Symptom Checker: Symptoms & Signs Index
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Dry skin, medically known as xerosis or xeroderma, is usually a mild condition caused by environmental factors, although dry skin can also result from some common skin ailments. Inherited diseases of the skin known as ichthyoses, while very rare, can also cause disfiguration and excessively dry skin. Even systemic conditions (conditions that affect the entire body) can lead to dry skin. One example is hypothyroidism, which reduces the activity of the glands that produce skin secretions. Some medications, including retinoids for the skin as well as some antihistamines and diuretics, may have dry skin as a side effect.
Dry skin can be associated with symptoms, including flaking, itching, dullness, redness, pain, and tightness of skin.
Dry skin is treated with hydrating creams and lotions. If a skin inflammatory condition is associated with dry skin, treatment is directed at the underlying condition.
Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.
Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.
Main Article on Dry Skin
Causes of Dry Skin
In This ArticleAthlete's Foot Article
- Athlete's foot facts
- What is athlete's foot?
- What are the symptoms and signs of athlete's foot?
- What does athlete's foot look like?
- Is athlete's foot contagious?
- What else causes foot rashes?
- What is the treatment for athlete's foot?
- What home remedies are available for athlete's foot?
- How can I treat athlete's foot in pregnancy?
- When should I seek medical care?
- What are possible complications of athlete's foot?
- What kind of doctor treats athlete's foot?
- How can I prevent future athlete's foot infections?
In This ArticleAtopic Dermatitis Article
- Atopic dermatitis facts
- What is atopic dermatitis?
- What is the difference between atopic dermatitis and eczema?
- How common is atopic dermatitis?
- What causes atopic dermatitis?
- Is atopic dermatitis contagious?
- What are atopic dermatitis symptoms and signs?
- Can atopic dermatitis affect the face?
- What are the stages of atopic dermatitis?
- How do physicians diagnose atopic dermatitis?
- What factors can aggravate atopic dermatitis?
- What are skin irritants in patients with atopic dermatitis?
- What are allergens?
- What are aeroallergens?
- What is the treatment for atopic dermatitis?
- What is the prognosis of atopic dermatitis?
In This ArticleChild Abuse Article
- Child abuse facts
- What is child abuse?
- What are the different types of child abuse?
- What are risk factors for child abuse?
- What are symptoms and signs of child abuse?
- How do physicians diagnose child abuse?
- What is the treatment for child abuse?
- What are the complications and prognosis of child abuse?
- Is it possible to prevent child abuse?
- What should people do if they suspect that a child is being abused?
- Where can people find more information about child abuse?
In This ArticleDandruff (Seborrhea) Article
- Dandruff facts
- What is dandruff (seborrhea)?
- What treatments are available for dandruff?
- What doesn't help dandruff?
- What over-the-counter products can help dandruff?
- If over-the-counter products don't work, what can the doctor prescribe for dandruff?
In This ArticleDehydration Article
- Dehydration facts
- What is dehydration?
- What causes dehydration?
- Dehydration pictures
- What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration?
- What about dehydration in children?
- How is dehydration diagnosed?
- How is dehydration treated?
- Can I treat dehydration at home?
- What are the complications of dehydration?
- Can dehydration be prevented?
In This ArticleDiabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) Article
- Diabetes facts
- What is diabetes?
- What is the impact of diabetes?
- What causes diabetes?
- What are the different types of diabetes?
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
- Other types of diabetes
- What are diabetes symptoms?
- How is diabetes diagnosed?
- Why is blood sugar checked at home?
- What are the acute complications of diabetes?
- What are the chronic complications of diabetes?
- What can be done to slow diabetes complications?
In This ArticleEczema Article
- Eczema facts
- What is eczema?
- Are there different types of eczema? What causes eczema?
- What are eczema symptoms and signs?
- How is eczema diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for eczema?
- What are home remedies for eczema?
- Does diet affect eczema?
- Is there a cure for eczema?
- Is eczema contagious?
- What is the prognosis of eczema?
- Is it possible to prevent eczema?
In This ArticleHypothyroidism Article
- Hypothyroidism facts
- What is hypothyroidism?
