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Dry Skin – Definition, Causes and Treatment

There are several people who always have dry skin. We hope to assess this skin problem today by going through the most important information you have to know if your skin is usually dry.

How do I know if I have dry skin? What are the symptoms?

The medical name for dry skin is Xeroderma. If your skin is itching, is rough or simply looks dry, you might have dry skin. This condition is more common in older men and women. Also, if your skin is red and cracks start to appear, you should really go to your doctor or physician as your skin might be severely dry.

 What are the causes of dry skin?

The main cause of dry skin is the lack of water in the outer skin layer called epidermis. This can be, in turn, caused by many biological and external factors. Biological factors include genetics, age, allergies while some external factors are the rough temperatures, tough soaps and losing moisture with hot showers or when drying your skin with a towel straight after the shower. Some medication might also make your skin dry as a side effect.

Why is my dry skin worse in the winter?

Many people find that their skin is drier in the winter. This can be due to a number of factors such as: cold weather, dryer air that (due to the use of heating) and low humidity in the atmosphere.

How can I treat dry skin?

Here are a few quick tips on how you can keep your skin moisturised:

  1. Clean with the right soaps and do not scrub: if you are prone to dry skin, clean gently and with soaps that moisturise your skin.
  2. Avoid hot showers: hot showers are great, but may dry your skin very quickly. Try to avoid them when you can.
  3. Moisturise right after showering: buy a skin moisturiser such as a body lotion or body oil. You will feel the difference but you have to remember to apply it regularly.
  4. Buy a humidifier: if your dry skin is accompanied by a sore throat or you struggle to breathe when you are back home, the air of your home might be too stiff and dry. A humidifier will solve these problems and will help you breathe and have a healthier skin. You don’t have to spend a fortune: there are very cheap ceramic humidifiers that you can hang to your radiators that will keep the right balance of water in the air as they will heat up the water only when the radiators heat up the room.

If none of the above methods and treatments works you should see your doctor, as the issue might be a sign of an underlying condition such as diabetes, eczema or hypothyroidism.

What are the most common skin problems?

Below is a list of the most common skin disorders. Before you start questioning whether you are suffering from any of the conditions below, please be advised that a full consultation with a specialist, such a dermatologist, is needed in order to properly diagnose your problem.

In any case, we thought this list could be helpful to our readers so here we go.

ACNE –acne is a skin condition that affects many teenagers and 5% of women and 1% of men over 25. Many already know what it looks like: red facial pimples that are located in the face, and whiteheads and blackheads. Acne is usually caused by too much sebum that blocks the skin pores and allows bacteria to infect the area. It is known that hormone levels can affect the appearance or disappearance of acne.

ECZEMA –dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin due to a contact with a specific substance. Eczema is the name for this specific type of dermatitis that manifests itself after a contact with a certain substance. It can develop after having touched an irritant or a substance you might be particularly allergic to. The skin might be red, inflamed or dry due to the condition and, in worst cases, blisters might appear.

WART –a wart looks like a solid blister. They are caused by an infection of viral nature. One of the most common viruses that cause this condition is a certain type of human papillomavirus (HPV). There exists different types of warts. Warts are contagious through skin-to-skin contact. Specific type of warts that develop on pressure points of the feet are called verrucas.

COLD SORE –cold sores are red blisters that might appear around the mouth or in other areas of the face. The main cause of cold sore is the virus herpes simplex type 1. Antiviral medication might help with an outbreak, but unfortunately there is no cure for cold sores at the moment.

PSORIASIS –psoriasis is a chronic skin condition. It looks like white chipped skin on top of a red area. It is a genetic condition whereby the process of formation of new skin is speeded up. However, once the tissue on top dies, the skin on the bottom is not completely ready yet and this causes inflammation. Most people that suffer from this skin condition also notice that certain elements prompt psoriasis to occur. Triggers can be skin accidents, smoking or stress.

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