A dry skin rash can develop for a number of reasons. Skin doctors or dermatologists often refer to this type of skin rash as xerosis.
Basically, this problem occurs because natural fats and oils that are in the skin to help prevent moisture loss get stripped away. If these barriers to skin moisture loss are not replaced, then a dry skin problem can develop. Many factors can contribute to a dry skin rash and this are discussed below.
If a person is older, there is less or decreased production of natural fats and oils and this can lead to dry skin. On the other hand, infants have the opposite problem. This age group experiences underdeveloped oil glands and therefore these individuals are also more vulnerable to a dry skin problem.
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Susceptibility to getting dry skin may be due to genetics and may be inherited. Some individuals simply are programmed to lose the essential oils from their skin more easily than others because of their genetic make-up. It may be that because of genetic reasons some individuals simply do not produce enough protective oils for the skin to remain properly moisturized.
Work activities can lead to dry skin. There are numerous occupations where repeated contact with harsh chemicals occurs, for example cleaning products, and these will cause a dry skin problem.
Over washing or over cleansing the skin is problematic. Soaps used to clean the skin often are too harsh to be used often and therefore, cause essential fats and oils to be stripped from the skin. The skin on the hands and face are usually the areas that get washed more often and thus get affected the most by this dry skin causing factor.
A dry skin rash can also be caused by a poor diet, consumption of too much alcohol or drugs, and smoking. In addition, the presence of health problems in an individual, such as thyroid disorders and diabetes, and skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema can cause or contribute to a dry skin problem.
The most common of reasons why this type of skin rash develops is due to the environment, in particular cold dry or low humidity weather often encountered in the winter months of many climates worldwide. Low humidity means that the air, which is deficient in water content, wants to extract moisture from the skin. On the other hand, if the humidity in the air is high, then there is no driving force for water to leave the skin. Skin that is not protected from the sun, hot and dry conditions, cold temperatures, or dry windy conditions will develop a dry skin problem.
A person with dry skin will experience very itchy skin that is scaly or flaky in nature. Sometimes no real skin rash is plainly evident and just the itch is present. However, in many cases the dry skin symptoms are more obvious. The skin can be dull in appearance, inflamed, have a burning sensation, show redness, swelling, and show many fine lines and small cracks that repeatedly bleed or weep fluid. Infection is highly possible because of the open areas of the skin that remain open for long periods of time or keep reopening if the skin problem persists.
Without treatment the condition will get worse unless the factors causing the chapped skin rash are eliminated. Treatment involves moisturizing the skin and re-establishing the protective moisture barrier that the skin should naturally have.
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