Dry skin is itchy, and scratching tears it. Continued itching and scratching can cause a condition called lichenification—hardened, thickened, leathery patches. Dry skin cracks easily, may bleed or weep, and heals slowly, allowing germs to enter through breaks and cracks, causing infection. In this case, simply remoisturizing is unlikely to correct it. To treat it, you may need a prescription cream or ointment to tame the itch, and treatment to heal an infection or other condition.