- What are thyroid hormones?
- Thyroid hormone regulation- the chain of command
- What causes hypothyroidism?
- What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
- How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?
- How is hypothyroidism treated?
- What is subclinical hypothyroidism?
- What's best for you?
In This ArticleKeratosis Pilaris Article
- Keratosis pilaris (KP) facts
- What is keratosis pilaris?
- Who gets keratosis pilaris?
- What is the prognosis of patients with keratosis pilaris?
- Does keratosis pilaris affect the entire body?
- What does keratosis pilaris look like?
- What causes keratosis pilaris?
- How is keratosis pilaris diagnosed?
- Is keratosis pilaris curable?
- Is keratosis pilaris contagious?
- What are possible complications of keratosis pilaris?
- Does diet have anything to do with keratosis pilaris?
- What is the treatment for keratosis pilaris?
- Keratosis pilaris "do's"
- Keratosis pilaris "don'ts"
In This ArticlePsoriasis Article
- Psoriasis facts
- What is psoriasis?
- What causes psoriasis?
- What does psoriasis look like? What are psoriasis symptoms and signs?
- Can psoriasis affect only my nails?
- Can psoriasis affect my joints?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose psoriasis?
- How many people have psoriasis?
- Is psoriasis curable?
- Is psoriasis contagious?
- Can I transmit the gene for psoriasis to my children?
- What kind of doctor treats psoriasis?
- What is the treatment for psoriasis?
- What creams, lotions, and home remedies are available for psoriasis?
- What oral medications are available?
- What injections or infusions are available for psoriasis?
- What about light therapy for psoriasis?
- Where can people get more information on psoriasis?
- Is there a national psoriasis support group?
- What is the long-term prognosis with psoriasis? What are complications of psoriasis?
- What does the future hold?
In This ArticleRash Article
- Rash facts
- What are the causes, symptoms, and signs of common noninfectious rashes?
- How are common skin rashes diagnosed?
- Scaly patches of skin produced by fungal, viral, or bacterial infection
- What is the treatment for a rash?
In This ArticleSunburn (Sun Poisoning) Article
- Sunburn and sun poisoning facts
- What is sunburn?
- Can sunburn cause permanent damage?
- What is UV light and where are UV rays most intense?
- Why does the skin tan after exposure to UV rays?
- What are the symptoms of sunburn?
- What are the symptoms of severe sunburn (sun poisoning)?
- Sunburn pictures
- What first-aid measures should be taken with sunburn?
- What is the treatment for sunburn?
- Are there any home remedies to treat sunburn?
- Is a follow-up visit with a physician necessary?
- Who is most susceptible to sunburn?
- Can diseases cause a heightened sensitivity to UV rays?
- Can medications increase sensitivity to sunburn?
- What kinds of skin cancer can UV rays cause?
- How can sunburn and skin cancer be prevented?
- How do sunscreens work?
- What is SPF?
- What is the best way to apply sunscreen?
- Do sunscreens expire?
- Can antioxidants protect against sunburn?
In This ArticleThyroid Cancer Article
- Thyroid cancer facts*
- What is the thyroid?
- What is cancer?
- What are the different types of thyroid cancer?
- Thyroid cancer symptoms*
- How is thyroid cancer diagnosed?
- How is staging determined for thyroid cancer?
- What is the treatment for thyroid cancer?
- Thyroid hormone treatment
- Radioactive iodine therapy
- External radiation therapy
- Second opinion
- Follow-up care
- Sources of support
- Taking part in cancer research
Other Causes of Dry Skin
- Bathing in Hot Water
- Contact Dermatitis
- Frequent Bathing
- Harsh Scrubbing of Skin
- Harsh Soaps and Personal Hygiene Products
- Heavily Chlorinated Pools and Hot Tubs
- Ichthyosis Vulgaris
- Low Humidity
- Medication Side Effects
- Neurodermatitis (Lichen Simplex Chronicus)
- Vitamin A Deficiency
- Weather and Seasonal Factors (Skin Is Typically Driest in Wintry Conditions)
Symptoms & Signs A-Z List
Find out what women really need.