Dry Skin: Diagnosis, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Dry skin medically known as xeroderma or xerosis is an uncomfortable condition in which skin lakes moistures and is characterized by itching, peeling, irritation, scaling, cracking, or inflammation. Dry skin may be a normal condition if its causes are climate changes or lack of hydration in the body. Some people normally have dry skin, but they can also develop oil over time. Sometimes, oily skin can also turn into dry skin. It is also of great concern for women as dry skin develops wrinkles and skin loses elasticity.

Area Affected By Dry Skin

Dry skin mostly occurs in winter and is also known as winter itch. It can normally affect any part of your body. It usually affects hands, upper arms, sides of the abdomen, thighs, and lower legs. In most cases, dry skin is not serious, but if it is severe or often happens, consult a dermatologist for treatment.

How to Diagnose Dry Skin?

The following points can help you to diagnose dry skin

  • After a bath or shower, you feel tightness in the skin.
  • Skin becomes dull and loses shine.
  • Fine lines, wrinkles, or cracks develop on the skin.
  • Dryness, itchiness, scaling, or inflammation.
  • Severe cracks that may bleed often.

What are Symptoms of Dry Skin?

Dry skin may be normal or severe, and therefore symptoms vary. Symptoms of dry skin depend upon various factors like your health, age, how you live, your routine, your area, and causes. It will be normal if occurs only during winter and then regenerates the moisture of skin- can also be long-lasting in many cases.

If you have dry skin, you can notice these symptoms.

  • Cracks: This is the first sign of dry skin that you can observe. Due to the dryness of skin cracks develops. As the skin shrinks, these cracks may become deeper and can also bleed.
  • Dehydration: Skin loses most of its moisture and becomes dehydrated. This dehydrated skin cause dryness or cracks.
  • Itching: It is a common pain point of a sufferer of dry skin. Dry skin causes mostly cause itching and redness on the skin. Itching may be severe and can create a lot of pain.
  • Tightness: After showering or bathing, skin becomes tight, leading to the development of gray and ashy skin. Skin becomes more sensitive to temperature or climate changes.
  • Peeling: Skin becomes rough and dull. Most of the parts start peeling and crack off. Regeneration of skin cells stop and skin peels off.
  • Pain: Pain also relates to severe symptoms of dry skin. People feel the sensation of burning when water or some other sort of thing touches the cracked skin.
  • Wrinkles: Dry skin becomes tight and loses elasticity. There are great chances for the skin to develop wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. The skin loses shine and the wrinkles can get permanent with the age.
  • Infection: As the dry skin has cracks and its outer layer broke out. It becomes easy for the germs to penetrate deeply into the skin and causing infection. In case of infection fluids like pus develops, yellow crusts, and swelling occurs.
  • Irritation: When the skin becomes raw, it leads to irritation in the skin. Irritation can cause bumps, blisters, and rashes on the skin. Thinning of the skin can cause also allergy and loss of fat from the skin.

What are the Causes of Dry Skin?

There are as many different causes of dry skin. It is difficult to describe one main cause of dryness. It can occur due to internal or external causes. Internal causes range from age, health, genetics, and medication history. While external include humidity, temperature, and environment. But notably, the followings are the main dry skin causes:

Internal Causes:

  • Age: It is the major factor that causes dry skin. With the age, pores of skin produce less oil and skin becomes easily susceptible to dryness. Naturally, older people have dry skin and skin lose elasticity. In short, increasing age is among the predominant dry skin causes.
  • Health: Diet and health are co-related when considering the health for dry skin. If you take a proper diet and enough water per day, there are least chances for the skin to become dry. If the skin is properly hydrated, dryness will not occur.
  • Medical History: Diseases become the precursor of dry skin causes. If you have an illness like Diabetes and Thyroid, you will be more likely to develop dryness. Having some skin diseases definitely causes dry skin.
  • Genetics: If your family history has eczema or any kind of skin disease, it increases the risk of developing dry skin in you. Genetics is a main cause and risk factor of dry skin.

External Causes:

  • Climate: Environment or humidity is the main cause of dry skin. As we have already described that mostly winter causes dryness and at the onset of the favorable condition, skin revives and regains its oil.
  • Bathing: Taking showers with hot water and in excess reduces the moisture of the skin. You will feel skin becomes tight, and it happens due to the evaporation of water from the skin.
  • Soaps: Harsh soaps acts as an emulsifier and remove oil from the skin. Soaps have a great effect on the skin, when you rub the skin with soap more oil is wasted. Continuous use of these soaps can worst dry skin.
  • Skin Color: Additionally, skin color can also be a cause of dry skin. If you have black, brown, or fair skin, you have more chances to develop dryness than people of medium complexion.

What is Treatment for Dry Skin?

Treatment of dry skin varies and depends upon your choice whether you want to do it at home or consult a dermatologist. The best effective dry skin treatment is the application of an emollient or moisturizer. Mostly, dry skin is due to external causes like soaps and climate. You can cure it very easily by a simple method. Our main purpose is to eradicate out the causes of dry skin and have dry skin treatment.


Apply blend over-the-counter moisturizer. Immediately after bathing and face wash, use creams, lotions, and moisturizers for dry skin treatment. These creams and moisturizers trap the moisture of soil and making skin smooth. Dr. Jason Frangos, a dermatologist at Harvard-Affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital says “Moisturizers are thick oils that replace fats and oils we lose as we grew older”.

Bathing Changes

Whenever you feel dry skin, change your bathing habits on the spot. Use warm water instead of hot water. Limit the time of bathing to about 10 minutes. Decrease the frequency of showers and after shower blot skin gently with a towel.

Use Creams and Lotions

Research shows most people use a water-based lotion that contains too much water and don’t enough moisturize the skin. You can use oil-based cream and ointments that come in jars, these are most effective for dry skin treatment. You can also use jojoba oil, mineral oil, and glycerin to moisturize the skin.

Fragrance-Free Skin Products

Doctors recommend using preservative and fragrance-free products to cure the skin. The fragrance of harsh soaps or deodorants causes itchiness and dryness in the skin. The label of “unscented” on the skincare products also has many chemicals that can irritate the dry skin.

If the above changes in the routine don’t give a positive effect immediately, you need to consult a doctor. The doctor will examine and prescribe ointment or cream for you. Consulting a doctor is necessary as prolonged dry skin can cause skin diseases like eczema, or it may be a sign of diseases. Some people consider excess water drinking can cure dry skin, but it doesn’t have research-based evidence.


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