Dry Skin Overview
Also known as xerosis, dry skin is a skin condition characterized by a lack of moisture in the outermost layer of the skin. It occurs when the skin cannot retain enough water, leading to flakiness, itchiness, and roughness.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, dry skin affects approximately 85 million Americans yearly. It is common in older adults, with up to 50% of adults over 65 experiencing dry skin. It is more common in winter when the air is drier and indoor heating can further dry out the skin.
What Is Dry Skin?
Dry skin means the skin is deprived of sufficient moisture or natural oils to maintain its protective barrier. This can lead to various symptoms – including flakiness, itchiness, roughness, and cracking. (1)
It can be secondary to various factors, including genetics, aging, environmental factors (such as cold or dry weather), excessive bathing or showering, harsh soaps or cleansers, and certain medical conditions (such as eczema or psoriasis). Maintaining good hydration, using gentle skincare products, and avoiding prolonged exposure to harsh environmental conditions are some ways to help manage dry skin.