Do your legs look scaly or flaky? Do they itch? Learn what causes dry skin on legs and what to do about it so you’re ready for warmer weather.

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Dry Skin On Legs: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

05/10/20238 min read

You just want to get outside in a pair of shorts, but the dry skin on your legs is unsightly and uncomfortable. It’s no fun suffering with red, itchy, or flaky skin.

The good news is there are some easy ways to help your parched skin. Learn about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of dry skin on your legs so you can feel confident, healthy, and ready for some outdoor fun!

Table Of Contents

Woman suffering from dry skin on legs

Dry Skin On Legs: Symptoms

When you have dry skin on your legs, you know it. Your skin might be red and itchy, or it could be flaky, scaly, or even peeling. You might feel a tightness in your skin after being in the water as well.

If the dryness is more extreme, your skin could appear gray or you could get oozing or bleeding sores. Whether it’s mild or severe, dry skin can be a major source of discomfort.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, read on. You’ll find out what might be causing your dryness and what you can do about it.

Woman itching dry skin on legs

Dry Skin On Legs: Causes

Now that we know what dry skin on legs looks and feels like, it’s good to understand what’s causing this condition.

Generally, when you suffer from dry skin, it means that your skin’s moisture barrier has been compromised. Your body is not producing the sebum or oil to keep your skin healthy.

There are many things that could be at the root of this. Let’s take a look at some of the most common culprits when it comes to dry skin on legs.


Generally speaking, weather-related effects on your skin are more pronounced in the winter, though hot, dry climates can cause an issue as well. So, if you live in a dry or cold climate, you will likely be more prone to getting dry skin.


Although it seems like washing your legs is a good thing, sometimes certain soaps can strip your skin of necessary oil. Be careful when selecting body wash products.

Also, pay particular attention when shaving your legs. If you are guilty of dry-shaving, this could cause your skin to react.

Allergic Reaction

Speaking of skin reactions, allergies or contact dermatitis might be at fault for your dry skin. This happens when something irritating comes into contact with your skin. It could be anything from jewelry, cosmetics, medications, or soaps.


Do you suspect you might have eczema? If your dry skin comes and goes and looks like bumpy, or itchy patches of skin, you may be suffering from this skin condition.

Eczema can run in families and can be made worse by irritants, allergens, and stress. If you think this might be what’s happening, check with your doctor so they can help you determine what’s going on.


Psoriasis is another condition that could cause dry skin on legs. This autoimmune disease can cause dry, flaky skin elsewhere, including your face, chest, arms, and legs.


As you age, you lose some of the moisture in your skin as the skin barrier breaks down and your moisture-producing oil glands dry up. This is a common culprit of dry skin.

Woman dry brushing legs

How To Treat Dry Skin On Legs

Prescribed Treatments

Prescribed treatment methods for dry skin might include corticosteroids, phototherapy, steroid creams, antihistamines, and systemic medications. Based on the severity of your condition, as well as the cause, your doctor can guide you to the right option.

Alternate Treatments

Besides the above, there are additional ways to treat dry skin on your legs that can be especially effective in milder conditions. Let’s take a look at a few of these below.

Dry Brushing

Dry brushing is basically a massage with a bristly brush that helps get rid of dry skin while increasing circulation and detoxifying the body. By brushing the skin in small, rhythmic strokes, you’re actually exfoliating and unclogging pores as well as increasing blood flow.


Dry brushing has the effect of exfoliation, but there are other ways to exfoliate. Using a gentle product with glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid once a week is another way to loosen dead skin.

You can also purchase or make your own exfoliating scrub with ingredients such as sea salt or brown sugar. If you’re using the product with a loofah or towel to exfoliate in the shower or tub, be sure to rub gently in a circular motion and keep the water lukewarm.


After a shower, and especially after exfoliating, you’ll want to apply moisturizer. Moisturizing is a crucial step to help your legs retain more moisture. Using moisturizer every day is key.

And if you have eczema or excessively dry skin on your legs, you might try one with colloidal oatmeal.

Woman rubbing on lotion to prevent dry skin on legs

How To Prevent Dry Skin On Your Legs

There are several ways to prevent dry skin on your legs in the first place. All you have to do is tweak your habits and daily routines.

Update Your Skincare Regimen

As you look at what you’re putting on your legs, you may notice that you’re using the wrong soap or (gasp!) you’re shaving your legs dry.

Instead of either of those options, use a moisturizing shaving gel. You’ll also want to make sure the water is lukewarm and shave in the direction of hair growth. And when you’re washing, choose a gentle cleanser to lock in your skin’s moisture.

If your dry skin is because of eczema, try our Eczema Daily Calming Cream. And if it’s psoriasis that’s causing the condition, our Psoriasis Calming Cream can help. Our formulas are specially designed for these conditions.

Drink More Water

It’s no surprise that drinking more water can cause the moisture levels in your body to rise. A more hydrated body will help your skin all over in addition to your legs.

Change Your Diet

If you want to improve the skin on your legs and get rid of dryness, including more antioxidants in your diet, like berries and herbal tea, is a good idea. Antioxidants may help keep free radicals under control, which are unstable molecules that can damage your skin cells.

Run A Humidifier

Many times, a dry home can exacerbate dry skin. Getting a good humidifier to increase the water in the air is an excellent way to help rehydrate your skin. Set the humidity level to 30% to 50% humidity, and your skin will thank you!

Turn Down The Hot Water

We mentioned this briefly above, but in addition to using the right soaps and products, you want to make sure your water temperature stays tepid.

When water is too hot or cold, it causes the moisture in your skin to decrease and creates dry skin.

Stay Out Of The Sun

The sun may be good for vitamin D, but it’s tough on skin. In order to avoid drying out, be sure to limit your sun exposure. And when you are in the sun, always wear sunscreen.

Woman jumping happily on the beach

Happy Skin, Happy You

Your skin can be a window to your overall health, so you always want to pay attention to what it’s telling you. It is your biggest organ, after all.

When you notice symptoms such as dry, flaky, or itchy skin, it’s time to take action. Both traditional and alternative treatments can help treat your dry skin, and certain daily routine changes can help prevent it in the first place.

Woman holding Bodewell Eczema Daily Calming Cream

If dry skin on your legs is making you feel frustrated, there is hope! By following the tips in this article and grabbing a gentle product, like our Eczema Daily Calming Cream for dryness associated with eczema, you’ll be ready to throw on your shorts and get outside in no time!


American Academy Of Dermatology
Cleveland Clinic
National Institute Of Health

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