As you get older, your skin will likely become drier. You may see more skin flakes that detach and fall from your skin, too. That dryness may result in a lot of uncomfortable itchiness.
This dryness happens because as your skin ages, it produces fewer natural moisturizing oils, in part due to a decrease in hormone production. In addition, seasonal changes exacerbate your body's physical transformation -- very cold and windy weather tax your skin's moisture levels and may leave your flesh feeling chapped and raw.
The good news is that although this is a very common problem for older adults, there are numerous ways to combat dryness. A good-quality moisturizer goes a long way towards relieving dryness, and by applying a healthy layer of lotion right after a bath, you'll seal in moisture.
You may need to experiment with various types of moisturizers to find one that works best for your skin type. Some experts recommend a lotion made with petrolatum or lanolin. Products containing chemicals such as lactic acid, urea, alpha hydroxy acids or ammonium lactate may irritate sensitive skin.
The best lotions and moisturizers won't help, though, if you abuse your skin during your shower or bath. Very hot water tends to strip more oils from your skin than milder warm water. Also, many soaps are on the harsh side, so using a gentler cleanser can greatly reduce overall dryness.
Beyond simple moisturizers, a quality vitamin A cream can significantly improve skin condition. Vitamin A decreases the rate of collagen breakdown. Collagen is a fibrous protein that helps maintain skin firmness. A diet high in vitamin A (this includes more oranges, carrots, eggs and other foods loaded with vitamin A) may also help, and doctors say increasing intake of antioxidants and omega-3 and omega-6 foods helps, too.
In some cases, skin becomes so dry that it cracks visibly. If your skin experiences this extreme level of dryness, be sure to visit a dermatologist for professional care.