Dry skin is a common skin condition that results when the skin loses moisture and its natural oils resulting in scaling, flaking, cracking, and itching. It is sometimes also referred to as xeroderma or xerosis. Dry skin affects people of any age and skin type and can occur anywhere on the body.
Dry skin can occur for a variety of reasons, including:
- Weather and climate: Exposure to the cold, low humidity, and dry indoor spaces can lead to dry skin.
- Occupation: People who work in jobs that require repeated hand washing or result in exposure to chemicals are more likely to have dry skin. Examples include: medical professionals, housekeepers, daycare workers, cooks, florists, and hairdressers.
- Lifestyle factors: Taking long hot showers or baths can dry out your skin. Similarly, many popular soaps can be harsh, stripping your skin of its natural oils.
- Skin diseases: Individuals who suffer from conditions like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis commonly have dry skin.
- Systemic disorders: People with diabetes, thyroid disease, or kidney disease may also develop dry skin as a result of their health issues. Cancer survivors and cancer patients can also develop dry skin as a result of their cancer treatments.
- Age: As we age, our skin produces less oils and we become more prone to having dry skin.
- Medications: Certain medications such as retinoids and diuretics can cause dry skin.
- Diet: A lack of water intake, along with vitamin or mineral deficiencies, can lead to the onset of dry skin.
Tips for managing dry skin
- Lifestyle modifications: Limit the duration and frequency of baths and showers. Use warm water instead of hot water for baths and showers. Apply a good moisturizer right after a bath or shower.
- Product selection: Select and use only mild cleansers, good moisturizers, and fragrance-free detergents.
- Treat underlying skin conditions which may contribute to dry skin.