Dry skin is a common condition. It can occur at any age and the reasons are many. Extremely dry skin can be a warning sign of a skin problem called DERMATITIS. Medically, this is also known as XEROSIS (ze-ROW-sis).
Typically, Dermatitis is a reaction in which skin becomes reddened, swollen, oozing & often painful.This can cause an itchy rash or patches of dry irritated skin. The earlier the dermatitis is diagnosed and treated the better. Without treatment, dermatitis often gets worse.
Also read about -Constant Dry Skin Bothering You? Here's How You Can Prevent Dry Skin!
What are some of the signs and symptoms of Dry Skin?
- Itching- usually persistent.
- Rough, scaly, or flaking skin
- Cracks in the skin
- Chapped or cracked lips.
When dry skin cracks, germs can get in through the skin resulting in an infection.
Who is the most susceptible to dry skin and why?
Anyone can get dry skin. Skin becomes dry when it loses too much water or oil. Some people are more likely to have dry skin than others. Some of the usual causes of dry skin are:
- Age: As we age, our skin becomes thinner and drier.
- Climate: Seasonal variation can cause the skin to dry.
- Overlying Skin diseases: Dry skin could be a result of some other skin problem.
- Medical conditions: Diabetes, Liver, Kidney disease can trigger the skin to go dry.
Also read about -All you need to know about Diabetes: Types, Symptoms & Tests
- Job: Nurses, hair stylists, and people in other occupations often immerse their skin in water throughout the day. This can cause the skin to become dry, raw, and cracked.
What are some general measures to prevent skin from becoming dry?
- Keep baths and showers short. Use lukewarm, not hot water. If you spend more time in the water, it often leaves your skin less hydrated than before you started. Gently pat the skin dry. Do not bathe more often than once a day.
- Use a gentle cleanser. Soaps can remove oils from the skin. Stop using deodorant bars, antibacterial soaps, perfumed soaps, and skin care products containing alcohol, like hand sanitizers. Look for either a mild, fragrance-free soap or a soap substitute that moisturizes too.
- Apply moisturizer after getting out of the bath or shower. To lock in moisture after a bath or shower, apply a moisturizer while the skin is still damp. Ointments and creams tend to be more effective than lotions.
- Read ingredients on skin care products. Deodorant soaps, alcohol-based toners, and products that contain fragrance can irritate dry and sensitive skin.
- Use a humidifier. They add much-needed moisture to the air.
- Soothe chapped lips. At bedtime, apply a lip balm that contains petrolatum.
- Wear soft fabrics that breathe. 100 percent cotton is a great choice . If you want to wear wool and other rough fabrics, wear a soft fabric underneath.
- Dont skimp on washing hands. It removes harmful bacteria and viruses. If you need to wash your hands frequently, hand sanitizers are a good alternative.
- Apply hand cream after each hand washing. If more relief is needed, dab petroleum jelly on your hands before bed. If your hands are frequently immersed in water, wear waterproof gloves to protect them.
Article by Dr. Kranthi Kumar Varma, M.D (Dermatology)
Consultant Dermatologist, CallHealth
Have a question? Consult Dr. Kranthi online.