Dry skin is engendered by arid climate, aging, frequent bathing, oil-depleting soaps and indoor environmental factors. In addition, dry skin can be an important physical finding in hypothyroidism, occult carcinoma, lymphoma and renal or biliary disease. Treatment of dry skin involves restoring water to the epidermis by control of humidity and by removal of aggravating factors. Occlusive topical preparations maintain water in contact with the stratum corneum. Ointments are more occlusive than creams, lotions or gels.