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Dry Flaky Skin Conditions

Dry Flaky Skin Conditions Dry Flaky Skin Conditions

Overview

When you have dry, flaky skin and can't find relief, it may be frustrating to know that it's a common problem that has a variety of causes. Whether you have a skin condition that causes your skin to be chronically dry and flaky, or it's a seasonal problem, you can find what is causing your dry skin and how to relieve itchiness at home or with your doctor's help.

Clinical Terms

Only your doctor can diagnose the cause of your dry skin. General dry skin is referred to as xerosis. Xerosis refers to the dry, flaky skin that most people get from time to time, according to the weather and various skin care practices. Chronic dry skin may indicate eczema or psoriasis as well, depending on the location and severity of the dry, flaky skin.

Symptoms

When you suffer from dry, flaky skin, your skin feels tight or raw around areas where you're prone to dryness. Your skin may appear shrunken or dehydrated, notes the MayoClinic website. You may also suffer from itchiness, and flakes of skin may come off of your body when you scratch your dry these areas. Sometimes the skin will be so dry that it cracks and bleeds.

Causes

When you have sensitive or dry skin, indoor heating can dehydrate it further, making it more susceptible to flaking. You may also have a reaction to certain types of skin care products. Eczema, also known as dermatitis, can cause dry, red, itchy and inflamed skin, according to Medline Plus. Psoriasis is a condition that causes dry, flaky skin on the scalp and other areas of the body.

Condition Descriptions

Eczema is sometimes called atopic dermatitis and is characterized by dry, scaly skin patches. Most often caused by irritants, it is more prevalent in babies and children, according to Medline Plus. Someone with eczema may notice a severe flaking and cracking of the skin, resulting in bleeding. It's treated via avoiding irritants, frequent moisturizing and prescription ointments if necessary.

Psoriasis develops as silvery, dry flakes of skin that slough off when skin is scratched. It occurs when dead skin cells build on the surface, notes the MayoClinic website. Psoriasis can affect many areas of the body, including the scalp, genitals, neck, armpits, feet and even the nails. It can be treated via prescription ointment, light therapy, laser therapy and oral or injected medicine.

Warning

While dry, flaky skin is typically a mild problem, occasionally it is cause to seek medical care from your doctor. If your dry skin lasts too long, it could make your susceptible to certain infections, bleed or even ooze a discharge, warns the American Academy of Family Physicians. If your dry, itchy skin interferes with your quality of life, see your doctor. He can diagnose the dry, flaky skin and prescribe ointments and medications to help you combat your problem.

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