Dry skin, also called xerosis, is a common skin condition that can happen to anyone at any age. Nearly all dry skin conditions do not represent serious health issues; however, dry skin can be a symptom of diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or malnutrition.
What are the symptoms?
Dry skin appears rough, flaky, scaly and red. In severe cases of dry skin, the skin may cause considerable pain and itchiness. Symptoms of severe cases of dry skin include deep cracks or fissures in the skin that may result in bleeding.
Who gets it?
Dry skin can affect anyone and is most often caused by environmental factors, including:
Harsh soap – These have a tendency to remove moisture from the skin
Bathing – Lengthy, hot showers or baths may contribute to dry skin
Itchy clothing – Irritates the skin, which may lead to scratching and dryness
Low humidity – Dry air can result in dry skin
Hot or cold weather – Extreme temperatures can wreak havoc on skin
Medications – Dry skin is a common side effect of diuretics and other medications
Treatment for common cases of dry skin usually involves environmental adjustments, along with topical moisturizers. Treatment recommendations may include:
Shorter, cooler showers or baths
Smoother, non-irritating clothing
Moisturizing soap (non-antibacterial)
Reduced alcohol consumption