Dry, Drier, And Driest
Dry skin plagues most people at some point. Low humidity and cold temperatures in winter months can seemingly draw all moisture from exposed skin. Repeated hand-washing, such as healthcare professionals often perform, can cause rough, dry, irritated skin. Hot water and harsh, drying soaps or cleaning products can leave reddened, scaly skin. Thankfully, some simple treatment options, including dermatology compounding, can help.
Diagnosing the problem
A dermatologist will examine the skin and take a history of when the problem started. Information on when symptoms worsen or improve may also be helpful. Tests may be done if there is concern dry skin is related to a medical condition such as underactive thyroid. Whatever the problem, dry skin can be treated whether with simple lifestyle changes or a patient-specific medication.
Treatment 1: Home remedies
Dermatologists generally advise patients to avoid hot, soaking baths and drying soaps. Wearing gloves when doing activities that draw moisture out of the skin and clothing made of natural fibers may help. Using detergents, fabric softeners, and soaps that are dye- and scent-free is also important. Over-the-counter treatment with moisturizers containing lactic acid and urea may be the first line of defense.
Treatment 2: Medical intervention
If further intervention is necessary, an over-the-counter or prescription corticosteroid cream may be used. Corticosteroids help to soothe irritated skin, relieving itchiness and swelling, if present. Corticosteroids are generally used in conjunction with moisturizers but should always be applied before moisturizing.
Treatment 3: A compounded solution
Dermatology compounds are used as a treatment for many skin conditions, including acne, psoriasis, and dry skin. Compounded dermatological treatments can increase moisture content by adding silicones that also soothe dry, irritated skin. Urea, which increases the water-holding capacity of the skin, may be included. Different oils high in fatty acids and lipids are often added. Lipids help restore the skinís barrier, preventing continued water loss. The benefit of dermatology compounding is that patients can get unique formulas individually formulated with all of the helpful ingredients and none of the harmful ones.
Don’t scratch that itch
With dry skin, itching is a common problem. Scratching the itch provides only temporary relief, if at all, and can worsen the problem. Repetitive rubbing and scratching can cause the skin to become thick and rough, eventually leading to painful cracks. Dermatitis, an irritation of the skin, can develop, or bacteria may even enter the cracked skin causing an infection.
Long-term problem, long-term solution
People troubled with dry skin often struggle year after year. A dermatological compounding treatment could very well be the answer. Avoiding drying activities and products along with a compounded cream or ointment will likely result in soft, supple skin. For more information about treatments for dry skin, speak with a dermatologist.