Dry skin and keratosis pilaris are common skin conditions that can afflict anyone regardless of age or reason. Keratosis pilaris is an inherited skin condition, typically appearing by age 10, with symptoms worsening through puberty. These skin conditions are often uncomfortable and itchy, often requiring a dermatologist’s help for relief. At Dermatology Associates, our Gainesville dermatologists have years of experience treating and managing dry skin and keratosis pilaris.

What Is Dry Skin?

Dry skin is caused when the skin loses too much water or oil. Dry skin symptoms typically worsen with age, during colder months, and in low-humidity climates. Symptoms of dry skin include the following.

  • A Feeling Of Skin Tightness
  • Rough, Scaly, Or Flaking Skin
  • Itching
  • Fine Lines Or Cracks
  • Gray, Ashy Skin
  • Deep Cracks That May Bleed

When dry skin cracks, it allows germs to enter the skin, which can cause infections. If you notice red, sore spots on your skin, it may be a warning sign of a skin infection.

Tips To Care For Dry Skin

Use Warm Water & Mild Soap

Instead of using hot water, which removes your natural skin oils more rapidly, we recommend using warm water and taking quick showers under 10 minutes in length. Along with this, make sure to use a mild, fragrance-free soap or a moisturizing cleanser, as fragrances contain alcohol that strips natural oils. Within 2-3 minutes of shower or bath, applying plain white moisturizer liberally locks in the moisture from the shower.

Shave After Bathing

The best time to shave, no matter what part of the body, is after a bath when your hairs are soft. Using shaving cream or gel can also help reduce skin irritation. We recommend leaving shaving cream or gel on for about three minutes before shaving in the direction of hair growth. Changing razors after 5–7 shaves can also help reduce irritation.

Look At The Ingredients In Your Moisturizer

If you have severely dry skin, look for a moisturizer with urea or lactic acid, as these help the skin hold water and are available over-the-counter. Be careful using these if you suffer from eczema or cracked skin, as you may experience a stinging sensation during application.

What Can Happen If My Skin Gets Too Dry

In some cases of extremely dry skin, it can lead to other skin conditions, such as dermatitis or keratosis pilaris.


Inflammation of the skin, also called dermatitis, can cause rough patches of dry skin or an itchy rash. To treat this, your dermatologist may prescribe medication to help relieve the itch, redness, and swelling.

Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris, also called chicken skin, are tiny bumps, typically either flesh-colored or slightly red, often appearing on the upper arm and thighs, and are most common in children and teens. While these are often confused for acne, each pump is a plug of dead skin cells. These bumps can become less itchy and less obvious when humidity increases, usually during the summer.

How Does A Dermatologist Treat Keratosis Pilaris?

While keratosis is harmless, treatment may be sought to relieve the itch or to improve appearance. Our dermatologists in Gainesville, FL, may recommend a product containing salicylic acid or topical retinoids to remove excess dead skin as well as any bumps. Unfortunately, keratosis are likely to recur, meaning frequent treatments may be necessary. For many patients, keratosis pilaris disappears entirely by adulthood.