Peeling and Dry Skin
Your skin can dry out and start to peel if it loses its ability to produce or retain moisture. Peeling and dry skin isn't always a sign of a serious problem, but it may be irritating and unpleasant to look at. Most dry, peeling skin can be alleviated with simple home remedies but you may need further treatment if yours is persistent or if it is accompanied by other symptoms.
Skin often loses moisture via a combination of cold outdoor temperatures and artificial, dry indoor heating. Frequent bathing in hot water and the use of harsh soaps can aggravate skin that is already peeling and dry. Other causes of peeling and dry skin are sun damage, skin infections, allergic reactions, the underproduction of the thyroid hormone and, less often, certain types of cancer and immune system disorders.
Take some preventative steps in the comfort on your own home and you may not need treatment from a doctor. Take short and warm baths or showers rather than long, hot cleanses, use just a small amount of a mild skin cleanser rather than a soap with fragrance and dyes, and dry your skin by patting it rather than rubbing it. Apply a thick moisturizer such as a cream or ointment to your skin while it is still slightly damp from the shower. Finally, keep a humidifier running in your home and drink enough water to have light yellow to colorless urine.
If you're certain that your peeling skin is related to a problem such as dry weather or a sunburn, you probably won't need much medical intervention. However, if you aren't sure what is causing your skin to peel, ask your doctor for medical advice before you try any lotions or home treatments. Also seek advice if your condition isn't improving despite your attempts to fix it, your skin is red, itching interferes with your ability to sleep, your skin has open sores or large portions of your skin are peeling, recommends MayoClinic.com.
Your doctor might suggest using a nonprescription cream that contains lactic acid and urea if your peeling and dry skin are severe. If your skin has progressed to dermatitis, a condition that involves itchy and red skin, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or prescribe a stronger formula. If your dry skin has cracks in it, the doctor may also prescribe astringent wet dressings to help reduce the problem and protect your skin from infection.
Your peeling and dry skin may be caused by an underlying disease if you are experiencing unexplained symptoms that don't seem related to your skin problem. Call your doctor if your peeling skin is accompanied by weight loss, persistent fatigue, pain in your muscles and joints, a fever or any overall feeling of ill health, recommends MayoClinic.com.
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