Dry skin patches can be treated with over-the-counter skin creams, ointments and oils that help to hydrate the skin and encourage healing, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Severe dry patches may require stronger prescription creams that contain lactic acid, a substance that helps to lock in extra moisture.
Lifestyle remedies that can help to treat dry skin and prevent recurrence include only taking baths for five to 10 minutes at a time, utilizing a humidifier, pat-drying the skin following showers and baths, and increased fluid intake, as stated by Healthline. Applying a moisturizer that contains healing ingredients such as grape seed oil or petrolatum immediately following baths and showers can also help to protect and hydrate the skin. It is important for individuals with dry patches to refrain from scratching the skin or attempting to scrub the patches off when showering, as this can potentially lead to infections requiring treatment with antibiotics.
Dry skin patches that appear on the hands, neck or legs often indicate eczema, a skin condition believed to be triggered by environmental factors and substances that cause the skin to become irritated, according to WebMD. Eczema is not contagious and tends to run in families.