What Are the Symptoms and Risk Factors of Dry Skin?

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Symptoms Dry skin is often temporary — you get it only in winter, for example — but it may be a lifelong condition. Signs and symptoms of dry skin depend on your age, your health, where you live, time spent outdoors and the cause of the problem. Dry skin is likely to cause one or more of the following:
  • A feeling of skin tightness, especially after showering, bathing or swimming
  • Skin that feels and looks rough
  • Itching (pruritus)
  • Slight to severe flaking, scaling or peeling
  • Fine lines or cracks
  • Gray, ashy skin
  • Redness
  • Deep cracks that may bleed
Risk factors Anyone can develop dry skin. But you may be more likely to develop the condition if you:
  • Are in your 40s or older. The risk increases with age — more than 50 percent of older adults have dry skin.
  • Live in dry, cold or low-humidity climates.
  • Have a job that requires you to immerse your skin in water, such as nursing and hairstyling.
  • Swim frequently in chlorinated pools.
   
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