Dry skin is a common condition which is often symbolized by itching. If you are experiencing dry skin; you may not be able to keep yourself from scratching. This condition is more common in colder months as compared to summers or humid weather. Dry skin is more commonly associated with hypothyroidism.

What Is Dry Skin?
The skin forms a protective layer preventing the entry of bacteria and other infection-causing agents into the blood. The skin needs to remain flexible and intact to avoid the entry of viruses and bacteria. The protective layer of oil and the water content of the skin help it to maintain its flexibility and strength and anything that strip the skin of its oils and water content can leave it dry. While having dry skin can be annoying, in certain conditions, it becomes so dry that bleeding can be experienced, exposing the individual to infection. However, dry skin is a treatable condition and does not come with a variety of complications.

What causes dry skin?
Dry skin is not caused by a single factor; rather, the causes of dry skin can be classified as internal and external.

Internal causes include a number of factors such as the age of the person’s, overall health, family history, genetics and a history of medical conditions. It has also been reported that people suffering from thyroid are more prone to suffer from this disease.

External factors include low humidity cold climate apart from other causes. Heaters used in the homes can also lead to dry skin. Over washing of the face with harsh soap also leads to dryness. Although showering may add water to the skin, fast evaporation of the water from the skin results in dry skin. If your skin feels overly tight after taking a shower, it indicated removal of natural oil.

Dry skin condition may also be caused due to improper use of moisturizer and certain medicines. Moreover, dry skin can also indicate an internal medical condition; therefore, you should see a doctor soon.

Dry Skin Sign and Symptoms
Itching is the first sign to indicate that a person may be suffering from dry skin. People suffering from dry skin often find rough red itchy patches on their skin. Body parts most often affected by dry skin include:

  • Lower legs
  • Arms
  • Abdomen
  • Hands
  • Ankle

Itching or redness may worsen and lead to the development of itch-scratch cycle. This mean when a person feels itchy he scratches the area in response and the cycle goes on. While dry skin can occur at any part of the body, most common dry skin areas are – arms, lower legs, and hands.

Constantly scratching the itchy area can lead to the creation of red bumps that may open up and get infected if scratched for too long.

Diagnosis
A physician can easily diagnosis dry skin by visually inspecting the skin. You can get infected by dry skin even at an early age, but elders have a higher chance to acquire this disease. A thorough medical history can help the doctor to diagnosis this disease. In more severe cases, the doctor may ask you to undergo a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

Dry Skin Treatment
Daily lubrication with emollient is the best treatment for dry skin as it helps the skin to regain its moisture. Dry skin is usually caused due to external factors and topical applications of the lotions and creams. Dry skin can also be treated with the application of over-the-counter moisturizers.

Once Dr. Kling will be able to find out the cause of dry skin, his main goal is to treat the disease, prevent water loss, stop itching and restore skin hydration. It is advised that only mild corticosteroids should be used in the groin area, face and underarms because long-term application of corticosteroids can cause serious side effects.

How to prevent dry skin?
It is important to moisturize your skin to lock in the moisture. A patient suffering from this skin condition should not take long hot baths and limit their bathing time to a maximum of 5 minutes. Use moisture-containing soap or use bath oil to seal in the moisture. Do not dry the skin vigorously rather pat it dry. Most importantly, do not forget to take a shower after swimming.