Dry Skin is a Form of Skin Injury
Dry skin, also called xerosis, is a common condition that occurs when there is a lack of moisture in the skin. This may cause uncomfortable symptoms such as itching, cracked skin, and scaling, and severe cases of dry skin can have redness and even bleeding. Dry skin can occur anywhere on your body, including face, arms, legs, and feet. Poorly controlled dry skin can lead to skin damage, including scarring, infection, and early signs of aging.
What causes dry skin?
There are several factors that contribute to dry skin. Causes of dry skin may differ from season to season and year to year.
- Weather plays a huge role in your skin’s moisture. Dry skin often occurs when the temperatures are cold, and the humidity is low. This typically happens in the winter; however, this occurs year-round in some regions, such as in the desert.
- Hot showers and baths will strip your skin of its natural oils and leave you prone to developing dry skin.
- Detergents, fragrances, and harsh soaps are chemically designed to strip grease and oil from objects. They will also remove the natural emollients if it comes in direct contact with your hands and arms.
- Open flames and heat sources such as space heaters can also dry your skin because they tend to remove moisture from the air.
- Medical conditions such as psoriasis and diabetes are also known causes of dry skin.
- Age can place you at risk of developing xerosis, since dry skin becomes more common as you grow older. More than 50% of people aged 40 and older develop dry skin.
What are the risks caused by skin injury?
Untreated xerosis can lead to a severe form of dry skin, called eczema. Eczema occurs when patches of skin become inflamed and itchy. Dry skin can also cause small cracks, called fissures, in the skin’s layers and can allow bacteria to enter and cause a skin infection. An online dermatologist consultation can help determine if you have developed one of these complications.
Treating Dry Skin
The best way to combat dry skin is by ensuring that your skin retains moisture. This can be done by immediately applying a moisturizer for dry skin after a 5-10 minute warm (not hot) bath or shower. Additional practices such as using gentle soaps and detergents, wearing gloves when handling harsh chemicals, and staying hydrated in dry weather can help prevent the development of dry skin. The best lotions for dry skin patches include thick creams that are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and non-alcohol based. The National Eczema Society has a list of products that meet these criteria. For more severe cases, you can schedule an online skin doctor consultation to determine which skincare products would be most helpful in your situation.
There has been evidence to suggest supplements and vitamins can also help to improve dry skin. Vitamin E is an oil-based vitamin that can be taken by mouth and, in certain formulations, be applied directly to the skin. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to prevent skin damage. It also helps to soothe dry and itchy skin with its anti-inflammatory properties.
Zinc is widely used in many moisturizers used to treat dry skin. Zinc has anti-inflammatory benefits and is vital in wound healing. It can be taken as a supplement or applied as a cream to prevent serious dry skin conditions.
Probiotics are tiny organisms that are similar to the good bacteria in your gut. Probiotics have also been shown to improve dry skin, redness, and inflammation. Like Zinc and Vitamin E, it is used in skin creams. You can also get an adequate amount of probiotics in your gut by eating fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, and kombucha. It can be challenging to sort out which vitamin or supplement to try first, but an online medical consultation can help you make the right choice for your skin’s health.
In some cases, medications are necessary to treat dry skin and prevent serious complications. These typically include steroids in the form of a cream or ointment, and in severe cases, you may need to take medicine by mouth. A majority of these medications require an online prescription from a medical provider.
Although dry skin is common, it should be appropriately cared for and treated, but many people are reluctant to take the time to schedule an appointment to be evaluated by a medical professional. An Alpha Medical membership gives you the flexibility to consult with an online doctor or nurse practitioner anywhere, at any time of the day. Sign up with Alpha Medical to learn how you can improve the health of your dry skin today.
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