Dry skin

If youre battling itchy, dry skin, chances are one of these notorious dehydrators is to blame.Medically Reviewed

The general cause of itchy, dry skin might seem like a no-brainer: Its a lack of moisture. But where does that lack of moisture come from? “Dry skin is caused by an impaired skin barrier and dysfunction or deficiency in the necessary healthy fats in the top layer of the skin,” says Shari Marchbein, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Downtown Dermatology in New York City. Normally, the top layer of skin is made up of dead cells and natural oils, which help trap moisture to keep the skin soft and smooth, according to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. But if there’s not enough water in this top layer of cells, which can happen if the protective oils are diminished, dry skin could result.

In most cases, experiencing dry skin, or xerosis cutis, isn’t a big concern. According to MedlinePlus, it’s extremely common, can occur in people of all ages, and can pop up anywhere on the body, from the hands and face to the legs and stomach. Dr. Marchbein says that dryness can make the skin red, flaky, or itchy, which can be uncomfortable, but beyond that, there’s usually not much to worry about.

But sometimes the dryness will be severe and may indicate an underlying skin issue or health condition (more on that below). If the dryness is so severe that it interferes with your ability to work or sleep, if the skin becomes cracked or bleeds, or if it doesn’t seem to be responding to prescription treatment, be sure to visit your primary care doctor or a board-certified dermatologist, suggests Harvard Health.

Your first thought when you experience dry skin may be to pile on moisturizer. And while that’ll help and you’ll likely see changes within a few minutes, that’s a temporary solution. It may be more beneficial to get to the bottom of what’s causing the dryness in the first place. You might be surprised by what you find — some skin dehydrators lurk in surprising places.

If youre looking for remedies for dry skin, check this list first to find out whether one of these offenders may be to blame, and find out how experts suggest you combat these dehydrators. You should see improvements within a week or two of caring for your skin properly, according to Harvard Health.

what causes dry skin on hands and feet

In most cases it’s caused by factors like hot or cold weather, low moisture in the air, and soaking in hot water. You can do a lot on your own to improve your skin, including using moisturizers and avoiding harsh, drying soaps. But sometimes dry skin happens often or is severe.

COVID-19: Advice, updates and vaccine options

We are open for safe in-person care.

Dry skin isnt usually serious. In most cases its caused by factors like hot or cold weather, low moisture in the air, and soaking in hot water.

You can do a lot on your own to improve your skin, including using moisturizers and avoiding harsh, drying soaps. But sometimes dry skin happens often or is severe. In these cases, you may need help from a doctor who specializes in skin (dermatologist).

Products & Services

Dry skin is often temporary — you get it only in winter, for example — but it may be a lifelong condition. Signs and symptoms of dry skin depend on your age, your health, where you live, time spent outdoors and the cause of the problem. Dry skin is likely to cause one or more of the following:

  • A feeling of skin tightness, especially after showering, bathing or swimming
  • Skin that feels and looks rough
  • Itching (pruritus)
  • Slight to severe flaking, scaling or peeling
  • Fine lines or cracks
  • Gray, ashy skin
  • Redness
  • Deep cracks that may bleed
  • 3. Decrease stress

    It might sound crazy, but there may be a small association between stress and eczema. So if you notice your hands going haywire from dry skin caused by eczema, take some time for self-care to reduce stress.

    4. Consider medication

    If you have severe eczema, medications may be necessary to allow your skin a chance to heal. Your doctor might prescribe steroids that you can apply to your skin or even an antibiotic that you would take by mouth.

    Contact dermatitis

    Contact dermatitis is an itchy, dry skin rash that develops when a person comes into contact with a specific substance. This may occur because a person has an allergy, or because the substance is toxic or irritating.

    People with eczema, or atopic dermatitis, have dry and itchy skin. The skin may look red and inflamed. Often, scratching will make the rash worse.

    Eczema occurs when the skin barrier allows too much moisture to escape. The lack of moisture leads to dryness and, sometimes, cracked skin. It is not always clear what causes eczema, but it can run in families.

    Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that affects the skin. People with psoriasis have patches of extremely dry skin, typically on the scalp, trunk, and around the joints. However, patches can appear anywhere on the body. Some people with psoriasis also experience pain.

    Athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis, is an infection of the feet caused by ringworm. Ringworm is a type of fungus. Symptoms of athlete’s foot include:

    People are more likely to get athlete’s foot if they spend a lot of time in water, sweat a lot, or wear shoes that do not allow the skin to breathe.

    10 Surprising Causes Of Dry SkinNot moisturizing enough is an obvious culprit for dry, irritated, or cracked skin. But genetics, fragrance in skin-care products, and hard water are other triggers. Find out about some causes of dry skin here.

    what causes dry skin on hands and feet

    Leave a Comment