Dry skin affects almost everyone at some point. Although it may be uncomfortable, dry skin is not typically a serious skin condition. Most cases of dry skin can be easily managed with simple home remedies and by limiting exposure to certain environmental factors.
Symptoms of Dry Skin
Dry skin will often feel tight, itchy, and rough. The area may be red, flaky, and develop fine lines and cracks. If the cracks are particularly deep, they may start to bleed and even open the door to infection. In individuals with dark complexions, the skin may appear gray and ashy.
What Causes Skin to Become Especially Dry?
Dry skin is usually the result of environmental factors, including cold weather, low humidity, exposure to harsh detergents and soaps, sun exposure, swimming in chlorinated pools, and frequent hot showers and handwashing. In some individuals, a dermatological condition, such as eczema or an inherited disorder called ichthyosis, may make the skin more prone to dryness. Dry skin is most common in adults over the age of 40, individuals who live in cold, arid, or low-humidity climates, and people who frequently immerse their skin in water.
Treat the Dehydration that Comes with Dry Skin
It is possible to improve the skin’s hydration by using a quality moisturizer, covering the skin to protect it from harsh weather, wearing gloves when washing dishes, using gentle soaps and body washes, and using a humidifier to increase the humidity level in the home. It may be necessary to consult a dermatologist if the dryness does not improve with these measures, if the skin turns red or develops sores or deep cracks, if the itching makes it difficult to sleep, or if the skin starts to peel. Individuals with weakened immune systems or health conditions such as diabetes should consult their doctor if they develop sores or open cracks since these conditions make them more susceptible to infection.