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Causes of Flaky Skin

Causes of Flaky Skin Causes of Flaky Skin

Flaky skin can be caused by a number of conditions, some of which are temporary and others chronic. For chronic conditions, such as psoriasis, no cures exist; however, treatments can be helpful for reducing the irritation. For temporary conditions, home remedies and over-the-counter medications can provide adequate treatment. In the case of allergies and contact dermatitis, identifying and avoiding the irritant can often relieve the symptoms.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a temporary skin condition that can result from contact with an irritant. Some individuals are sensitive to certain cosmetics, lotions, jewelry or soaps. These irritants can produce a reaction that results in an itchy, flaky red rash. Avoiding these irritants is the first step to treatment; however, an-over-the-counter cream, such as a hydrocortisone cream, can also be used to reduce the symptoms.


According to the Mayo Clinic, psoriasis is a chronic skin disease, that can cause mild or severe irritation, resulting in itchy, dry red patches and thick silvery scales caused by skin cell buildup. Psoriasis can be painful and debilitating for some and while there is no cure for this condition, treatments can decrease the effects. Topical treatments, moisturizers and light therapy are some treatment options. Simple remedies include daily bathing, which may help remove scales and calm inflamed skin, and avoiding alcohol and possible triggers. Over-the-counter treatments include products containing salicylic acid and coal tar, which promote the shedding of dead skin cells.


Allergies can cause reactions such as itchy red skin that flakes and peels. Several types of allergies can cause changes to the skin, such as food allergies, drug allergies or insect stings. Severe allergic reactions may be accompanied by anaphylaxis, a life-threatening medical emergency that can lead to swelling of the airways, a rapid pulse and loss of consciousness. Consulting a doctor if symptoms of an allergic reaction occur is advised.


Dandruff is a common chronic condition of the scalp that is characterized by itchy, flaky skin. Dandruff is neither contagious, nor serious, but can be bothersome. Treatments include daily shampooing and in more severe cases, a medicated shampoo.

Dry Skin

Dry skin occurs when the skin lacks water or oil. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin becomes drier with age, during the winter season and in low humidity. Avoiding hot water, using an adequate moisturizer immediately after bathing and using mild products that do not contain alcohol (which can be drying) can help remedy the dry, flaky effects.

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