Those dry, scaly patches of skin are parched and desperate for some soothing attention. To stop the itch, you have to remedy the dryness, and you can't do that unless you understand why your skin is dry. Dryness can result from both external irritants and internal factors.
The usual external culprits that cause dry skin include:
- Harsh and abrasive soaps
- Extended exposure to water, especially hot water or heavily chlorinated water
- Lack of humidity -- either from the weather or from air conditioning and heating units
[source: Mayo Clinic]
Internal factors, such as genetics, can also contribute to dry skin. Not only can you inherit hair and eye color from your family, but you can also inherit skin sensitivity or a predisposition toward drier skin [source: Cleveland Clinic]. Certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism or diabetes, can also lead to dry skin [source: WebMD]. Plus, you are more likely to develop dry skin as you get older because you lose oil glands that naturally moisturize your skin [source: Cleveland Clinic].
If you develop dry skin, take some time to consider the source. Look at your soaps and laundry detergents. Pay attention to how much time you're spending in the bath, shower or swimming pool. Think about the moisture content of the air around you, both inside and outside. If you think that your dry skin might be the result of external irritants, then you can focus on addressing those causes. If you can rule out external factors, then you might start investigating internal causes.
Once you have an idea of the factors behind your dry skin, you can begin to remedy it. Read on to find out how to treat itchy, dry skin.