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How to Diagnose and Treat Extremely Dry Skin?

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

Dry skin, which impacts people of all ages, is a prevalent issue. It happens when the skin's natural oils and moisture are lost, resulting in flaky, rough, and itchy skin. While dry skin is unpleasant and ugly, it is not generally a serious issue. Aside from the typical ways for dry skin diagnosis and treatment, some recommendations and lifestyle changes can help you prevent dry skin.

Types of Dry Skin

Dry skin can be caused by exposure to dry weather, hot water, and some chemicals. Medical disorders can also cause dry skin. Dermatitis is a medical word that refers to very dry skin. Dermatitis is classified into numerous categories. Knowing what type of dermatitis you have will help you diagnose and treat dry skin.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs when your skin responds to something it comes into contact with, creating localized irritation.

  • Irritant contact dermatitis can arise when your skin's subjected to an irritating chemical substance, such as bleach.

  • Allergic contact dermatitis can occur when your skin comes into touch with a material to which you are allergic, such as nickel.


Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a set of skin disorders characterized by red, dry, bumpy, and itchy skin patches. Severe forms can cause the breaking of your skin, making you more susceptible to infection. In addition, this common skin problem can worsen with irritants, allergies, and stress.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Dry skin on your scalp might be the consequence of a condition called dandruff in adults or cradle cap in children. Seborrheic dermatitis can also create dry, flaky skin areas on your face, chest, and inner creases of your arms, legs, or genitals. It can also impact your navel, though this is less frequent (belly button). When your body reacts to a typical yeast that develops on your skin, you get this sort of dermatitis.

Athlete's Foot

An athlete's foot looks like dry skin on your feet, but a fungus causes it. This fungus is known as "ringworm" when it develops on your skin. Individuals with athlete's feet may have dry, flaking skin on the soles of their feet.

Dry skin can also be caused by other illnesses, such as psoriasis and type 2 diabetes.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Skin?

Dry skin symptoms include skin that is:

  • Scaling

  • Cracked

  • Tight

  • Rough

  • Itchy

  • Flaking

  • Red to purple, lighter or darker than your natural skin tone

If you have excessively dry skin, a rash might form on your skin. The rash may contain tiny, pimple-like lumps, be painful and inflamed, or be a different color than the surrounding skin, generally red to purple.

What are the Causes of Dry Skin All Over the Body?

Before you know about dry skin diagnosis and treatment, you must learn the causes. A lack of moisture inside your layers causes dry skin. Causes that promote dry skin include:


The moisture-producing oil glands in your skin dry out as you age. This causes your skin's fat and collagen to dry up, resulting in thinner skin. This is a normal aspect of the aging process.


The temperature of your surroundings might impact the moisture of your skin. Dry skin is caused by temperatures that lack humidity, such as desert-like climates or freezing regions with high winds. Dry skin is frequently worse in the winter, although it can occur all year.

Medical Background

If you have a family history of dermatitis, you are more prone to develop these disorders or other allergic diseases.

Bathing Etiquette

Bathing frequently or bathing with hot water increases your chances of developing dry skin.

Genetics & Health Conditions

You may be more susceptible to dry skin if you were born with genes that predispose you to it or if you have a health condition that produces dry skin as a symptom. Diabetes, kidney disease, allergies, and eczema are some of the disorders that cause dry skin.


Some occupations might cause dry skin, particularly if you work outside, with chemicals, or wash your hands regularly. For example, healthcare professionals, hair stylists, and farmers are among those who are more likely to acquire dry skin.

Severe and Chronic Dry Skin (Extremely Dry Skin)

While it is normal for your skin to dry out occasionally, some people may have extremely dry skin. This might cause your skin to become flaky, itchy, or inflamed more frequently than usual, which can be difficult to cure.

What is the Cause of Chronic Dry Skin?

Severe or chronic dry skin can have several causes and risk factors. These are some examples:

  • Medications

  • Increasing age

  • A deficit in vitamins

  • Diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, or renal disease

  • Chemotherapy

  • Anorexia

  • Skin barrier breakdown

How to Diagnose Dry Skin?

Dry skin can be identified by its look. After taking a comprehensive medical history, performing a physical examination, and learning more about your symptoms, your healthcare practitioner will diagnose dry skin.

Based on the intensity of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend testing to rule out health disorders that cause dry skin, such as:

  • Allergy testing to determine which compounds trigger allergic responses.

  • Blood testing to rule out diseases such as diabetes or renal disease.

  • A skin biopsy or tissue sample is taken to be tested for eczema or other skin disorders.

How to Treat Dry Skin?

Dry skin treatment concentrates on rehydrating or adding moisture to your skin. Dry skin treatment options include:

Applying Moisturizers

Most forms of dry skin are treated primarily with Natural oil moisturizers. They smooth and soften dry skin, preventing cracking, and assist in restoring your natural skin barrier. Moisturizing goods include emollients, which soothe and moisturize your skin, and Natural Oils, which enhances moisture in your skin, and are available as ointments, creams, lotions, and oils.

Taking Medication

Your healthcare practitioner may prescribe a topical steroid for excessively dry, itchy skin prone to cracking. Topical steroids work to reduce swelling in your skin, which produces a rash and irritation. Oral or injectable medications may be necessary for extreme situations.

