Dry skin is common and impacts on wound healing, the severity of other skin disorders, such as inflammatory dermatoses, and on the patient's quality of life. Dry skin may delay wound healing, especially in patients with venous leg ulcers and those with pressure ulcers. The aim of this review was to help clinicians recognise where dry skin may impact on patient management in general and on the patient's quality of life. The review addresses causes of dry skin and the impact dry skin can have on patients. The presentation of dry skin is discussed and a classification tool for dry skin is proposed. Prevention measures and options for treatment using complete emollient therapy are presented and discussed.