Dry skin, also known as xerosis, is a common skin condition that can be uncomfortable and itchy. Certain diseases or environmental factors may cause the skin to become excessively dry. Some associated diseases include contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, a form of eczema, and psoriasis. Other diseases, such as certain endocrine or autoimmune disorders may also result in dry skin. These include hypothyroidism, diabetes and Sjogren’s disease. Certain medications may also cause dry skin. Environmental factors that cause dry skin include exposure to hot or cold weather, long hot showers, dry indoor heat, harsh soaps, shampoos or detergents, and particular dyes or chemicals.
Treatments for Dry Skin
Simple lifestyle changes, like covering oneself appropriately against cold weather, wearing protective sunscreen, avoiding hot showers or baths, using moisturizing creams, particularly immediately after bathing, and humidifying the surrounding air, can be very helpful in alleviating dry skin. Products with petroleum jelly are especially useful in eliminating dry skin since they provide an effective barrier to moisture. Products with fragrance are to be avoided since they may further dry out the skin.
If a particular substance, material or medication is found to be causing the skin irritation, avoiding it can make a tremendous difference. For more severe cases of skin dryness, stronger creams or ointments may be prescribed.