Dry skin

Last updated:

Reviewed by:

Dr Rhianna McClymont

, Lead GP at Livi

Medically reviewed

Dry skin occurs when your skin does not get enough moisture, leaving flaky or cracked skin which can be itchy and sore.

What causes dry skin?

Triggers that can cause dry skin include:

  • Heat – this could be from portable or central heating or fireplaces

  • Seasonal change – during the winter months, humidity levels drop which can make skin drier

  • Soaps or detergents – which remove the natural oil from your skin

  • Hot showers and baths

  • Swimming pools – chlorine can dry the skin

  • Medical conditions – such as eczema or psoriasis

  • Age – the skin pores naturally produce less oil as you get older

Symptoms of dry skin

  • Cracked skin

  • Red skin

  • Flaking or peeling of the skin

  • Skin can feel rough to the touch

  • Itching or soreness

How to treat dry skin

An emollient (moisturiser) cream from a pharmacy will be enough to help most cases of dry skin. A pharmacist may be able to help with what suits your skin type best.

When to see a GP

  • If you’ve tried a variety of over-the-counter products are are still struggling to control your dry skin

  • If you skin is cracked, sore and painful

  • If dry skin is affecting your daily activities

  • If there are any signs of skin infection (discharge from the skin, or hot and swollen patches of skin)

Last updated:
Reviewed by:
Dr Rhianna McClymont, Lead GP at Livi