Dry skin, medically known as xerosis or xeroderma, is usually a mild condition caused by environmental factors, although dry skin can also result from some common skin ailments. Inherited diseases of the skin known as ichthyoses, while very rare, can also cause disfiguration and excessively dry skin. Even systemic conditions (conditions that affect the entire body) can lead to dry skin. One example is hypothyroidism, which reduces the activity of the glands that produce skin secretions. Some medications, including retinoids for the skin as well as some antihistamines and diuretics, may have dry skin as a side effect.
Dry skin can be associated with symptoms, including
- pain, and
- rough skin or tightness of skin.
Dry skin can result from environmental factors such as hot baths/showers, soaps, or detergents.
Dry skin is treated with hydrating creams and lotions. If a skin inflammatory condition is associated with dry skin, treatment is directed at the underlying condition.
Other causes of dry skin
- Bathing in Hot Water
- Frequent Bathing
- Harsh Scrubbing of Skin
- Harsh Soaps and Personal Hygiene Products
- Heavily Chlorinated Pools and Hot Tubs
- Low Humidity
- Medication Side Effects
- Neurodermatitis (Lichen Simplex Chronicus)
- Vitamin A Deficiency
- Weather and Seasonal Factors (Skin Is Typically Driest in Wintry Conditions)
Causes of Dry Skin
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. When these allergens come in contact with the body, it causes the immune system to develop an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to it. It is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions. The parts of the body that are prone to react to allergies include the eyes, nose, lungs, skin, and stomach. Common allergic disorders include hay fever, asthma, allergic eyes, allergic eczema, hives, and allergic shock.
Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a skin infection caused by the ringworm fungus. Symptoms include itching, burning, cracking, peeling, and bleeding feet. Treatment involves keeping the feet dry and clean, wearing shoes that can breathe, and using medicated powders to keep your feet dry.
Eczema is a general term for many types dermatitis (skin inflammation). Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema. Other types of eczema include: contact eczema, allergic contact eczema, seborrheic eczema, nummular eczema, stasis dermatitis, and dyshidrotic eczema.
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Approximately 40 million children suffer abuse every year around the world, and more than 1,500 children die of abuse in the U.S. every year. Symptoms and signs of child abuse include poor school performance, physical injuries, regression, anxiety, and panic. Treatment involves ensuring the safety of the child and tending to any physical injuries.
Contact dermatitis is a rash that occurs after exposure to an irritant. Symptoms of contact dermatitis include a red, elevated rash at the site of contact with the irritating substance. Contact dermatitis treatment may involve creams, application of cool water compresses, and applying topical steroids.
Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are sometimes painful areas of thickened skin that appear between the toes and fingers or on the soles of the feet. Abnormal foot anatomy, ill-fitting footwear, and unusual gait can put increased pressure in specific areas, causing corns and calluses. Treatment may involve using over-the-counter salicylic-acid products, visiting a podiatrist to be fitted with an orthotic device, or surgical removal.
Dandruff (seborrhea) is a skin disorder that results from neither too much moisture nor too much oil. Dandruff can be treated with shampoos that contain tar, salicylic acid, zinc, selenium sulfide, or ketoconazole.
Dandruff vs. Dry Scalp
Dandruff is a condition characterized by small white flakes that shed from the scalp. Dry scalp is simply dry skin on one's head. Dry scalp is uncommon, and dandruff is very common. Dandruff treatment and prevention incorporates the regular use of an anti-dandruff shampoo.
Dehydration is the excessive loss of body water. There are a number of causes of dehydration including heat exposure, prolonged vigorous exercise, and some diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of dehydration include headache, lightheadedness, constipation, and bad breath. Treatment for dehydration is to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin dependent). Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. Treatment of diabetes depends on the type.
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Complications)
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a complication of type 1 diabetes that is life threatening. If a person thinks they may have diabetic ketoacidosis they should seek medical care immediately. Diabetic ketoacidosis happens when a person's insulin levels in the blood become dangerously low. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include dehydration, abdominal pain, confusion, and nausea and vomiting. Diabetic ketoacidosis needs medical treatment. It cannot be treated at home.
Do I Have Dandruff or a Dry Scalp?
What is the difference between dandruff and a dry scalp?
Eczema refers to skin inflammation. There are many different types of eczema that produce symptoms and signs that range from oozing blisters to crusty plaques of skin. Treatment varies depending upon the type of eczema the person has.
How Do I Get Rid of Intertrigo?
Intertrigo is painful and itchy skin inflammation that occurs between skin folds, such as in the groin, buttocks, or between fat folds. Sometimes, bacteria can infect this red skin, worsening inflammation. Losing weight and various topical remedies – especially before workouts or jogging, etc. – can reduce the effects of intertrigo.
How Do You Tell if You Have Athlete’s Foot or Dry Skin?
Learn about the differences between athlete’s foot and dry skin, what causes these conditions, the different symptoms to watch for, and how they’re treated.
Hypothyroidism is any state in which thyroid hormone production is below normal. Normally, the rate of thyroid hormone production is controlled by the brain by the pituitary gland. Hypothyroidism is a very common condition and the symptoms of hypothyroidism are often subtle, but may include, constipation, memory loss, hair loss, and depression. There are a variety of causes of hypothyroidism, and treatment depends on the cause.
Ichythyosis vulgaris is an uncommon inherited condition marked by xerosis. Symptoms and signs include very dry, scaly skin over most of the skin's surface, with the exception of the armpits, groin, and flexural areas. Treatment may involve the use of topical medications and emollients for the skin. Living in a humid area may be helpful.
Keratosis Pilaris (KP)
Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a common skin disorder in which small white or red bumps appear around hair follicles on the upper arms, thighs, buttocks, and cheeks. The cause of KP is unknown. There is no cure for keratosis pilaris, and the condition may resolve on its own. Gentle exfoliation, professional manual extraction, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion, along with topical products, are the best treatments for this condition.
Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales. There are several types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of psoriasis the patient has. Treatment of psoriasis may include creams, lotions, oral medications, injections and infusions of biologics, and light therapy. There is no cure for psoriasis.
The word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
Sunburn (Sun Poisoning)
Sunburn is caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. UV rays can also damage the eyes. Repeated overexposure to UV rays also increases the risk for scarring, freckles, wrinkles, and dry skin. Symptoms of sunburn include painful, red, tender, and hot skin.The skin may blister, swell, and peel. Sun poisoning (severe sunburn) include nausea, fever, chills, rapid pulse, dizziness and more. Home remedies can help relieve sunburn pain, blisters, and peeling. Severe sunburns may need medical treatment. Sun protection and sunscreen for an person's skin type is recommended to decrease the chance of a severe sunburn and sun poisoning.
The 7 Most Important Layers of Your Skin
The skin is the largest organ in the body and it covers the body's entire external surface. It is made up of seven layers. The first five layers form the epidermis, which is the outermost, thick layer of the skin. The hypodermis is the deepest layer of skin situated below the dermis.
The Skin (Human Anatomy): Picture, Definition, Function and Skin Conditions
The skin is the largest organ in the body that covers the entire external surface. It protects the internal organs from germs and thus helps prevent infections. The skin is made up of three main layers.
What Can I Use for Dry Cracked Feet?
The skin of your feet does not have oil-producing glands, called sebaceous glands. Because of this and because they carry your bodyweight, your feet are more vulnerable to problems such as dryness and cracking of the skin. Treat dry cracked feet with moisturizer, scrubs, ointment, Epsom salt, staying hydrated and other measures.