Dry skin (xerosis) often has an environmental cause. Certain diseases also can significantly affect your skin. Potential causes of dry skin include:
Weather: Skin tends to be driest in winter, when temperatures and humidity levels plummet. But the season may not matter as much if you live in desert regions.
Heat: Central heating, wood-burning stoves, space heaters and fireplaces all reduce humidity and dry your skin.
Hot baths and showers: Taking long, hot showers or baths can dry your skin. So can frequent swimming, particularly in heavily chlorinated pools.
Harsh soaps and detergents: Many popular soaps, detergents and shampoos strip moisture from your skin as they are formulated to remove oil.
Other skin conditions: People with skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) or psoriasis are prone to dry skin.