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Dry Skin Effects

Dry Skin Effects Dry Skin Effects

Americans spent $8.3 billion on skin care items in 2008, according to analysts at Euromonitor International. Dry skin is one of the most widespread skin-related conditions. Increased moisture is the treatment in most cases. Applying moisturizers to the site of the dryness or increasing the overall humidity in a home or workplace will remedy most mild-to-moderate cases. Severe dryness could be the result of a more serious issue.

Scaling and Flaking

Dry skin occurs when the outer layer of skin runs out of water. This layer consists mostly of dead skin cells, which have been pushed to the surface as the skin regenerates itself. Normally hydrated skin shows no effect. However, a lack of moisture leads to flaking, or dead skin cells falling from the area of dryness. When dryness is concentrated in one particular area, the skin will develop a rough texture similar to scales on a fish's exterior. This is called scaling.

Cracking and Bleeding

Well-hydrated skin is elastic and moves with the body, while dry skin often feels tight. The Mayo Clinic reports that tightness occurs because the skin is trying to prevent the release and loss of additional fluid. As the outer layer of skin pulls and tightens to protect itself, cracks may form. These tears expose sublayers of skin to particles of dust and dirt, which can create infections. In some cases, cracked skin will bleed.


Allowing dry skin to go without treatment can lead to further irritation or exposure to harmful elements, including environmental particles or viral infections. When lower layers of skin tissue become compromised and infected, it is called eczema. EczemaNet, which is maintained by the American Academy of Dermatologists, reports that there is no specific cause for eczema. Individuals with sensitive skin can develop it by having contact with irritants, including acids and metals.


The Mayo Clinic writes that untreated dry skin can also lead to folliculitis, or an infection of the hair follicle. Dry skin causes irritation of the skin, which is loaded with hair follicles, or shafts that are rooted beneath the skin allowing hair to come to the surface. Irritated skin damages the follicle, potentially widening the opening and allowing infectious bacteria, fungi or viruses to enter. Folliculitis is evident by the formation of pus-filled bumps or blisters, skin redness and pain at the area of the infection.

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