Dry skin refers to a skin that lacks moisture and feels dry to touch. It discharges less sebum than normal skin and hence, it lacks moisturizer causing lipids. The outer horny of cell layers (stratum corneum) have rough-feeling patches that look scurfy and peel off. Severe dryness may result in bleeding and cracking.
Dry skin isn’t usually itchy. Mostly hot or cold weather, soaking in hot water, and low moisture in the air, cause dryness of skin. This can impact any part of your body but hands, arms, and legs are the most affected. Dry skin is also known as xerosis, xeroderma or asteatosis (lack of fat).
More women are seen with dry skin than men and all types of skin gets dryer as it ages. If you feel any kind of problem related to dry skin, you must visit an expert dermatologist.
Who Is At More Risk To Develop Dry Skin?
Certain groups of people are at more risk to develop excessively dry skin. If any of the following execute on you, you may. How many of the following execute on you?
1. Wet Work
Any work that needs you to frequently place your hands in water all the day, lead to dryness of the skin. Also, if you use harsh chemicals frequently, you are more likely to develop a dry skin. This is because the upper protective layer your skin may strip and sebum is released in low quantity. Nurses, hairdressers, cooks, housekeepers, florists, construction workers, and metal workers often suffer from excessively dry skin.
2. Black, Brown, or Fair Skin
Researches have shown that people with brown, black, or fair skin are at more risk to develop excessively dry skin than people who have a medium color skin texture, for example, the people who share Mediterranean ancestry.
3. Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency
If you are not having enough vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin C, calcium, niacin, zinc, and iron, you can develop excessively dry skin. Eat all the essential vitamins and minerals to keep your skin healthy.
4. Middle Age or Older
Age is one of the most contributing factors to develop dry skin. Your skin produces less sebum with age. By your 40s, the capacity of body to produce sebum drops dramatically. And after age of 40, your skin does not contain enough sebum to avoid dryness.
5. Certain Medications
Dry skin is an ultimate side effect of several different medications, including statins and diuretics.
6. Low Outdoor Temperature
The air contains less moisture when the outdoor temperature falls. At such condition, you can notice your skin getting drier.
Cigars, chewing tobacco, bidis, and hookah are loaded with toxic chemicals which speed up how quickly your skin ages, so skin is more likely to become dry.
8. Condition That Affects the Skin
Some skin conditions can cause excessively dry skin. Some of these are atopic dermatitis, diaper dermatitis, ichthyosis, perioral dermatitis, psoriasis, statis dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis.
9. Diabetes, Thyroid Disease, or Kidney Disease
These diseases are known to cause excessively dry skin.
10. Cancer Treatment (Either Current or Past)
If you’ve ever had gone through chemotherapy treatment or you are receiving a cancer treatment called targeted therapy, you are at more risks of developing extremely dry skin. Even getting mere radiations treatment can lead to dryness.
11. HIV Positive
People who are HIV positive, even those on antiretroviral treatment (ART), have much greater chances to develop extremely dry skin.
Dryness also occurs when you’re not eating enough. The insufficient nutrients in your body will affect your skin moisturizing ability and ultimately your skin will not be hydrated enough to avoid dryness.
Signs & Symptoms of Dry Skin
If you do not treat the dryness properly, your skin is more likely to lose all its moisture and may become extremely tight, scaly, itchy, and flaky. At first, you must know dry skin symptoms, so you can medicate it accordingly.
If your skin is excessively dry, you may notice one or more of the following signs:
- Peeling skin.
- Raw, painful, and irritated skin.
- Wrinkled with loose and rough textures.
- Skin feels tight, particularly after showering, bathing or swimming.
- Gray and ash skin.
- Skin feels stingy and burn.
- Itching (pruritus)
- Cracks or fine lines (cracks may lead to bleeding)
- Rough texture
- Skin infections
These signs and symptoms of dry skin may depend on your overall health, lifestyle, climate, time spent outdoors, and your age. Itching and bleeding (cracking) can disturb sleeping. Also, if you notice open sores or infections from scratching and the large areas of scaling skin, seek medical assistance as early as possible.
What Are The Types Of Dry Skin?
Xerosis or dermatitis is the medical term, dermatologists use for extremely dry skin. The condition of dry skin may become worse because of dry weather, low humidity, hot water and certain chemicals. Underlying medical conditions can also result in the dryness of skin. Several different types of dermatitis are:
Contact dermatitis occurs when your skin reacts to something it touches, which causes allergic, irritant reaction, or localized inflammation.
Irritant contact dermatitis develops when your skin comes into contact with an irritating chemical compound like bleach. While allergic contact dermatitis develops when your skin is uncovered to any substance you are allergic to, such as cosmetics and nickel. These conditions may result in dryness, itchiness, redness as well as rashes in your skin.
Seborrheic dermatitis develops when your skin releases too much sebum. As a result of this, flaky skin patches are appeared on the face. Seborrheic dermatitis is caused when your body comes into contact with normal yeast that grows on your skin. This is more common inside creases of the arms, navel (belly button), groin, and legs. You will also feel red and scaly rashes on your scalp.
Seborrheic dermatitis most commonly occurs among infants.
Atopic dermatitis is also called eczema. Scaly stains are developed on your skin in this chronic skin condition. This may cause cause bumpy, itchy, red, and dry patches on your skin. Severe cases of eczema are also observed with the cracking of skin, which may make you prone to infection. The dermatitis may become worse by irritants, allergens and stress.
This disorder is more common in children and can be inherited.
In athlete’s foot, you may observe dryness on the feet, but this is actually caused by a fungal infection. The fungus multiplies and grows on your body called “ringworm”. The soles of your feet may become extremely dry and flaky.
How You Can Identify Different Degrees Of Your Dry Skin?
Dry skin varies from skin that is a little bit drier than the normal, through very dry skin to extremely dry skin. You can notice simple differences such as:
- Some internal and external factors can interrupt the range of your skin´s hydration power.
- The soles of your feet tend to become dry, tight and cracked.
Skin does not feel elastic. This is bit tight and brittle. You will notice a rough and dull look.
Very Dry Skin
A rough and blotchy kind of appearance (looks like prematurely aged) is the most common indication of very dry skin. Itchiness or mild scaling is also possible. Tightness and flakiness in patches may become worse. Very dry skin is more sensitive to redness, irritation, and risk of other infections. In this case, if dryness is left untreated, your skin is more likely to deal with incessant dryness.
Extremely Dry Skin
Certain areas of your body, especially hands, elbows, feet, and knees, are susceptible to calluses, frequent itchiness, scaling, roughness, and chapping with an ability to form rhagades (cracks).
Never take your dry skin lightly. When you suffer worse symptoms, dermatologists recommend treating it. Treatment can prevent your skin conditions getting worse.
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