Dry skin, also known as Xerosis is a common skin condition. A common cause is the loss of moisture due to environmental factors, like very cold or very hot, arid regions or low humidity. In a few cases however, dry skin may be a symptom of an underlying medical conditions. Aging is also known to cause dry skin. Keeping skin hydrated by moisturizing is very important as if left untreated it could lead to cracks and infections.
As mentioned, one of the primary reasons for dry skin is environmental conditions. People living in areas of extreme winter or arid desert regions may experience dry skin. Alternatively, long, hot showers also tend to dry out the skin. Use of harsh soaps, shampoos and detergents may cause loss of moisture. Skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis are known to cause dry skin. Other medical conditions like diabetes and hypothyroidism may cause dry skin.
Dry skin is a temporary skin condition usually observed in winters. However, it may be a long term condition for some. The symptoms tend to vary depending on the age, location, exposure to weather conditions, etc. Symptoms include rough patchy skin, cracked skin, flaky peeling skin, itchy skin, open sores.
Dry skin may be treated with the topical application of lotions and creams that quite effectively prevent the loss of moisture from the top layers of the skin and restores hydration. Light and heavy moisturizing creams or lotions are prescribed based on the severity. In extreme cases, topical application of corticosteroid creams is suggested. However, long term use should be avoided as they may cause adverse effects.
Alternatively home remedies like showering with lukewarm water, the use of emollient lotions on damp skin immediately after bath, use of mild cleansers, soaps, shampoos and detergents may help alleviate the symptoms.