Dry skin is a winter problem that affects the young and old. Once you start scratching the discomfort of the itch-scratch cycle can be maddening and painful. Scratching too much can make you valuable to bacterial infections in the skin or lead to changes in your skin texture.
There are a variety of causes for dry skin (allergies, skin disorders, or other diseases), but you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician right away if you experience any of the following:
- Itching that lasts more than 2 weeks without improvement from self-care
- Itching so severe it presents you from sleeping or accomplishing other activities
- Itching over your whole body
- Itching accompanied by other symptoms like fatigue, weight loss, or fever
After a visit to your physician for a physical exam, your primary care physician can help you identify the source of your itching. He or she may be able to offer short-term relief in the form of topical creams, oral medications, or lotions.
Oftentimes mild itching is caused by factors like overheated air, overuse of soap, or overly hot baths.
If you’re elderly, it’s particularly important to pay attention to your body; the older you get the more susceptible you are to skin changes.