Many people suffer from dry skin. Lower legs, elbows, forearms and buttocks are the normally affected parts of the body. It is a big problem to many as it can spoil the quality of one’s life. The irritants can attack very easily on dry skin as there is no protective layer of natural lipids. The result is itching. Scratching gives pleasure for few seconds, but the after effects, bloody scratches and infections, can give further problems. If your skin is very dry and itchy your sleep can be affected. Another reason for dry skin may be some diseases such as diabetes and kidney diseases. Many medicines make itching worse. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with your doctor to find out the reason for this dry and itchy skin. If untreated, dry skin may lead to dermatitis which is inflammation of the skin with swelling and infection. Fortunately most of the causes are external.

There are many causes for dry and itchy skin and they include:

• Dry air – It is the most common cause. Winter, indoor air whether with heating or with air conditioners can make dry skin. You have to use a moisturizer. Do not heat the rooms in winter too hot. It is advisable to use humidifier in the rooms. Water in an open vessel can help. If you go outside in winter close your skin very carefully with hats, scarves, gloves and long socks.

• Exposure to water – prolonged exposure to hot water can remove the natural fats that protect your skin. The morning or evening shower can be few minutes with cold or lukewarm water and it is better to skip the hot water. Gently pat and dry your body with a towel. Immediately apply the moisturizer. Avoid hot and long baths.

• Soap - it is the number 1 enemy if you have dry skin. It removes the skin protective layer very quickly. Average persons need soap for the face, hands, feet, underarms and groin. The other parts of the body do not need soap and water is enough to keep them hygiene. Of course, playing children or workers need a mild soap for the whole body. Washing the hands and faces often must be avoided. Buy fragrance free soaps always. Treat your skin gently so that the fats remain there. Sponges or brushes or napkins are not necessary to scrub your skin.

• Clothes that itch – avoid clothes that brings you itching or that makes your itching more. If the irritant comes from your clothing then it is a continuous exposure. To wash your clothes use detergents without perfumes or other additives. Never use a cloth that brings or increases itching.

• Medicines and drugs - Many medicines and drugs have itching as side effects. Read carefully about the side effects. If you get dry skin or itching after taking the medicine for the first time contact your doctor immediately. He may prescribe another medicine with equal effect.

• Diseases – Diabetes, kidney problems, thyroid problems, particularly hypothyroidism, psoriasis, eczema, neurodermitis and other skin diseases can cause dry skin and itching. Approach your doctor for treatment.

• Old age - Getting older can bring dry skin and especially more women suffer from this. The levels of estrogens and menopause play a role here. The majority of old people above 65 suffer from dry skin.

• Malnutrition – it can be a good reason. Consult with your doctor or dietician to have diet with all necessary nutrients to your body. Eating disorders can also cause dry skin.

• Hereditary – your genes may be the culprit for dry skin and this is irrespective of your age.

Consult with your doctor. It may be mostly only a problem of skin care that could be rectified easily. Other diseases must be well diagnosed and treated properly.