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What Are the Most Common Causes of Dry Skin?

Article Details
  • Written By: Alicia Sparks
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Some of the most common causes of dry skin are environmental and behavioral issues. Other causes include physiological reasons, medical problems or conditions, and certain types of medications. Sometimes, though, dry skin causes are as simple as improperly treating or exposing already dry skin to irritants.

For many people, one of the most common causes of dry skin is their environment. Since it extracts moisture from the skin, dry air often causes dry skin. Depending on where they live, some people might deal with dry air on a daily basis. Others might experience dry skin in winter months only, and indoor heating systems can further aggravate the problem. Using a humidifier indoors and regularly and properly applying a moisturizing lotion can help remedy these particular dry skin causes.

Similar to environmental causes, behavioral causes of dry skin can be just as simple to identify and remedy. For example, taking long showers or baths with hot water can dry out the skin. The same is true of using harsh soaps. Both practices can strip skin of natural and protective oils. Using a cooler water setting and a more moisturizing soap as well as following up with a moisturizing lotion can help combat these types of dry skin causes.

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Unfortunately, some causes of dry skin, such as certain medical conditions, aren’t as easy to remedy as others. Eczema and psoriasis are probably the two most common dry skin conditions. These two conditions are often marked by thick dry skin patches. There are both over-the-counter and prescription lotions, creams, and other medications specialized for these dry skin conditions. Other medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders and diabetes, might seem unrelated to dry skin but are actually common medical causes of dry skin.

Of course, sometimes the condition isn’t a medical problem at all. Older people tend to experience dry skin as they age. Both genders can experience this, but it’s especially prevalent among women. The most common reason skin gets drier as it gets older is a change in hormone levels. Rather than a medical condition or problem, this is natural. Some of the same tips for treating dry skin, such as taking cooler showers and baths and using proper soaps and lotions, can help keep the skin moisturized.

For those who do have a medical condition or problem, though, certain medications can act as causes of dry skin. People who take certain medications for high blood pressure, such as diuretics, might experience dry skin. Some acne medications can cause dry skin, and many are designed to dry the skin in order to heal and prevent acne breakouts. Anyone who experiences dry skin after beginning a medication should talk with his doctor. He may be able to try a different medication, or his doctor might offer tips for keeping the skin moisturized.

Regardless of the causes of dry skin, people who already experience dry skin often make the problem worse by improperly using treatment products. After a shower, for instance, it’s best to apply lotion when the skin is still damp rather than after it’s completely dry. Also, allowing clothing made of itchy materials to contact already dry skin can further irritate it. The same is true of any other kind of fabric. Talking with a dermatologist as well as paying attention to everyday behaviors can help sufferers learn the best tips for treating dry skin.

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