“You could be giving all sorts of nasty bacteria a way to get into your skin. That can lead to more serious problems,” said Dr. George Verghese, Mid-Atlantic Skin.
If untreated, dry skin can sometimes lead to dermatitis, which causes swelling, and infection. Use creams and soaps with moisturizers to keep skin soft. Apply them when the skin is damp. Avoid those with alcohol or perfumes. Also keep away from taking long, hot baths during the winter months.
“I know this is the time of year you’d like to stay in a hot shower, but the sooner you get in and out the better. Hot water dries skin out,” Dr. Verghese said.
While patches of dry skin can appear anywhere, it’s most common on the arms, hands, lower legs and abdomen. Also, skin in the joint areas can become red and flaky. Make sure to check these areas and keep them moist. If they become seriously inflamed, it’s best to see your doctor.