Dry Skin and Keratosis Pilaris

Dry Skin

Nearly everyone has experienced dry skin, particularly on the hands and legs. Factors that promote dry skin include advanced age, low-humidity environments and seasonal changes, particularly the cold winter months. Many people use a cream or lotion when they notice the first signs of dryness, but if dry skin is neglected, it can become red, flaky and itchy. In addition to becoming uncomfortable and unsightly, dry skin patches can develop into a more serious inflammation of the skin called dermatitis. Once the protective skin barrier is disrupted by dermatitis, the skin becomes more susceptible to bacterial, yeast or fungal infections and allergic reactions on the skin.

What helps keep dry skin under control ?

Skin becomes dry because it does not have enough moisture to keep the outer layer from flaking and scaling. Both prevention and treatment of dry skin involve making sure the skin has the right amount of moisture, so here are some everyday measures you can take to keep your skin from drying out:
Keep bathing or showering to 10 minutes, using warm — not hot — water
• Use mild soaps or soap-free cleansers such as Lowila® Cleansing Bar
• Avoid excessive handwashing and excessive use of hand sanitizers
• Moisturize thoroughly after bathing or handwashing while skin is wet with an ointment, cream or lotion such as LAC-HYDRIN® FIVE Moisturizing Lotion

What if my dry skin just gets worse?

If dry skin does not respond to daily moisturizing efforts, it is time to consult a dermatologist who can prescribe medicated products indicated for severe dryness. If you have developed a dermatitis, your dermatologist may prescribe a topical corticosteroid or other medication to control inflammation and itching. Your dermatologist may recommend a specific home care regimen to help keep your skin moisturized while you are using the prescribed medication.

Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a skin condition that occurs in up to 40% of the population. It shows up as tiny flesh-colored to reddish bumps on the upper arms, thighs and face, but can also extend to the rest of the limbs and even the trunk. Even if the bumps are not very noticeable, the skin feels rough to the touch. The bumps are formed by clumps of dead skin cells that plug the opening of hair follicles. The most common pattern begins before two years of age, with gradual improvement as the child grows into adolescence. Otherwise, it begins in adolescence and usually improves during the 20s. In some cases, however, it continues all through adulthood.

KP is associated with dry skin, so it may itch and get worse in winter and low-humidity environments. Moisturizers with urea or lactic acid such as LAC-HYDRIN® FIVE Moisturizing Lotion help to reduce the dryness and itching. Mild peeling agents or topical retinoids may be prescribed by a doctor to unplug the hair follicles and smooth the skin. Until the KP improves on its own, most treatments are only effective temporarily, and not all patients have a satisfactory response.


Information on this Web site is not intended as a substitute for diagnosis and/or treatment by a licensed healthcare professional. Please consult your primary healthcare provider or a dermatologist for more information about the diagnosis and treatment of your particular condition.