Everything You Need to Know About Dry Skin

Fun fact—the skin is the largest organ in the human body.

What’s even more noteworthy than the human skin being the largest organ in the body? The fact that it actually weighs an average of 8-20lbs+, dependent upon your size

Fun facts aside, in this article we review the causes of dry skin, symptoms, treatment and prevention practices—all according to MedlinePlus.gov

Dry skin, which is medically termed xerosis, occurs when your skin loses too much water and oil. Dry skin is common and can affect anyone at any age.

You can usually tell that your skin is dry because it starts to look dull, and lack some luster. Your skin may also get scaly, itchy, and red. You may also have fine cracks on the skin. The problem is usually worse on the arms and legs. 

See a health care provider: don’t take your dry skin for granted, especially if it’s recurring.

Because dry skin is usually common, you might be inclined to ignore it, blame it on the weather and move on with your day. However, it is best to ask your health care provider to examine your skin—even if it’s during your annual checkup. You’ll be asked about your health history and skin symptoms.

If the provider suspects the dry skin is caused by a health problem that hasn’t been diagnosed yet, tests will likely be ordered.

Let’s review some common causes of dry skin.

Many of these cases are well known, but some might surprise you. Dry skin can be caused by:

  • The climate, such as cold, dry winter air or hot, dry desert environments
  • Dry indoor air from heating or cooling systems
  • Bathing too often or too long
  • Some soaps and detergents
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis
  • Diseases, such as diabetes, an underactive thyroidSjögren syndrome, among others
  • Certain medicines (both topical and oral)
  • Aging, during which skin gets thinner and produces less natural oil

Treatment for dry skin.

Your provider may suggest home care measures, including:

  • Moisturizers, especially creams or lotions that contain urea and lactic acid
  • Topical steroids for areas that get very inflamed and itchy

If your dry skin is from a health problem, you’ll likely be treated for it.

They say that prevention is better than cure, so here’s how you can prevent dry skin:

  • Do not expose your skin to water more often than needed.
  • Use lukewarm bathwater. Afterward, pat the skin dry with the towel instead of rubbing.
  • Choose gentle skin cleansers that are free from dyes and perfumes.

Tip: Those extra-long hot baths might be amazing for your mind but not so great for your skin.

Let’s review over all of this again.

  1. Your skin is your largest organ, it’s important to be mindful of how you care for it.
  2. It’s commonly known that dry skin can be caused by or environment and, well, mother nature, but it’s worth noting that even some of the skincare products that you use can be the cause of your dry skin.
  3. Before writing off your dry skin as just being ashy, consider seeing a health care provider ensure that nothing more severe is going on.
  4. Review the active ingredients in lotions and creams to ensure that they have the needed ingredients for dry skin relief.
  5. Be gentle with your skin—all 20 lbs of it.
Did you learn anything interesting?
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