Dry Skin - Patients ask, Dr. Ringpfeil answers
Please feel free to use the blog below to share information about Dry Skin or to ask Dr. Franziska Ringpfeil a question that might be of interest to others.
It is common for people to experience dry skin during cold weather, in arid climates, and as they age. It is caused by a loss of water from the top layer of the skin, the stratum corneum. Factors such as low humidity and excessive exposure to soaps and detergents can cause water loss by damaging the skin's barrier.
There are several causes of itchy skin, but xerosis is the most common one. During the winter months, dry skin is more common due to windy cold air and indoor heating.
Dry skin can be diagnosed clinically by looking for fine scales, cracks, or fissures on the skin surface. Sometimes, dryness is just one sign of underlying inflammation, and a biopsy may be necessary to exclude inflammatory dermatoses such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, or a fungal skin infection.
When dry skin does not respond to treatment, additional tests may be necessary to rule out certain diseases, such as hypothyroidism, HIV, and Sjogren's syndrome.
Dry skin can be treated by replenishing its moisture content. If possible, you should bathe in cool water, use a mild soap, and apply moisturizer liberally afterward.
Don't wash your hands excessively. Making modifications to the environment, like keeping the room temperature as low as possible during the winter and using a room humidifier, can also be beneficial.
Dry skin problems can be prevented by following gentle bathing habits and applying moisturizer daily. During the winter months, exposed skin should be protected through the use of creams, gloves, and scarves. Moisturizer should be applied to dry hands every time you wash them. You should wear gloves when you use chemicals or wash dishes. Hand sanitizer should be used sparingly.
In the event that the patient follows the above recommendations but the dry skin persists, a dermatologist may be necessary to determine the cause of the persistent xerosis.