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Dry Skin

What is it?

Dry, scaly skin is about as common as the cold and is often treated with less vigor. If our hands become excessively dry or irritated, we frequently reach for an appropriate lotion, salve, or oil. However, for some reason, we often neglect the same needs of our feet and legs. Dry skin might well be an indication of an underlying process such as a thyroid condition, vitamin deficiency, or a localized dermatological problem. In addition, the overall dryness might be subsequent to humidity fluctuations during seasonal changes. Most often, the winter months are notorious for causing dry skin and the site of scaly, cracked, and fissured fingers with dry feet are quite common during this period. It is true that in most cases, dry skin by itself will be no more than a temporary annoyance but there is the possibility of more serious complications.

Why do you treat it?

A persistent dry skin condition that is not treated will often lead to fissuring or painful open cracks in the surface. These are common around the rims and back segments of the heel as well as on the fingers and toes. If neglected, these resultant skin fissures can become infected and require more extensive therapy. Anyone who has had a deep fissure on the heel knows only too well how painfully annoying these problems can be. Another potential complication of dry skin is ulceration particularly in the aged or geriatric individual. In this case, the normal skin defense against irritation, infection, and break down is depleted resulting in a subsequent change in the capacity to heal. Bedsores, friction blisters, and certain foot ulcers are frequently the unfortunate complications of unattended dry skin conditions.

How do you treat it?

The treatment of dry skin should be obviously to replace the necessary water content of the skin. Frequent applications of appropriate skin lotions and creams along with proper house or room humidification are essential in the treatment and prevention of dry skin. Professional care should be sought if the condition progresses, is persistent, or becomes complicated. Dry skin is apparently one of those conditions, which is here to stay, but with a little understanding, appreciation, and attention, it can readily become nothing more then a temporary annoyance.

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