There are a number of steps you can take to deal with dry body skin, depending on what is causing it. Dermatologists see this condition frequently, especially in the winter. They often recommend taking short warm showers, rather than longer hot ones, to avoid drying out the skin. Doctors also advise using moisturizer, especially products that contain glycerin, and protecting the skin in windy, cold weather with clothing and accessories like scarves. It isn’t only an outdoor environment that causes dry skin; heated indoor air can remove the moisture from skin, requiring a humidifier in the home to offset the drying effects. Some dermatologists also recommend switching from a bar soap when washing the body to a product such as body wash that is formulated to promote moisture and prevent dry body skin.
In most instances, dry body skin isn’t a cause for serious. There are some conditions, however, that are more stressful and severe, such as ichthyosis. Most patients who see a dermatologist for problems with dry body skin are plagued by the unsightliness of the condition and the accompanying itchiness. In many cases, the condition can be treated at home with lotion or moisturizer and by making easy changes in the environment. Failure to treat a severe case of dry skin could lead to cracks or openings in the skin that could lead to infection.
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The causes of dry skin include the environment, summer heat that steals moisture, and wintry winds that chap skin. Causes of dry skin also can range from not drinking enough fluids to drinking the wrong kinds of liquids, to not eating foods that help combat dry body skin. Water keeps the skin healthy, which isn’t a surprise when you consider water comprises about 70 percent of your body. Dehydration can add to the problem of dry body skin if you don’t drink enough water. Caffeine acts as a diuretic and will lead to a loss of water from the body. If you’re not consuming enough foods that contain the fatty acid omega-3, your skin will have a hard time looking hydrated and supple.
To address the itching that sometimes accompanies dry body skin, doctors recommend a soothing application of cool, moist cloths. An over-the-counter preparation of hydrocortisone also will help to keep inflammation at bay. If your symptoms are especially aggravating or do not go away, an appointment with a dermatologist or family doctor is recommended.