Written by Amy Pusey (last updated November 19, 2021)
Dry air is an enemy of our skin. Winter and arid climates lack moisture in the air (low humidity), so it gets drawn from our bodies. When that necessary moisture is removed, the surface skin becomes dry and flaky causing our bodies to naturally exfoliate it in order for a healthier layer of skin to become the outer layer of protection. Dry air is not the only culprit causing dry skin. It can be caused by products we use or are exposed to on a daily basis, including soaps, lotions, and chemicals. And, it can also be due to the natural aging of our skin, as well as certain skin disorders.
Individuals experiencing continually dry skin may have symptoms beyond dullness and flakiness. Acute dry skin can cause excessive scratching and rubbing, which thickens the affected skin and that may lead to painful cracking of the skin. When skin becomes red, scaly, and inflamed, these may be signs of common skin disorders, such as dermatitis and eczema. If you have symptoms to this extent, you should seek the advice of a dermatologist for possible treatments because skin problems can sometimes be confused with reactions to foreign objects, like poison ivy, or infections, including ringworm.
When your dry skin is the average garden variety, there are many treatments that may be well-suited to helping you alleviate its discomfort. You may want to try any of the following to determine which method works best for you:
Severe skin conditions require professional medical treatment. Often, your doctor will prescribe either antihistamine pills or steroidal creams to use. These can be quite strong and should not be used longer than prescribed, or given to other individuals to treat their dry skin symptoms.
When selecting any oils, creams, or lotions to use on your dry skin, you should be certain to read the ingredients. Some products contain additional chemicals, such as fragrances and preservatives, which may promote irritations or allergic reactions in some individuals.
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