Flaking Skin – When to visit the doctor

November 12, 2012

Flaking Skin – When to visit the doctor

Flaking skin can be irritating but when it is combined with intense itching, inflammation or infection, or home treatment has been ineffective then it’s time to visit the doctor.

Dry skin can cause flaking on many areas of the body but it tends to be more common on the arms and legs. The skin is thinner in these areas and more exposed.

There are many reasons why people have dry skin. These include:

Some people are just born with dry, flaking skin.

People who are older suffer more from flaking skin. As we age the skin becomes drier. Dry skin becomes worse by constantly washing with harsh perfumed soaps.

Dry flaking skin is more common in the winter months whatever age you are. This is due to the low humidity in the outdoor cold air and heated air indoors making the skin dehydrate. And if not enough moisturizer is used, the dry skin breaks and the flakes come off.

If skin has been inflamed, irritated or damaged because of allergies, sunburn, seborrhea and psoriasis the flaking skin can appear.

Psoriasis is characterized by flaking patches on inflamed, red skin. This skin condition has to be treated by a doctor. Psoriasis can affect the whole area of the body but may initially appear on the scalp, knees and elbows.

Seborrhea is a skin condition which affects the scalp area. Normally greasy, yellowish scales appear on the scalp.

Eczema is a broad ranging name which covers many skin conditions. Dry flakes or scales can appear all over the body but it tends to be more common on the hands in adults.

Some skin medication may also cause the skin to be inflamed then flaking and peeling occur.

To get relief from the irritating symptoms of dry, flaking skin always use a moisturizer morning and evening.

There are many deodorant and anti bacterial soaps that are too rough on dry skin. Substitute the soap for cleansing bars which contain olive oil. Be aware of lotions with lanolin as an ingredient as this can cause allergies in many people.

After bathing, dry the skin by patting the towel on damp skin. Make sure you dry well after showering or bathing. Always apply moisturizer. The ones that are grease based form a waterproof layer between the air and skin. This stops the loss of moisturizer. There are many over the counter moisturizing products available from the pharmacists to ease the irritation from flaking skin. If the skin does not respond to the moisturizer make an appointment with the doctor to find out what prescription medications are available.

For people who have extremely dry, flaky skin on their hands they can use an ointment which contains hydrocortisone. Before bed time put the ointment on if your hands are very dry and there is no infection and wear vinyl or plastic gloves. This may help the moisturizer to seep deep into the skin.

If you suffer from flaking appearing on the nose, hairline and eyebrows treat it with a hydrocortisone cream. Do not apply this cream more than once and only use it for two weeks at the very longest. If it is not successful in removing the flaking, dry skin make an appointment with the doctor to get prescribed medication.

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