Dry skin conditions can cause pain and irritation on a daily basis, disrupting people’s lives and routines. As a result of them, patients have also been known to suffer psychological distress. Fortunately, many of these ailments have applicable resolutions. Discover some of the most common dry skin conditions and how to treat them.
Eczema is very common in the UK; it involves dry patches of skin that become cracked and sore. Eczema is initiated by skin that is unable to retain moisture, causing it to become dry and irritated. Common triggers for eczema include allergens (dust mites, pet fur and pollen), irritants found in soaps and detergents, skin infections, hormonal changes and environmental factors. Doctors usually prescribe emollients (moisturising treatments), topical corticosteroids (to reduce swelling and redness) and self-help techniques to reduce scratching.
Psoriasis is an immune condition that causes redness, itching and inflammation of the skin and joints. The condition is instigated by the speeding up of the body’s skin production. In non-sufferers, this cycle typically takes a month. In psoriasis patients, however, this process can take as little as a few days. This causes a rapid buildup of skin cells and initiates a scaling effect on the surface of the skin.
Patches can appear on the face, neck, hands, knees and scalp. Topical corticosteroids, salicylic acid and vitamin D analogues are all treatment options offered by doctors to tackle psoriasis. Medicated shampoos may also be necessary for those whose condition is centralised on the scalp.
This condition causes persistent dry skin patches that are thick and sometimes resembe fish scales. The face and bends of the elbow are regions most commonly affected by ichthyosis. The condition is a result of a faulty gene that is passed on from parents—this defect disturbs skin regeneration.
Symptoms of ichthyosis are usually exacerbated by cold and dry weather conditions but can improve in warm and humid climates. A daily routine of moisturising and exfoliating should be adhered to in order to prevent the buildup of skin cells. More extreme cases may require an emollient for extra care.