Dry skin is a nuisance for anyone, but it is more common in the winter months and as you age. About 85 percent of older people develop "winter itch," because overheated indoor air is dry. The loss of sweat and oil glands as we age may also worsen dry skin. Anything that further dries the skin (such as overuse of soaps, antiperspirants, perfumes, or hot baths) will make the problem worse.
Dry skin itches because it is irritated easily. If your skin is very dry and itchy, see a doctor because this condition can affect your sleep, cause irritability, or be a symptom of a disease. For example, diabetes and kidney disease can cause itching. Some medicines make the itchiness worse.
Here are some helpful hints to minimize moisture loss and prevent dry skin. Use soaps with heavy fat content, glycerin bars, lactate salts or alpha-hydroxy acids.
Avoid skin products that contain alcohol.
Apply moisturizers shortly after you bathe: moisturizers are more effective on damp skin.
Take shorter baths, or shower instead.
Avoid very hot water.
Avoid too much sun, cold weather or dry heat.
Consider using a humidifier at home.
Sensitive skin is related to dry skin; itching, swelling, redness, bumps and dryness are often the hallmarks. Buy only fragrance-free and dye-free products since fragrances can trigger an allergic reaction and cause bumps and itching. You can also follow the tips above.