Why Is the Skin on My Legs Constantly Dry?
Dry skin can be a long-term condition or a temporary irritation. The skin on your arms and lower legs are the areas most affected by dry skin. The skin becomes dry when it loses more moisture than it can restore. It becomes rough and often flakes. The environment, hygiene, skin conditions and aging all contribute to constant dry skin on your legs.
Changes in the weather and sun exposure can cause or increase skin dryness on your legs. Exposure to the cold winter air and lower levels of humidity dry your skin. Central heat and forced air furnaces add to your skin irritation by further drying out the air indoors. Exposure to the sun any time of the year dries the skin. The heat from the sun plus the ultraviolet radiation can dry and damage the skin on your legs.
Showering and bathing too frequently in hot water along with the use of harsh soaps can strip the oils from the skin on your legs. Shaving your legs without the use of creams or gels can further irritate already dry skin. Failing to pat your skin dry after bathing and forgetting to apply moisturizer can lead to additional dryness. Avoid deodorant, antibacterial soaps and any soaps that contain alcohol. These products can suck the moisture from your legs.
Types of eczema and psoriasis both cause dry skin and some forms appear on the legs.
Atopic dermatitis is often confused with excessive dryness and is common to the knees and ankles.
Discoid eczema is often caused by over-dry skin and can resist treatment. It starts as a single dry patch on one leg but quickly appears on the lower portion of both legs.Keratosis pilaris appears as small bumps on the upper legs. It can create rough patches and a sandpaper-like appearance. Psoriasis appears as red, dry, scaly skin on knees and shins.Seek medical attention if the dry skin on your legs resembles any of these conditions.
As you age, your skin loses its ability to produce oil to keep the skin moisturized. The skin becomes thinner, intensifying the dryness on the legs and arms. As the skin thins, it flakes, cracks and appears dryer. Older skin becomes more sensitive to fabric, soaps and detergents that can cause drying and irritation to the skin. Some medications can also cause the skin to dry out. Check with your doctor regarding your dry skin; it could be a sign of a more serious condition.
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