Dry skin is an uncomfortable skin condition that is marked by scaling, itching, cracking and sometimes bleeding skin.
What causes dry skin?
Dry skin isn’t usually serious, and can occur for a variety of reasons. Some of the main causes for dry skin include:
- Weather. Your skin tends to be driest in winter, when the temperatures and humidity levels plummet. However, if you live in desert regions that season doesn’t matter.
- Heat. Central heating, wood- burning stoves, space heaters and fireplaces all reduce humidity and dry out your skin.
- Hot baths and showers. Taking too long of a hot shower or a bath can dry out your skin. As can frequent swimming, particularly in heavily chlorinated pools.
- Harsh soaps and detergents. Many popular soaps, detergents and shampoos strip moisture from your skin as they are formulated to remove oil.
- Other skin conditions. People with skin disorders like eczema or psoriasis are prone to dry skin.
What are the symptoms of dry skin?
Having dry skin is often temporary, but depending on certain factors may end up being lifelong. Signs and symptoms of dry skin can depend on your age, your health, where you live, and the time you’ve spent outdoors. Having dry skin is likely to cause one or more of the following symptoms:
- Feeling of skin tightness
- Skin that feels and looks rough
- Flaking, scaling or peeling
- Fine lines or cracks
- Gray, ashy skin
- Deep cracks that may bleed
When should I see a dermatologist?
Most of the time dry skin responds well to home remedies, but in some cases you may need to see a dermatologist if:
- Your skin does not improve
- Your dry skin is accompanied by redness
- Dryness and itching interfere with sleeping
- Have open sores or infections from scratching
- Have large areas of scaling or peeling skin
How do I prevent dry skin?
There’s many ways to prevent dry skin with simple home remedies.
- Moisturizing the skin seals it to keep water from escaping
- Limit water exposure, try keeping bath and shower time to 10 minutes, bathe in warm not hot and try to bathe no more than once a day
- Skip soap that dries you out and try cleansing creams, gentle skin cleansers and shower gels that have added moisturizers
- Cover as much skin as possible in cold and windy weather
- Try wearing rubber gloves if you have to immerse your hands in water or are using harsh cleaners