A medical term for dry skin is Xerosis. Dry skin is the most common condition due to lack of water in the most superficial layer of skin, the epidermis. Humidity and temperature in the environment have a profound effect on the amount of water which retains within the skin. The epidermis is composed of fat and protein, which helps in preventing skin dehydration. Deficiency of protein or fat may make skin more sensitive and prone to rashes and skin breakdowns. Avoidance of harsh soaps and chemical cleaners would be the basic prevention.
Cause There is no specific cause for dry skin. It can be classified as external and internal causative factors. External causes include cold temperature and low humidity, especially in winter. Internal causes include impairment in overall health, age, genetics, family history, personal history or medical condition such as atopic dermatitis, thyroid disease is more prone to dry skin.
Overuse of sanitizer and lipid solvents (alcohol), cold temperature, over washing with harsh soaps are few other risk factors. Normally bathing and showering add water to the skin, but evaporation of this water results in dry skin. When skin feels over tight after bathing, it indicates the excess amount of water and natural skin oil are removed.
Soap is an emulsifier that removes oil from the skin, more the use more the dry skin even improper moisturizer can also cause dry skin. Material such as wool and synthetic irritates the skin and worsen it more. Dry skin condition may be because of medicines also, for example, high blood pressure, allergy, high cholesterol, and acne medicines. Few factors associated with dry skin are eczema, psoriasis, diabetes, hypothyroidism and malnutrition (deficiency of vitamin A may suffer from xerosis).
Sign and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms include rough dry skin, itching, a red plaque of eczematous skin (nummular eczema), itching can lead to itch-scratch-cycle. Common areas like lower legs, hands, arms, and groins. Due to constant scratching and rubbing, it causes small red raised bumps on the skin can open and get infected because of scratching.
Diagnosis is confirmed by visual inspection with medical and family history can help a physician to support the diagnosis, a biopsy would be recommended in difficult cases.
Treatment for Dry Skin
One of the best Dry Skin Treatment in India is daily lubrication with an emollient (which inhibits evaporation of water). Mainly cause requires treatment such as lotion and creams. Dry skin can be improved by application of bland over the counter moisturizer. Once the cause of dry skin is ruled out main focus of treatment will be to stop itching, prevent loss of water and restore skin hydration. For mild dry skin, light moisturizing lotion or lubriderm lotion or Cetaphil lotion is used. Curel lotion is a highly moisturizing product for severely dry skin. Vaseline is also used frequently to moisturize the skin. Various topical steroids can be used –mild strength like hydrocortisone 1% creams, pramosone 2.5% cream), medium strength like triamcinolone 0.1% cream, and strong strength like fluocinonide 0.05% cream. The general rule is that only mild corticosteroids creams like hydrocortisone should be used on sensitive areas like face, underarms and groins area. Long-term application of strong corticosteroids creams like fluocinonide may lead to serious adverse effects such as stretch marks, skin thinning and skin breakdowns. Oral Antihistamine – diphenhydramine (Benadryl), hydroxyzine(Atarax) and cetirizine is used for generalized itching in the dry skin to get better sleep at night.