September 02, 2022 3 min read

What is Dry Skin?

Dry skin is quite common, usually not a serious problem, and is characterized by an inappropriate amount of water in the epidermis, the most superficial layer of the skin.

Men and women are equally affected by the symptom, butolder people are much more likely to have dry skin. This is because the production of natural oils and lubricants tends to decrease with age.

Usually the areas where the skin becomes driest are:

  • Hands
  • Weapons
  • Lower legs
  • Elbows

Factors such as air humidity, use of hot water in baths, and high or very cold temperatures interfere with the skin's natural hydration.

What might be causing a dry skin:

Most cases of dry skin are linked to the place where the person lives and their routine, such as:

  • The weather, as, in general, the skin gets drier during the winter, when the humidity levels and the temperature drop. But the same can happen in desert regions, as temperatures rise, but air humidity remains low.
  • Hot places in general, such as fire places, with wood stoves, with central or electric heaters, reduce humidity
  • Long baths with hot water also contribute, the same goes for those who practice swimming, since in addition to staying in the water for a long time, pools usually have chlorine.
  • Use of harsh soaps, deodorants and antibacterials, as well as detergents
  • Constant exposure to air conditioning
  • Some shampoos can also cause your scalp to dry out.
  • Sun exposure also dries out and ultraviolet rays penetrate deep into the skin, which causes deep wrinkles and sagging.

But, in addition to these cases, the following health conditions can cause dry skin:

  • Aging
  • Dermatitis (eczema)
  • Psoriasis
  • Rougher skins
  • Medications, such as diuretics
  • Metabolic changes
  • Hormonal factors, such as when menopause occurs, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism


While dry skin is a symptom or condition that stems from other health or lifestyle issues, it can cause the following concomitant symptoms:

Skin feels hardened, especially after bathing or swimming


Peeling and cracking of the skin, which can be mild, moderate, or severe

Fine lines or “cracks”


Deep cracks that can bleed

Risk factors

Everyone can develop dry skin at some point, but you are more prone to this symptom if you:

  • Is over 40 years old
  • Lives in dry, cold, hot and/or low-humidity places
  • Works with something that requires a lot of time in contact with water, like hairdressers
  • Practice water sports regularly in a chlorinated pool

At the Medical Appointment:

The GP can give you some information about dry skin, but he or she is more likely to refer you to a dermatologist. Taking some information and questions to the doctor can help with the consultation, accurate diagnosis and treatment. 

Your doctor may ask:

  • What is your routine, lifestyle?
  • Do you have any other symptoms besides dry skin?
  • Are the symptoms continuous or occasional?
  • Is there anything that makes your skin better? What?
  • What makes her worse?
  • What medications are you currently using or have you recently stopped taking?
  • How often are you in contact with water? What soaps and shampoos do you use? Do you bathe in hot water?
  • Do you use moisturizers? Which? How often?

Remember to always clear all your doubts with the doctor. Carrying some already written down makes sure you don't forget anything that may be important for your treatment, but don't hesitate to ask if you have any new questions at the time of the appointment. Some issues you might want to understand better are:

  • What is causing my skin to dry out?
  • Are there other possible causes for my symptoms? Which?
  • Do I need to take an exam?
  • Do I need treatment or is this situation likely to reverse itself?

Most problems can be solved withhomemade skin care.

However, when skin dryness is severe or chronic, dermatologist evaluation may be necessary to identify the presence of other problems and treat them.

Another possibility is that he indicates products to reduce the discomfort of dry skin according to your needs. See a doctor if:

  • The skin does not improve despite all the care and efforts to do so.
  • Dry skin is accompanied by redness
  • Dryness and itching interfere with sleep quality
  • If you have ever caused wounds, infections or scars from picking at the skin so much


Most cases of dry skin can be resolved with moisturizing creams that contain lactic acid or urea.

In the case of more serious problems, such as dermatitis, psoriasis, among others, the dermatologist may recommend special creams and, sometimes, manipulation formulas.


You can prevent dry skin in most cases by avoiding dry soaps, which irritate the skin, and using good moisturizers.

These moisturizers should be chosen according to yourskin type, place to be applied and lifestyle. Always look for creams with urea.
Evelyn Setubal
Evelyn Setubal

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