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Why do I have spots of dry skin that become red and sometimes crack?

I am a 27 year old male and I have had dry skin issues my entire life. I first noticed the symptoms on my hands in elementary school, which included redness and cracking of the skin. I have tried several moisturizers but only certain ones seem to have any effect. In fact, some seem to make my skin worse. In recent years, I have noticed that my skin in general is becoming more dry. I have began to notice redness, drying and cracking of the skin on my elbows, my nose and my knees. This is for the most part only an issue the I begin to experience mid-winter until spring. My doctor told me to use moisturizer but I am thinking I need a second opinion.
Dry skin is a very common problem that is often worst in the winter. Commonly affected locations in adults include the face, elbows, knees, and other skin folds. Skin often becomes cracked and dry, and may show hypersensitivity to some cleaners, detergents, and cosmetic products. Damaged skin loses most of its moisture when wet, so the most important thing for treating dry skin is keeping water from being too hot and limit time spent in showers and baths. Water should be as cool as you can tolerate it, since warm water opens your pores and allows for more moisture loss. After every shower or bath, pat your skin dry (do not rub) and moisturize with a thick cream within three minutes. The moisturizer should be a thick hypoallergenic cream that comes in a tub, not a squirt bottle. Limit bathing to every other day or less. If your symptoms do not improve despite careful moisturization and bathing techniques, make an appointment to see your doctor and discuss other treatments that might help you. He or she may recommend a steroid cream or refer to you a dermatologist for further evaluation and treatment.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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