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What factors contribute to dry skin? And how to deal with it

Dermatological conditions such as dry skin and dry hands are very common and can occur at any stage of life. Generally speaking, it is not a serious problem. Still, it can be bothersome and is sometimes associated with other medical conditions such as eczema, contact dermatitis, and eczema-like skin conditions.

It is usually possible to manage dry skin with good moisturizing habits. Dry skin, on the other hand, can cause other issues in some individuals. If you are experiencing discomfort due to your dry skin, it is best to consult your doctor for advice and possible treatments.

What factors contribute to dry skin?

Our skin comprises many different layers that form a natural barrier that protects our bodies from the elements.

The skin produces an oily substance known as sebum to aid in preventing water loss from the outer layer of the skin. When your skin doesn't produce enough sebum, it can begin to lose water and become uncomfortable.

Here are some of the most common causes of dry skin and dry hands and solutions.

Too much heat could also be due to central heating or fireplaces being used in the cooler months.

Having regular hot showers or baths – as well as excessive hand washing and scrubbing of the skin

Using harsh soaps or cleaning products – This has the potential to remove the protective layer of oil from your skin.

Swimming pools – especially if you have skin that is particularly sensitive to chlorine sensitivity.

Environmental changes – Extremely hot and dry weather, as well as prolonged exposure to wind and sun, can cause water to evaporate from the skin.

Age – As you grow older, your skin produces less oil on its own accord.

Medical conditions like eczema or psoriasis.

Why do my hands become dry?

We use our hands a great deal throughout the day, making the skin more vulnerable to damage. Our hands are also more exposed to irritants such as the cold, heat, pollution, and dirt, weakening the skin's natural barrier and causing the skin to dry out due to the exposure. It is not harmful to have dry hands; however, having dry hands can cause a great deal of irritation, especially when our hands become extremely dry and itchy or chapped.

It is believed that changes in weather conditions cause most cases of dry hands – this is why we frequently experience dry skin in the winter. If you have dry skin due to a medical condition such as eczema, you will most likely have dry skin throughout the year.

Keeping your hands away from heat, chemicals, and cleaning products can be challenging; as a result, this is another cause of sudden dry skin on the hands.

Dry skin and dry hands symptoms

  • Scaly patches of skin
  • Peeling or flaky skin – often visible on a dry scalp
  • Red or cracked – very common on dry hands
  • It feels rough to the touch
  • Inflamed and itchy skin

People have a wide range of symptoms for dry skin that range from mild, flaky skin on one spot to widespread and extensive scaly, rough, or reddened patches of skin on their entire body or face. People with more severe symptoms may have dry skin that is a sign of a medical condition such as eczema or psoriasis, while scaly skin may have actinic keratoses.

Dry skin is usually simple to treat on your own, but if you've tried self-care and are still having problems, speaking with a doctor can help to rule out other conditions that may necessitate the use of prescription creams.

How to take care of dry skin

Using an emollient (moisturizer) regularly will be sufficient to alleviate the majority of dry skin conditions. Emollient creams and lotions are applied to the skin to soothe and hydrate it, and they have been shown to reduce dryness and itching significantly.

Apply a moisturizer directly to the skin and reapply it throughout the day to help reduce water loss, which is especially important if you have dry skin or hands. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you're unsure which moisturizer is best for your skin type.

If you have recurrent flare-ups of eczema and cannot find relief from moisturizers alone, a mild steroid cream can be purchased over-the-counter to help relieve the symptoms. If this does not alleviate the problem, a doctor can prescribe a stronger cream.

How to avoid having dry skin

Various lifestyle changes can be made to help prevent outbreaks of dry skin from occurring. If you tend to get sick, these are worth trying.

  • Maintain the moisture level of your skin with an emollient cream or lotion.
  • To keep your skin hydrated, drink plenty of fluids.
  • Take care not to use harsh soaps or bubble baths.
  • When using cleaning products, make sure to put on protective gloves.
  • Reduce the length of time you spend in the shower or bath.
  • Keep in mind to wear gloves outside and inside during the colder months; you can also try placing a damp towel on a warm radiator to increase the humidity of the air during those months.

Babies' and children's skin can become dry.

Babies and children tend to have more delicate skin than adults and be more sensitive to changes in the environment than the general population. This may make them even more susceptible to moisture loss, increasing the likelihood that their skin will become dry more quickly.

Children and babies are prone to developing dry skin, and the same advice that applies to adults also applies to children and babies. When bathing children, use lukewarm water and a fragrance- and soap-free wash instead of traditional soap.

After that, gently pat them dry and immediately apply moisturizers to the skin to lock in the moisture and protect the skin from further drying. If your child has persistently dry skin, using a humidifier in the nursery may also be beneficial in preventing the skin from drying out further.

Is it necessary for me to see a doctor about my dry skin?

Typically, dry skin can be treated at home or with the help of an over-the-counter skin care product. However, you should consult your doctor if...

  • If you've already tried a variety of over-the-counter products and are still unable to control either your dry skin or the dry skin of your child, you may want to consider a prescription.
  • You should seek medical attention if your skin has become cracking, sore, and inflamed.
  • If your dry skin interferes with your daily activities and causes you frequent distress, you should seek medical attention.
  • Any signs of skin infection – such as discharge from the skin or hot, swollen patches of dry skin – should be treated as soon as they appear.

 

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