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Is dry skin normal in children?

My 8 year old daughter has the dryest skin I've ever seen. Her hands and feet especially are always cracking, and I can only give her so much lotion. Does she have some kind of skin disease?
Dry skin is a common concern among adults and children, especially in the winter time. There are a few possibilities for her skin condition. The first is eczema, a chronic skin disorder that involves scaly and itchy rashes. It tends to run in families and can be associated with asthma and allergies. Another possibility is contact dermatitis, which is a fancy way of saying that her skin is being irritated by something she is coming into contact with, such as new detergent or lotion. As it is not possible for me to know exactly what her rash looks like and it's severity, it is important for you to make an appointment with her primary care doctor or a dermatologist to have a full examination and take a full history and then make an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan. In the meantime there are many things you can try to alleviate dry skin in general. Make sure your daughter has a humidifier in her room to keep the air moist. Try to cut back on showers and baths to every other day and make sure the water is not overly hot. Use a gentle unscented soap such as dove and have her pat dry with a towel when she gets out, don't rub with the towel. Immediately after patting dry apply a good quality unscented moisturizer such as eucerin or aveeno all over her body with special emphasis on the driest areas. Try putting vaseline on her hands and feet at night and then covering them with socks overnight to let it soak in.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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