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Dry skin: what does it depend on?

March 29, 2018

Hands, face, elbows, hips and abdomen. Localized dry skin, scientifically called xerosis, is often a temporary or seasonal problem that can occur especially when the climate is very cold or in summer, when sensitive skin is exposed to sunlight. Those who suffer from this disorder will feel their skin become rougher and drier even after bathing or showering, when the skin, instead of being softer, will tend to flake. But what does dry skin depend on? We talk about this topic with Alessandra Narcisi, dermatologist at Humanitas.



Climate and unhealthy habits

Dry skin often has an environmental cause but some diseases can significantly affect this disorder.


Poor in water during winter, when temperatures and humidity levels fall, the skin loses firmness, which can also happen due to too much heat. Central heating, wood burning stoves and fireplaces, for example, reduce humidity and dry the skin.


Even long hot showers or particularly prolonged baths can dry the skin, which is also severely tested by frequent contact with chlorinated water in swimming pools.


Moreover, be careful of aggressive soaps and detergents that tend to dry the skin too much and eliminate its oiliness. It is therefore better to prefer delicate detergents, also avoiding alcohol-based deodorants.



When lack of hydration is pathological

People with skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) or psoriasis are prone to skin dryness. In this case it will be even more important to use all precautions, making sure you cover yourself well during the coldest season, wearing a scarf, hat and gloves and favoring natural fabrics and fibers. Wool, even if natural, can irritate the skin.


Keeping in touch with your doctor or consulting a dermatologist can be important to understand the nature and severity of the problem.



The word of the specialist

“Skin dryness (or skin xerosis) is a very common condition in patients who enter a dermatological clinic, and often unfortunately it is one of the most difficult to resolve because the patient does not recognize it as a problem and therefore does not deal with it effectively – commented Dr. Narcisi. Skin xerosis is a condition that obviously worsens during the winter in addition to the use of inappropriate hygiene and body care products. It can frequently be a major cause of the worsening of many dermatological pathologies: the so-called senile itching that becomes very disabling for the elderly patient and that forces him to sleep little or to take ad hoc drugs (cortisone, antihistamines), psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, irritating dermatitis and contact allergies. Tackling this type of “paraphysical” condition is therefore important. It is necessary to consult a dermatologist to have the correct diagnosis and to have the right indications on the type of treatment to be carried out according to the predisposing causes and the associated conditions”.

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