Dry and Flaky Skin
Improve Moisturization and Hydration in Fruitland, Idaho
There are many reasons a person may deal with dry and flaky skin. At Fruitland, Idaho’s CT Derm, Dr. Carl Thornfeldt and his trained nurse practitioners work with each patient as a unique individual to determine the underlying cause of this problem. Dr. Carl is always asking himself what the skin is trying to tell us, since about 80 percent of all skin diseases are related to internal problems. Possible triggers for dry and flaky skin include contact with irritants or allergens; infections from fungi, yeast, or bacteria; or long-term medical conditions. Fish scale flaking and peeling that resists moisturizers are characteristic of icthyoses. Gland abnormalities such as thyroid deficiency, excess thinning of skin from being elderly, or suffering from auto-immune diseases like lupus usually cause dry, flaky, and rough skin.
The treatment approach to dry and flaky skin is to relieve any discomfort, itching, or burning; smooth the rough skin; and correct the source of the problem by investigating to determine the causes.
What Causes Dry and Flaky Skin?
There are numerous reasons a person develops dry and flaky skin, known as xerosis. Some are mentioned above. Dr. Thornfeldt and his nurse practitioners Brittany Irons and Jeanna Rendo will explore each patient’s medical history with a thorough examination. Additional possible causes of dry and flaky skin include:
Changes in the weather—including humidity, wind, temperature shifts, air pollution levels, and duration of daylight—all wreak havoc on skin cells and skin layers. This results in inadequate cell division or maturation, so the protective skin barrier is not repaired. Nor does it reach optimum thickness.
It may seem counterintuitive, but prolonged exposure to water can lead to dry and flaky skin by separating skin cells and hot water can strip away protective oils, damaging the skin barrier. Frequent hand-washing and use of hand sanitizers can cause severe dryness that evolves into dermatitis, with redness and cracking of the skin. Long, hot baths or showers daily or more frequently, especially in the elderly, will also trigger dry and flaky skin. Using a highly fragranced soap like bubble bath can also induce this skin damage. The most damaging are exfoliants like high concentrations of hydroxyl acids, vitamin A or C containing products, fragrances, preservatives, formaldehyde in fabric softeners, detergents, and solvents.
Chlorine in pools and spas can induce dry and flaky skin, as well as roughness. Workplace cutting oils, cleansers, gasoline, and cement can produce not only scaling and flaking, but also a full-blown itchy or painful red dermatitis due to allergy or irritation. These are difficult to treat, but are curable.
High glycemic diets with sugars, starch, caffeine, and alcohol damage skin cells, make skin brittle, and increase inflammation of any cause, often seen as dry and flaky skin.
Emollient soaps and shampoos like glycerin-containing ones such as Epionce and Neutrogena are good for your skin. Harsh and abrasive products to “remove dead cells” tear the skin while removing hydrating oils and sweat, which provide natural moisturizing factors for the skin barrier and normal hydration. Astringents also damage skin layers. This results in dry and flaky skin.
Dry and flaky skin with roughness can be the initial skin abnormality signaling the onset of a medical condition such as dermatitis, psoriasis, certain infections, or gland malfunctioning. Physical and emotional stress prevent or slow down repair of damage, which initially look like dry and scaly skin. Sleep disturbances and intense exercise also inhibit skin repair. Mild to moderate exercise improves healing of disrupted skin by increasing blood flow and nutrients to cells.
Are There Recommended Moisturizers to Help with Dry and Flaky Skin?
Moisturizers increase water in the skin, but too much can damage the skin barrier, as mentioned above. Moisturizers do not improve skin barrier function. Epionce is the only skincare line on the market to contain all three of the key barrier oils in the proper ratios and barrier proteins that accelerate repair of the damaged skin barrier and maximize its function. Clinical studies proved Epionce to be more than twice as effective in repairing the skin barrier than the next most potent, which is Vaseline. Evidence also found that after using Epionce twice daily for four days, there was continual benefit for an additional 10 more days to a greater degree than a prescription lactate-containing product.
Glycerin followed by Vaseline applied to dry and flaky skin is the lowest-cost barrier repair strategy. If you have severely dry and flaky skin, but without itching or pain, it is best to apply urea-containing Carmol 20 or Ureacin 20 or ammoniated lactate in Amlactin XL or salicylic acid in Keralyt Cream. Follow this with Vaseline or midchain triglyceride (KCT) oil for best results.
Bathing and showering should be brief and avoid hot water, ideally only every other day. Use a hydrating soap containing good oils like Epionce cleansers or glycerol- or oil-containing ones. Do not rub on wet skin after bathing, but brush off excess water or pat dry. Then apply the barrier-repairing oil, protein, and water-containing creams to moisturize dry and flaky skin.