Save Your Skin - Q&A
save your skin

Save Your Skin - Q&A

Monday, October 31, 2022


Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? It covers approximately 22 square feet. It also accounts for about 16% of your body weight. It’s understandable then, that when you have dry skin, you can feel miserable. 

How much do you know about dry skin and what you can do to prevent it? Follow these questions and answers to learn how to save your skin. 


Q: Does dry skin only happen to older people? 

A: Dry skin is a common problem that can occur at any age.  


Q: How do I know if I have dry skin? 

A: Your skin may be rough, scaly or flaky, and it may itch. 


Q: What causes dry skin? 

A: There are many causes. As you age, your skin produces less of the natural oil that helps your skin keep its moisture. Dry, indoor air can cause your skin to become dry, as well as living in climates with low humidity. Indoor heating or air conditioning can dry out the air inside your home. Bathing too often may also dry your skin, especially if you use hot water for your baths or showers. 


Q: How can I treat dry skin? 

A: There are several things you can do to treat dry skin: 

  • Moisturize – Look for a moisturizer that is a skin barrier repair moisturizer. 
  • Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly at night and wear thin cotton gloves to bed. 
  • If dry, brittle nails are a problem, use lotion on your nails as well. 
  • Avoid scratching, which can damage the skin.  


Q: What can do I do about my skin itching? 

A: Try the following: 

  • Keep the itchy area well moisturized. Dry skin may make itching worse. 
  • Add a handful of oatmeal (ground to a powder) to your bath, or you can try an oatmeal bath product. 
  • Try a nonprescription 1% hydrocortisone cream for small, itchy areas. 
  • If itching is severe, your doctor may prescribe a stronger cream. 
  • Cut your nails short or wear gloves at night to prevent scratching. 
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing. Avoid scratchy fabrics next to your skin. 


Q: How can I prevent dry skin? 

A: Practice good skin hygiene to keep your skin healthy. Here are some tips: 

  • Shower or bathe in lukewarm or warm water. 
  • Don't shower too often – just when you're dirty or sweaty, or no more than once a day. 
  • Wash your skin gently rather than scrubbing it. 
  • Use a mild skin cleanser instead of soap. 
  • Pat your skin dry after a bath or shower. 
  • Apply a moisturizer while your skin is still damp, as well as several times a day. 
  • Consider using a humidifier if the air inside your home is very dry. 
  • Protect your lips with a lip balm that contains petroleum jelly or mineral oil. 


Q: I’ve tried a lot of remedies for dry skin, and none have helped. What do I do now? 

A: Talk with your primary care physician or dermatologist for help with severe dry skin. 


Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.