Harvard Men's Health Watch

Remedies for dry skin

Q. My skin is always very dry and itchy. What is the best treatment? Could it be something other than just dry skin?

A. Dry skin is a common problem, especially in areas with cold winters and dry indoor heat. Typical signs of dry skin are surface roughness with itching and cracking of the skin. It is more common with aging, since skin loses its elasticity and ability to hold moisture over time. In addition, frequent showers and hand washing can cause dry skin.

To fix the problem, focus on restoring moisture to the epidermis, or top layer, of the skin. The most effective moisturizing skin lotions contain glycerin, lactic acid, or urea. These are available without a prescription and should be used daily. In general, the greasier the better. Many people find that bedtime application is easiest.

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