Cracked Skin & Rash
Cracked skin is a term used to describe abnormal ruptures in the skin's surface that produce noticeable cracks or fissures. In some cases, cracked skin may result from the presence of skin rashes that weaken your skin's integrity. Conversely, the presence of conditions leading to cracked skin may worsen your existing rash symptoms.
Cracks in the skin frequently occur as a symptom of dry skin, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. When dry skin loses moisture, it becomes susceptible to inflammation, irritation, cracking and peeling. Conditions or activities that may cause your skin to dry abnormally include use of harsh soaps, frequent bathing, and significant humidity differences between indoor and outdoor environments. Typical spots on your body for the development of dry skin include the sides of your abdomen, thighs, lower legs and arms.
You may also develop cracked skin as a symptom of a rash called atopic eczema, the U.S. National Library reports. This chronic condition most commonly manifests in infants and results from an allergy-like reaction on the surface of the skin. In addition to cracked skin, common symptoms of eczema include oozing and crusting blisters, inflammation, redness, skin color changes and raw or abnormally thickened skin. The rash has a strong hereditary component, and frequently appears in families that also experience other allergic disorders, including hay fever and asthma.
While eczema may trigger your dry and cracked skin, dry or cracked skin can also increase the intensity of your eczema, the U.S. National Library notes. Other factors that may worsen your eczema include stress, water exposure, scented or dyed soaps or lotions, environmental irritants or chemicals, excessive heat or cold, and allergies to common items, such as mold or pollen.
You may also develop signs of a hereditary condition called keratosis pilaris, which manifests as a rash-like region of red or flesh-colored bumps in areas that include your thighs, cheeks or upper arms, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Although medically harmless, this ailment can trigger symptoms including itchiness and abnormally dry skin. Roughly 40 percent of Americans have keratosis pilaris, with most cases manifesting in areas of low humidity or during the winter, according to the American Academy of Dermatology
To prevent or minimize the effects of dry skin and its associated skin cracks, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends skin care techniques that include use of mild soaps, moisturizing your skin right after taking baths or showers, using warm water when you bathe and applying a gel or cream to your skin when you shave. If you have skin that is severely dry but not yet cracked, you can apply over-the-counter or prescription moisturizers containing lactic acid or urea to the affected areas.
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