Dry skin is a very common problem that almost everyone experiences at some point during their life. It is characterised by parched, dull looking, flaky skin, that is prone to dry patches or itching, and affects men and women equally. The elderly are more likely to experience dryness as the skin has reduced levels of natural oils, and those in ill-health or on medication may also experience skin dryness.
Body changes such as pregnancy or menopause, changes in climate, and reactions to irritants may all cause dry skin.
Certain jobs or hobbies can trigger dry skin, particularly those which require regular hand-washing such as nursing or catering, or activities that involve regular exposure to chemicals, such as hair-dressing.
Extreme dryness can cause the skin to crack, which can then become infected causing inflammation and itching. This is particularly common on areas of the body that may have reduced blood circulation such as the heels of the feet.
Here are some helpful hints for treating dry skin: