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What causes dry skin (xerosis)?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Skin protects itself against moisture loss by producing natural oil.  The oil is easily removed by washing with soap and water, and frequent washing can tend to make the skin drier.  Watch the animation to learn more about dry skin.


Dry skin is usually caused by the external environment, such as climate (temperature, humidity, wind, sun) or by contact with harsh detergents. In addition, aging and/or disease can cause physical changes in skin, resulting in dryness. Skin disorders like atopic dermatitis or psoriasis often manifest as dry skin.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.