I'm a 25 year old male. For the last 15 years, I've had very dry skin. My skin is not just dry, but very flaky as well.
It's a slightly different kind of flaky, depending on the location.
On my scalp, it's just basic dandruff.
On my face, it's an oily/flaky combination with the flakes being small in size (scratching my face with my finger nails results in immense build up of skin under my nails).
On my arms, the flakes are more sparse, not wanting to peel away as easily as other locations. Several times, I have scratched on my arms or scrubbed during showering, resulting in a portion of the outer skin being torn away left to bleed.
On my stomach, hips, buttocks, the flakes are very similar to my arms.
On my legs, the dryness and amount of flakes is much more immense and noticeable. My ankles regularly peel and bleed, just from wearing socks.
I've been told by my doctor that this is just very dry skin. That I need to make sure to drink lots of fluids, not to scrub very hard in the shower, to pat dry after a shower, to lotion thoroughly after a shower, to not use very hot water to clean myself, etc etc. These things seem to do little to no good.
Lotion of several kinds never seem to actually penetrate the outer layer of my skin, which seems completely dead and peel-able anyhow. Most exfoliates for my skin seem to be like using a spoon to do a shovel's job, but if I use anything too harsh, I end up destroying the living skin just the same (resulting in scaring in some cases).
I can shower once a day, every other couple days, or several times a day. Nothing along those lines ever seems to make much difference. Soaking in a hot tub seems to do the most good, but that's not something I can afford to do regularly (financially or just for the amount of time required).
Does this sound like something specific, or is my doctor right in just calling it dry skin? I wouldn't be worried if it were in a small spot, intermittent, or went away with lotion..