What are the symptoms of dry skin?
Dry skin is something that most people experience at some point during their life. For some people it is a temporary, short-lasting phenomenon that is due to their unique environmental surrounding at that time. For other people, dry skin is something that they experience every winter, or possibly all year long. The symptoms of dry skin can vary from person to person, but the most commonly experienced symptoms of dry skin are skin that feels rough to the touch, mild to severe itching, and cracks in the skin.
What causes dry skin?
There are many factors that can cause your skin to become dry; some of these factors are unavoidable and some are specific to your habits or your occupation. Unavoidable factors that lead to dry skin include cold weather (with low humidity levels) and skin diseases, such as psoriasis and eczema, which result in dry skin on certain areas. Other factors that can contribute to the development of dry skin are excessive bathing (long exposure to hot water actually breaks down the protective barriers of the skin that hold onto water within the skin), harsh products (such as soaps), and even central heating at home (which lowers the moisture content of the air.)
How is dry skin treated?
For patients who have skin diseases that lead to the development of dry skin, they will see improvement of their dry skin symptoms once the diseases are appropriately managed. Your dermatologist can help you to find the best medical treatment for your psoriasis or eczema. Those with healthy, albeit dry, skin should consider the environment factors that may be leading to dry skin. Cutting back on the length of their shower or showering with lukewarm water will allow many people to see a vast improvement in their dry skin. Moisturizing is the key for people experiencing dry skin. Moisturizer should be applied twice daily, immediately after bathing in the morning and before going to sleep in the evening. Some moisturizers contain ingredients like urea, salicylic acid, and lactic acid; these over-the-counter medications soften scaly, dry skin and help moisturizers to absorb more effectively. People experiencing itching can benefit from seeing their dermatologist to begin treatment with an anti-itch cream as needed.
What is the best moisturizer for dry skin?
There are many great options available for moisturizing dry skin. Moisturizers should contain ingredients that help to repair the skin’s barrier and hold moisture in the skin, such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides. For very dry patches of skin, occlusive moisturizing ointments can be very helpful. It is often not practical to apply these greasy moisturizers to the entire body, which is why effective moisturizing creams have been developed to keep moisture in the skin without making the skin greasy.
Is eczema the same as dry skin?
People with eczema will likely experience dry skin, but not everyone who experiences dry skin has a history of eczema. Eczema is defined as inflammation of the skin, which often flares due to loss of water from the outermost layer of the skin. Although eczema requires treatment from your dermatologist, with prescription medications, it can be managed with use of a moisturizer twice daily and avoidance of triggers. These triggers may be occupational or environmental, and are often similar to the causative factors of dry skin. Dermatologists and dermatology PA’s at Schweiger Dermatology in New York specialize in the treatment of eczema and will discuss further suggestions for managing your eczema during your visit.
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