What Do Dermatologists Recommend for Extremely Dry Skin?

Small lifestyle modifications can sometimes help to prevent and treat dry skin. Try to:

  • Avoid bathing or showering with hot water.

  • Takes showers every other day rather than each day

  • Keep your shower time under 10 minutes.

  • When bathing or showering, use a moisturizing soap.

  • After washing or showering, apply moisturizer immediately.

  • Instead of patting, rub your skin and use a soft towel to dry wet skin.

  • Avoid scraping or irritating dry skin spots

  • Install a humidifier in your house.

  • Consume plenty of water.

Selecting the correct moisturizer for your particular skin type is also critical. Go for a petroleum-based moisturizer if your skin is really dry. Throughout the summer, you might try using a lighter, water-based lotion. Lotions containing grapeseed oil and antioxidants can also help your skin retain water.

Why is my Skin so Dry even When I Moisturize?

There might be several reasons why your skin remains dry after applying a lotion or moisturizer, including:

  • Your moisturizer contains chemicals incompatible with your skin type.

  • You're washing your skin too often or with too hot water, which can cause dry skin.

  • You are not adequately hydrating your skin throughout the day.

  • You're applying the incorrect moisturizer on your skin. At night, use a heavy moisturizer, and during the day, apply a mild moisturizer.

  • The moisturizer has gone bad.

  • Your dry skin indicates a more serious problem that requires treatment or control.

If you're having difficulties treating your dry skin, consult your doctor or a dermatologist.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies to Prevent Dry Skin

Now that you know about dry skin diagnosis and treatment, you must learn about lifestyle changes to prevent dry skin. The following steps can assist in keeping your skin moist and healthy:

  • Wash your face gently at least 2 times a day. For your face, use a mild, alcohol-free, non-foaming cleanser twice a day and after sweating. Items containing stearic acid or linoleic acid can aid in skin restoration. If you have sensitive skin, just use a cleanser in the evening and rinse with water for the rest of the day.

  • Apply topical medications while your skin is still damp, wait a few minutes, and then apply your moisturizer. If you use cosmetics, look for items with a cream or oil basis. Even on cloudy and rainy days, use a sunblock moisturizer or sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Use sunscreen and reapply every two hours or more often if swimming or sweating.

  • Use natural oil moisturizer many times a day, particularly when your skin feels dry and immediately after hand washing or bathing when your skin is still wet. You may need to test a few things before you find ones that you like, benefit you, and use regularly.

  • Check for urea, ceramides, fatty acids, glycerol, shea, and cocoa butter. Seek fragrance-free products that do not cause acne and do not include allergens. Avoid items containing drying sodium lauryl sulfate.

  • You might put cream on your face and neck. Pick a product that is simple to apply and leaves no apparent residue. If you have acne, avoid using products like petroleum jelly, shea butter, or Jojoba and sunflower oil on your face. Treatments containing antioxidants or alpha hydroxy acid may help you avoid scaly, flaky skin if you have older skin.

  • Moisturizers are frequently used as the foundation for wrinkle creams, with added antioxidants, Bakochiol peptides, and other compounds.

  • Use a hydrating soap that is free of allergens. Use fragrance-free moisturizing soap for handwashing. When your hands are still damp, apply a moisturizing cream.

  • Use a non-soap cleansing cream or shower gel in the shower or bath, and use soap only in places that require it, including your armpits and groin. Loofahs and pumice stones should be avoided. Thoroughly rinse and pat dry.

  • Make use of a humidifier. Heated, dry indoor air can irritate sensitive skin and exacerbate itching and peeling. A portable humidifier or one linked to your furnace humidifies the air inside your home.

  • Choose clothes that are gentle on your skin. Cotton and other natural fabrics help your skin breathe. Wool, although natural, can irritate even healthy skin.

  • Choose laundry detergents free of colors and scents which might irritate your skin. The term "free" is commonly used in the titles of these items.

  • If itching is caused by dry skin, use a clean, cold, wet towel on the afflicted region. You might also use an anti-itch lotion or ointment with at least hydrocortisone.

  • If these methods do not relieve your symptoms or if they worsen, visit your doctor or a dermatologist for a dry skin diagnosis and treatment session, and develop a specific skin care program based on your skin type and any skin conditions you may have.

Can Dry Skin Cause Acne?

While some believe that acne only occurs when your skin is greasy, this is not true. Acne can also be caused by dry skin since blemishes can appear when the skin is generally damaged.

Consider maintaining your skincare routine as normal while additionally using an acne-prone skin moisturizer twice a day to battle both dry skin and acne outbreaks. Avoid using any chemicals, including rubbing alcohol, since these might further dry out your skin.

How to Choose the Best Products for Dry Skin?

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Dry Skin Diagnosis and Treatment: Let's Reap

If you occasionally have dry skin, you may avoid and cure it with easy lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter moisturizers. However, get an appointment with your doctor if you experience extremely dry skin.

Dermatitis can worsen if left untreated. Early therapy will allow you to feel more at ease sooner. It will also reduce your chances of problems like open wounds from scratching and skin infections.

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