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Could Dry Skin Be a Symptom of Something Serious?

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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Dr. Brent

As an undergraduate, Dr. Brent Ridge majored in public health and environmental science, studying the way the state of the natural environment impacts our health choices. As a physician, he specializes in the field of aging. Send your health questions to Dr. Brent at


+ add your own
10:26PM PDT on Jun 30, 2012


3:51PM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

Thank you very much

6:57PM PDT on Jul 10, 2011


4:54AM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

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

10:49PM PDT on Jul 9, 2011


1:47AM PST on Jan 25, 2011

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.

5:08AM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

Thanks for the article.

5:19AM PDT on Jul 29, 2010

Thanks for the article.

4:43AM PDT on Jul 29, 2010

cool,didnt know much about this thanks

11:11PM PDT on Jun 14, 2009


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Thanks for the information

hmmm ....unsure about this, but certain that marijuana should be legal

Like many others I tried it more than once in my life but as I grew up I never smoked anymore. Do I …

Needs more research, can I volunteer.


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