The skin or the epidermis is the body’s largest organ and requires healthy moisture retention. Although dry skin is a temporary problem for most, some experience severe or chronic dry skin conditions regardless of the season change, shower temperature or soap choice. This phenomenon may fall under the category of ichthyosis, an extreme type of genetic skin disorder.
Using mild or fragrance-free soaps that moisturize as they clean are recommended to avoid damaging new skin. Bar or liquid soap can be used, as long as it is specifically made for those with sensitive skin.
Dry and flaky skin can be caused by a variety of factors. One of the most common causes is water loss from the outer layer of skin, which can be due to central heating, low humidity environments, or over-bathing. Certain medical conditions such as eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, and ichthyosis can also cause flaky skin. Vitamin deficiencies, specifically vitamins D and A, as well as deficiencies in niacin, iron, or zinc, can also lead to dry skin. In some cases, dehydration can also cause dryness, and it is important to drink enough water throughout the day to prevent this.
One of the most common causes of dry skin on the face is a lack of moisture within the layers of the skin, which can occur naturally as we age or due to certain medical conditions. Other factors that can cause dry skin on the face include environmental factors such as living in a cold, dry climate or being exposed to harsh chemicals, hot water, or excessive bathing.
Some medical conditions that can cause dry skin on the face include eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and thyroid disorders. Additionally, certain medications may also contribute to dry skin. The most common cause of dryness on facial skin is the use of harsh rejuvenating products which can be irritating to the skin or makeup that is not agreeable with your skin.
Common signs of dry skin include a feeling of skin tightness, rough skin texture, itchiness, flaking skin, and redness or irritation. Dry skin may also cause scaling, cracking, and discomfort, particularly on areas of the body that are frequently irritated, such as the hands, legs, and feet. In more severe cases, dry skin may lead to a rash with small, pimple-like bumps, swelling, or a different color than the surrounding skin. The rash may be itchy or painful, and may even lead to bleeding in particularly deep cracks.
If these steps do not improve your dry skin, you may want to consider seeing a board-certified dermatologist for further evaluation and treatment options.
The treatment for dry patches of skin depends on the underlying cause of the dryness. In some cases, over-the-counter or prescription creams, ointments, or lotions may be recommended by a board-certified dermatologist. These may contain ingredients such as urea, lactic acid, or alpha-hydroxy acids to help exfoliate and moisturize the skin.
For extremely dry skin that’s itchy or prone to cracking, your board-certified dermatologist may prescribe a topical steroid. This medication can help to decrease the inflammation in your skin that causes a rash and itching. In severe cases, oral or injectable medication may be necessary.
It is also important to keep the skin hydrated by drinking non-caffeinated beverages each day and using a moisturizer immediately after bathing. When bathing, it is important to use warm water and limit bath time to no more than 10 minutes. Using a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser is also recommended.
In addition, sun safety can help prevent dry skin and associated conditions such as actinic keratoses. Limiting time in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and using sunscreen can help protect the skin.
For specific conditions such as psoriasis, which can cause dry, itchy, raised skin patches, there are a variety of treatments available. These can include topical medications, light therapy, and oral medications. It’s best to see your board-certified dermatologist for further evaluation.
Firstly, it is important to avoid hot water when washing the face and to use gentle, fragrance-free products. Use a mild cleanser to wash the face and pat the skin dry with a soft towel. Moisturizing the skin around the eyes frequently with a non-irritating, fragrance-free moisturizer can help lock in moisture and improve hydration.
In addition to moisturizing, a humidifier can be used to add moisture to the air in your home. Avoiding exposure to harsh environmental conditions such as cold, wind, and sun can also help prevent dryness and irritation. If you have a skin condition like eczema or dermatitis, it is important to seek treatment from a dermatologist to manage the underlying cause of the dryness.
Finally, to avoid further damage, it is important to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen and protective eyewear to protect the delicate skin around the eyes from harmful UV rays.
It is recommended to treat dry skin around the nose by using ointments or creams immediately after washing while the skin is still damp. Look for products that act as a barrier to trap moisture, and contain ceramides and hyaluronic acid to protect and retain moisture in the skin. Over-the-counter calming creams, such as Aquaphor or Eucerin, can also be effective. Additionally, drinking adequate amounts of water and consuming foods rich in omega-3 and antioxidants can prevent the drying of the skin, especially in sensitive areas around the nose. Consider using a humidifier in your room to ensure a hydrated environment. It’s important to limit bath time and use warm, not hot, water to prevent stripping the skin’s natural oils. Use a gentle, low pH or pH-balanced cleanser, and avoid harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin. If the dry skin persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as flaking, scaling, or redness, it’s important to consult a board-certified dermatologist for further evaluation and treatment.
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