Dryness of the skin is marked by scaling, itching, and cracking
Skin is one of the largest organs of the body. It has two layers, epidermis and dermis. Skin protects the body from infections and acts as a natural barrier from mechanical impact, temperature variations, micro-organisms, radiation and chemicals.
Skin regulates the body’s temperature and helps to maintain fluid balance via sweat. Skin’s nerve cells or receptors help to identify cold, heat, touch and pain. During neuropathy, a condition seen in diabetics the nerve cells of the skin are damaged and increase the risk of severe wounds.
Skin isn’t uniform for everyone. There are different types of skin – normal, dry, oily, combination, sensitive and mature types. The type of skin depends on external (climate, skin care) and internal (medications and hormonal changes).
Dry skin is an abnormality, and also known as Dermatitis. Dry skin occurs during winters due to lack of moisture in the atmosphere and features scaling, itching and cracking. Dry skin is mostly found on legs, arms and belly region. In some, dry skin may also occur from birth. Dry skin or dermatitis may be allergic, atopic, contact and seborrheic.
Dry skin may occur due to many factors. Dry skin is found in people who have less of oil producing glands on the skin. Women are at higher risk of dry skin than men. Those who spend more time in water, and those having greater exposure to more sunlight or UV rays also suffer from dry skin. Also, people living in dry and cold areas are more likely to suffer from dry skin.
Dry skin is evident as skin tightness, roughness, itching (pruritus), flaking, cracks, ashy skin, redness and deep cracks.
RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS:
The more the age of the individual, the greater the risk of dry skin. Those who live in dry, cold and low-humid climates are also more at the risk of dry skin. Those who swim frequently in chlorinated pools also experience dry skin. The complications of dry skin are evident as infections like eczema.
The specialist doctor or dermatologist checks your skin and looks for any infections. The doctor inquires about your bathing habits, diet and your skin care practices. Each patient’s history of skin infections and thyroid profile are also checked.
The standard treatment for dry skin includes use of moisturizers and avoiding hot showers and baths. Doctor’s advice is needful when dry skin leads to serious skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis and others. Cracked skin can be treated by wet dressings to prevent infection.