As a little kid, I used to suffer horribly from dry, itchy skin and red, sore rashes. I used to have to bathe in colloidal oatmeal and wear cream on my hands and feet at night with gloves and socks. For a little kid, it truly sucked. Luckily I grew out of it as I became older but I did change a few things and I think that made a big difference. For one thing, I stopped using super-hot water in my showers and I stopped using skin drying soap all over my body. I started to exfoliate my body instead. The parts that have sweat glands and oil glands ie pits and other bits, I did use soap, but I only used natural and unscented soap. This was great as my itchiness and subsided and my skin was allowed to “normalize”
For me, I believe that whatever was in the soaps that I was using at the time (big box store soap with fragrance added) was actually stripping my skin of its natural lipid layer and I was essentially dehydrating my skin.
Other factors that can cause dry skin are extremes in temperature. In winter, especially, because it’s cold, people tend to want to take extra hot showers or baths. This dehydrates the skin and irritates the nerves that innervate the skin cells causing inflammation. Cold from winter temperatures is drying. There’s low humidity, so the skin dries out really quickly. We lose that lipid layer and our skin begins to look and feel like the Sahara Desert. Now apply a lotion that contain toxic chemicals and harmful fragrance and you’re just adding oil to the fire. Those harsh chemicals will further dry the skin and it creates a never ending cycle.
The best thing you can do? For your whole body: exfoliate rather than wash with soap. I mean, how dirty are your arms, anyways? Wash only those areas that really need a washing and use a gentle, natural soap or wash. Hydrate internally as well as externally. Drink plenty of liquids and use safe, natural creams and lotions to soothe your skin. Wear gloves in the winter and keep body parts covered from the cold and drying wind as much as possible.