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A person itching their arm.

Dry, Itchy Skin? Here’s How to Manage It

How to Treat Dry Skin

Do you have dry patches and feel itchy all the time? Well, one of the reasons might be dry skin. It’s an uncomfortable condition that can occur due to multiple causes. But, what causes dry skin? You’ll find out here, and you will also learn about how to treat dry skin.

Dry skin is common in every age group of individuals. Even people with oily skin may experience dry skin at some point due to numerous reasons. Dry skin can affect any part of the body, whether it is hands, arms, or legs. However, some lifestyle changes and moisturizers might be all you need to treat your dry skin.

Types of Dry Skin



Dry skin worsens in a cold climate because the humidity is low, which makes the skin itchy. Some types of dermatitis are as follows:

Eczema

Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a skin condition that causes itchy, red, and dry patches. These patches may cause infection in severe forms. This skin disorder is most common in children and can even be inherited.

Contact Dermatitis

This type of skin disorder occurs when something comes in contact with the skin, like jewelry metal, cosmetics, or detergents. This allergic reaction causes dry, itchy, and red skin.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Red, scaly rashes usually on the scalp are known as seborrheic dermatitis. This type of skin disorder occurs when your skin produces more oil.

Causes of Dry Skin

People living in a dry climate are more prone to dry skin problems. Also, you may get dry skin if you are washing your hands more. Moreover, dry skin is also related to allergies or diabetes. Older age groups are more at risk because the sweat glands and moisture-producing oils dry up, and the skin becomes thinner. Some of the major causes of dry skin are:

  • Climate: People living in dry climatic regions tend to have drier skin as there is less humidity and moisture.
  • Age: Older people are more prone to dry skin because the skin loses fat and elasticity, making it thinner.
  • Genetics: Certain conditions are inherited like eczema.
  • Illnesses: Health conditions like diabetes or renal diseases are also likely to cause skin dryness.
  • Washing hands: Health care workers or other professionals are more prone to dry skin because they tend to wash their hands more than usual.

Signs You Have Dry Skin

Signs and symptoms depend on your age, health, and climatic conditions. However, dry skin is likely to cause the following symptoms:

  • Skin tightness
  • Rough looking skin
  • Itching of the skin
  • Skin flaking or scaling
  • Grayish color of the skin
  • Cracking of the skin
  • Redness

Diagnosis

Although dry skin is very easy to diagnose, your doctor may run some tests to check the type of skin condition. These are:

  • Blood tests to check for problems with diabetes and renal diseases
  • Allergy test
  • Skin biopsy

Treatment and Management

Your doctor’s recommendation depends on the severity of your skin’s condition. Your health care provider may recommend:

  • Moisturizing the skin to help make your skin stays soft and smooth and recreate the skin’s natural barrier. These products are usually in the form of creams, lotions, and oils.
  • Medications or ointments to help decrease inflammation of the skin.

At-Home Remedies

Dry skin is not that serious, and you can easily treat it at home. Try these common remedies:

Coconut Oil

The saturated fatty acids in coconut oil hydrate the skin and make it smooth and soft. Coconut oil can be used on sensitive parts of the body, such as under the eyes and underarms.

Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly is known to have a majority of benefits for treating dry skin in adults. It covers the skin and traps moisture underneath, helping the skin to heal faster.

Gloves

Using gloves while washing the dishes or using detergents can help prevent your skin from further damage and infection.

Water Temperature

Many people tend to take hot showers, but it damages the skin. So, it is recommended to take short showers and use warm (not hot) water.

Avoid Allergens

Avoid allergens that irritate your skin, like wearing wool or sitting by the fireplace for too long.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can lead to dry skin. Ensure you are drinking enough fluids daily to stay hydrated.

Use Moisturizers

Use good moisturizers or lotions immediately after bathing.

Humidifier

A humidifier minimizes the dryness and adds moisture to your home’s air.

Minimize Sun Exposure

It is recommended to avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun as it evaporates oil and moisture from the skin.

When to See a Doctor

In most cases, dry skin is not that serious and is usually treatable at home. But, in severe conditions, you should visit your doctor. Some of these conditions are:

  • Continuous itching of the skin that stops you from doing your daily lifestyle activities.
  • Red, warm or swollen skin (at the risk of infection).
  • Painful skin
  • Rashes on the skin

Fortunately, dry skin is treatable and manageable. Consult your health care provider if you are having severe dry skin issues.

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