Could Dry Skin Be a Symptom of Something Serious?

Q: My skin has been very dry and flakey lately. Is this indicative of anything going wrong internally?

A: It’s always hard to make a dermatological assessment without actually seeing the skin.

By far the most common cause of dry skin, especially in the winter months, is exposure to dry air. Excessive time in a hot shower can also dry out the skin. So first look at your personal environment.

Next look at your personal skin care regimen. Do you keep your skin appropriately moisturized or have you started using a different soap or lotion that could be irritating your skin?

If you don’t see a relationship between any of these things and the onset of your dry skin, then you may want to consult with a dermatologist to see if a biopsy or a scraping is necessary for diagnosis.

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at

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Carole R.
Carole R.29 days ago

Thank you.

Donna L.
Donna L.3 years ago


Janine Hofmann
Janine H.4 years ago

Thank you very much

Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago


Lin Moy
Lin M4 years ago

I think drinking to much diet soda causes dry skin too.

Melissah C.
Melissah C.4 years ago


Kristina Golemanova

There is a big difference between dry skin as a type of skin, and dry skin as a problem. For example, my skin is a little bit dry and it has always been like that. With the proper lotion, I have never had problems. I just want to say to the people with dry skin, don't panic and don't rush to the doctor unless you are sure there is something wrong. Doctors always find something to fix and never say - you're ok, go home.

K s Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

K s Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Kelly Davis-steel
Kelly d.5 years ago

cool,didnt know much about this thanks