Flaky skin is a condition that refers to skin so dry that it flakes off, similar to dandruff. Flaky skin can also be accompanied by itching and scaling. Healthy skin contains both water and oil, and when it loses these fluids, the skin begins to dry out. As we age, the skin loses moisture and becomes drier. However, flaking skin can be a symptom of a more serious skin condition.
There are several common causes of dry, flaky skin. For instance, exposure to winter weather can cause dry skin to crack and peel. Hot baths, certain medications, cleansers, and chemicals can also cause flaky skin. Most dry skin and flaking is only temporary, such as that associated with cold climates. However, if the flaking persists or is accompanied by other symptoms such as redness, swelling, or scaly patches, it may be an indication of a more serious skin condition such as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis.
Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, refers to an inflammation of the skin. The skin may be itchy, swollen and red. Over time, the skin may thicken and become scaly. Although it usually appears in childhood, atopic dermatitis can develop at any age. Psoriasis is a condition that causes a rapid build-up of excess skin cells. These skin cells form red, scaly patches that itch and can even be painful.
Treatment for dry, flaky skin is usually determined by the underlying cause. However, it is important to keep dry skin moisturized. Conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are often treated with corticosteroid ointments or other prescribed medications.
See a Dermatologist
If dry, flaky skin continues to persist despite your best efforts at moisturizing, consult a dermatologist. There are several other causes such as allergic reactions, parasites and autoimmune conditions that may be the source of your skin problems. It is best to see a professional for a proper diagnosis. If you notice redness, swelling, thickening of the skin or open seeping areas such as blisters or sores, see a physician immediately since these could be signs of infection.
As the body’s largest organ, our skin is susceptible to many environmental irritations. It is important to care for it properly with gentle cleansing and daily moisturizing. Take care of the skin you’re in and it will keep you looking and feeling great throughout your lifetime. Contact us today at Pinnacle Dermatology to book your appointment in Birmingham.