brian for over 5 years and would never change. It is great to see him again and the staff. Absolutely wonderful!!"
  • "Dr. Kowalczyk and his staff are awesome! The office staff is both efficient and friendly. His exam is thorough. I will definitely be back!"
    Jenna J.
  • "As a longtime skin cancer patient I’m impressed with Dr. Kelley’s professionalism and follow-ups. She and her staff are all about results and patient satisfaction. Quite different from the other “Mohs Mills”!"
    Woody B.
  • "Dr. Fayne saw my daughter for her acne. He was great with her and explained everything so she could understand. We love the office staff too!"
    Kristen B.
  • "I have been seeing Dr. DiBacco going on 10 years. Truly, a great dermatologist. He cares and is very personable. He is detailed with his assessments and treatments. What more could you ask for except a great personality? Oh, and he has that too!"
    Alex M.
  • "Dr. Cohen makes you feel like part of his family. He is very thorough in his exams and keeps you informed during your dermatological office visits and any telephone follow-ups."
    Steven D.