Dry skin is an unpleasant condition characterized by scaling, itching, and cracking. It can happen for a number of reasons. It’s possible that you have naturally dry skin. Even if you have oily skin, you can get dry skin from time to time.
Any part of your body can be affected by dry skin. It usually affects the hands, arms, and legs. In many cases, simple lifestyle changes and over-the-counter moisturizers are all that is required to treat it. If those treatments do not suffice, you should consult your doctor.
Types of dry skin
Your skin can become dry as a result of exposure to dry weather, hot water, or certain chemicals. Underlying medical conditions can also cause dry skin.
Extremely dry skin is referred to as dermatitis in medicine. Dermatitis is a condition that affects the skin in a variety of ways.
Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin reacts to something it comes into contact with, resulting in localized inflammation.
Irritating contact dermatitis may occur when your skin is exposed to an irritating chemical agent, such as bleach.
When your skin comes into contact with a substance to which you are allergic, such as nickel, allergic contact dermatitis may occur.
Seborrheic dermatitis happens when the skin contains an excessive amount of oil. It causes a red and scaly rash, typically on the scalp. Infants are prone to this form of dermatitis.
Eczema is another name for atopic dermatitis. It is a chronic skin condition characterized by dry, scaly patches on the skin. It is very common in young children.
Dry skin can also be caused by other disorders such as psoriasis and type 2 diabetes.
Risk factors for dry skin
Anyone may suffer from dry skin. However, certain risk factors increase the chances of developing dry skin, such as:
- Age. Dry skin is more common in older people. As you get older, your pores gradually contain less oil, increasing your chances of having dry skin.
- Medical history. If you have a family history of eczema or allergic contact dermatitis, you are more likely to develop these disorders or other allergic diseases.
- Season. Dry skin is more prevalent in the fall and winter months when humidity levels are poor. Higher humidity levels in the summer help keep the skin from drying out.
- Bathing habits. Taking daily baths or washing with very hot water increases the chances of developing dry skin.
Treatment for dry skin
The treatment plan prescribed by your doctor will be determined by the cause of your dry skin.
They can refer you to a skin specialist or dermatologist in some cases. In addition to lifestyle changes, they can advise you to use over-the-counter or prescription ointments, creams, or lotions to treat your symptoms.
Simple dietary and lifestyle improvements can help prevent and alleviate dry skin. Make an effort to:
- Avoid bathing or showering in hot water.
- Shower every other day rather than every day.
- Keep your shower time under 10 minutes.
- When bathing or showering, use a moisturizing soap.
- After bathing or showering, apply moisturizer immediately.
- Wet skin should be patted dry with a soft towel rather than rubbed.
- Avoid scrubbing or itching dry skin patches.
- Use a humidifier in your home.
- Drink plenty of water
It is also critical to select the appropriate moisturizer for your skin type. If your skin is extremely dry, look for a product containing petrolatum.
If your skin becomes less dry during the summer, you might consider switching to a lighter, water-based lotion. Lotions containing grapeseed oil and antioxidants can also help your skin retain water.
Outlook for dry skin
If you have dry skin on occasion, you can probably prevent and treat it with simple lifestyle changes and over-the-counter moisturizers. Make an appointment with your doctor if you develop severe dry skin.
Dermatitis can worsen if left untreated. Early treatment will allow you to feel more at ease sooner. It will also reduce your chances of complications like open wounds from scratching and skin infections.