In most cases, dry skin is a normal condition you simply need to care for such as applying moisturizer or applying ointments when it gets itchy or scaly. However in some cases, dry skin can be a factor in other types of skin conditions. There are also serious dry skin conditions, such as ichthyosis that can cause severe disfiguring of the skin which also causes emotional and psychological stress as well. For the most part, if you have dry skin you need to change some daily habits and make lifestyle changes to improve the condition of your skin.
Causes of Dry Skin
There are many causes and factors that may lead to dry skin, including environmental exposures or genetics. Other causes of dry skin are the change in weather, using central heating and air conditioning, taking hot baths or showers, or going in the Jacuzzi tub often, using harsh soaps and detergents, sun exposure, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, thyroid disorders, being an older adult, living in a dry, cold or low-humidity location, or bathing and showering frequently.
Symptoms of Dry Skin
Dry skin itself is easy to spot but there are also other signs and symptoms you may experience aside from the skin dryness. This includes having skin tightness after showering or swimming, skin that looks dehydrated or shrunken, rough-feeling skin, chronic itching that can sometimes be very intense, fine line or cracks, redness, fissures that bleed, flaking, peeling or scaling of the skin where it is dry.
Diagnosing Dry Skin
There are some signs that warrant doctor visit. If your dry skin isn’t improving regardless of your efforts, if you also have redness or swelling aside from the dry skin, if itching is associated with your dry skin, having infections or open sores from scratching the dry, itchy skin, large areas of peeling or scaling skin, and someone who shows signs of eczema. Other skin conditions might be the cause of these symptoms and the dry skin including eczema which includes cracking and inflammation, folliculitis which is an inflammation of the hair follicles, and cellulitis which is a bacterial infection in your skin’s underlying tissues which can cause signs of eczema as well.
Treating Dry Skin
To treat your dry skin and associated symptoms, your doctor will first perform a physical examination and get more information about your family history. Questions they might ask are what foods you’re eating, how long you have had dry skin, if anyone close to you has the same condition, what kind of environment you live in, and how often you get sun exposure. All of these can add to or worsen your dry skin problem. The doctor will also run other diagnostic tests to find out if you have other dry skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. The treatment you receive will depend on the cause of your dry skin, its severity, and if you have other skin conditions