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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Diagnosis

In most cases of uncomplicated dry skin, you can make the diagnosis yourself. Begin by examining your normal skin care routine. Do you often take long, hot baths or showers that may be washing away your skin's protective sebum? Do you shower several times a day or scrub your skin surface with harsh soaps? Do you have a job that requires frequent handwashing?

Next, examine your environmental risk factors, both indoors and outdoors. Do you live in a dry, desert climate? Do you usually spend your winter months indoors, in heated rooms without a humidifier? When you do go outdoors, do you protect your skin with appropriate clothing or with a sunscreen on exposed surfaces? When was the last time you used a moisturizer?

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