The basic steps in the treatment of dry skin is to:
- use moisturizers
- avoid excess showering and bathing
- Humidifying the environment including the home.
Screening and diagnosis
The diagnosis of dry skin is not difficult. In most cases, the patient himself will make the diagnosis. The cause of the dry skin may not always be obvious ad the physician may require a detailed history and a thorough medical examination. If a medical illness is suspected, blood work analysis will be done to rule out conditions like kidney failure or hypothyroidism
Dry skin that's not cared for can lead to:
? Severe redness
? Cracking and inflammation.
? Inflammation of the hair follicles
? Breaks in the skin
? Formation of fine lines and wrinkles
? Make the skin more prone to infections.
These complications are most likely to occur when your skin's normal protective mechanisms are severely compromised. For example, severely dry skin can cause deep cracks or fissures, which can open up and bleed, opening the way for invading bacteria.
In the majority of cases of dry skin, simple home made remedies may help reverse the condition. Self care treatments to treat dry skin include:
- use of moisturizers and emollients
- avoiding long hot showers
- avoiding the use of hard soaps
- avoiding the use of harsh detergents on clothes
- keeping the home environment humid
- sleeping in a cool room
If the dry scaly skin persists, one may use creams containing urea and liberally apply them on the skin
For those with ichthyosis or psoriasis, the help of a dermatologist is essential. Besides treating the skin disease, the dry skin may also be treated with the use of ointments and lotions
Steroids: if the dry skin is severe and associated with an itch, one may require the use of a topical corticosteroid. Non prescription low strength steroids are available. If these fail, prescription strength corticosteroids can be obtained after consulting with a physician.
If the skin is excoriated and breaking open, one may apply wet dressings. The wet dressings soothe the pain, lessen the itch and help in the healing.
Dry skin can be a long and recurrent problem, especially during the winter months. If you notice that your skin is drying up, start using emollients or moisturizers on a regular basis. If there is a an itch associated with it, one should use a combination of a low strength corticosteroids and a moisturizing cream as routine treatment.