Symptoms of dry skin
Initially, when the skin first begins to lose moisture, it feels:
Symptoms of very dry skin
If the dryness is not treated, and the skin loses further moisture, it becomes:
- Very tight
Symptoms of rough and cracked skin
Certain areas of the body − particularly hands, feet, elbows and knees − are prone to:
- Extreme tightness
- Extreme roughness
- Skin cracks or fissures
- Intense itching
Dry skin can also be related to certain diseases
Xerosis is the medical term for dry skin. It comes from Greek; ‘Xero’, means ‘dry’, and ‘osis’ means ‘disease’.
Keratosis Pilaris (sometimes referred to as ‘chicken skin’) is a common condition linked to dry skin. It is caused when too much keratin builds up in the skin’s hair follicles. Areas of affected skin – most commonly found on the back of the upper arms – are covered with lots of small white or slightly red spots, and skin feels rough and uneven.
Atopic Dermatitis and Psoriasis are also linked to dryness. Both these conditions are genetic and can present other symptoms such as inflammation and intensive itchiness.
Metabolic conditions such as Diabetes and kidney diseases can also affect skin moisture content and may be accompanied by severe skin dryness.
The relation between dry, sensitive and hypersensitive
Dry skin is usually sensitive, and may become irritated when in contact with harsh detergents, soaps or unsuitable cosmetic products. When the skin’s barrier function is disturbed, allergens, irritants, pollutants and microorganism can penetrate the skin more easily.
It is important to avoid skincare products that contain irritating ingredients such as perfumes and colourants. Always check that the product has been dermatologically tested on sensitive skin. Read more about sensitive skin in general or specifically on the face or body.
Hypersensitive skin is a severe form of sensitive skin. It reacts quickly and strongly to triggers that are usually well tolerated by normal skin. These triggers include environmental factors (such as extreme temperature changes and atmospheric pollution), psychological factors (such as stress) and external factors (including spicy food, alcohol, detergents and inappropriate skincare products). Contact results in unpleasant skin sensations such as stinging, itching or burning. To manage hypersensitive skin, sufferers need to minimise exposure to known triggers and follow a special, active skin care routine to increase skin tolerance, reduce irritation and restore skin comfort. Read more about hypersensitive skin in general or hypersensitive facial skin.