Dry Skin – Causes, Treatment

Dry skin

Dry skin is not inherently diseased. However, since it is extremely sensitive to various environmental influences, dry skin tends to become irritated. Those who suffer from it can do a lot themselves to properly care for dry skin.

What is dry skin?

Dry skin is dull, often rough and brittle. Redness , an unpleasant feeling of tension or itching often occur. Sometimes scales or small cracks form .

Dry skin does not produce enough of the skin’s own fats. Due to the acute lack of fat, dry skin constantly loses moisture and is therefore insufficiently protected.

The side effects of dry skin are extremely uncomfortable. Because it is constantly itchy, dry skin is often scratched. The resulting wounds can lead to skin infections and further damage the dry skin.


Dry skin can have many different causes. First of all, the skin type is hereditary. In addition, the skin tends to become dry with age because sebum production decreases. That is why many older people suffer from dry skin.

General health and hormone levels also affect the skin. For example, taking birth control pills can cause dry skin in some women. Some medications also promote the development of dry skin. These include preparations that have a draining effect. Skin diseases such as neurodermatitis or psoriasis are also among the causes of dry skin. Allergy sufferers also often suffer from dry skin.

In addition to these internal factors, environmental influences and care errors are usually responsible for skin that is too dry. Air-conditioned rooms, strong temperature fluctuations, extensive sunbathing and frequent washing with cleaning agents that irritate the skin all contribute to the development of dry skin.

diseases with this symptom


Dry skin does not produce enough of the skin’s own fats. Normally, the horny layer of the skin stores water. Protective lipids on the skin’s surface prevent this water from evaporating. Frequent washing and other environmental influences attack this protective layer of the skin.

When the hydrolipid layer cannot regenerate, water is lost through the skin. As a result, the skin dries out.

Dry skin is sensitive to the effects of the weather and tends to redness, inflammation and broken capillaries. In addition, dry skin tends to form wrinkles. In pronounced cases, dry skin takes on an appearance reminiscent of parchment.


Dry skin can have a variety of causes, which are associated with various complications. For example, neurodermatitis causes an inadequate skin barrier, so that other pathogens can penetrate and infect the body, which worsens the symptoms. In addition to typical bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, fungi can also infect the skin.

In itself, neurodermatitis only causes itching and dry skin, but this can represent a great psychological burden for those affected, so that they can develop depression, which in the worst case ends in suicide. Psoriasis takes a similar course to neurodermatitis. Both skin diseases can take a chronic course and thus worsen the psychological symptoms.

In general, dry skin can also be caused by increased excretion of fluids, as is the case with diabetes. The consequences of diabetes are numerous. The sugar that accumulates in the blood can eventually clog the small vessels, especially in the retina and kidneys, and thus lead to a lack of blood flow.

In the eye, this can range from poor eyesight to blindness ( diabetic retinopathy ), while progressive failure develops in the kidneys (diabetic nephropathy). Nerve damage and injuries also lead to ulcers on the foot, so that in the worst case it can lead to amputation .

When should you go to the doctor?

Of course, brittle and dry skin is not always a clinical picture that absolutely needs to be treated by a doctor. Affected people who suffer from dry skin can of course also resort to their own measures that contribute to regeneration of the skin. Moisturizing creams or ointments can treat dry skin effectively and quickly.

However, if these remedies are ineffective, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Anyone who avoids visiting the doctor at this point is taking a very large risk. Under certain circumstances, dry skin areas can cause so-called cracks. A fissure is a small but deep skin tear that can no longer heal itself. A visit to the dermatologist or family doctor is essential in such a case. Anyone who seeks medical treatment early on with a deep skin tear has a very good chance of a full and speedy recovery.

The healing of a crack can be stimulated with appropriate medication. However, if you leave such a crack completely untreated, you run the risk of a dangerous infection. Bacteria can ideally nest and multiply in such a skin tear. This can lead to severe inflammation that urgently requires treatment. This is the only way to avoid serious consequential damage or to treat it appropriately.

Treatment & Therapy

Dry skin requires intensive care to compensate for the lack of oil and moisture. The most important measure to treat dry skin is to limit soap washing. Alkaline soaps remove fats from the skin, which it urgently needs for its own protection. When caring for dry skin, it is important to regenerate and maintain the skin’s protective film.

Cleaning with lukewarm water is often sufficient. Hot water is not good for dry skin. Only mild detergents should be used to clean the skin. Acidic soaps, cleaning lotions with moisturizing substances or pure vegetable oil soaps are best suited.

But even gentle washing removes fat from the skin. Regular moisturizing is therefore indicated for dry skin. Ointments and creams with a high proportion of vegetable lipids are best suited for this. Vegetable oils such as almond, avocado or olive oil also care for dry skin.

To relieve itching and soothe dry skin, care products with anti-inflammatory active ingredients such as chamomile extract or allantoin can be used. Products that contain urea or glycerin effectively balance the moisture balance of dry skin.

Washing the face with buttermilk or sweet cream and taking capsules with wheat germ oil or cod liver oil are recommended as home remedies. Drinking a glass of carrot juice every day is said to work wonders on dry skin.


A healthy lifestyle is the best protection against dry skin. Sufficient sleep and a balanced diet are the best basis for healthy skin. Drinking plenty of mineral water every day is also good for the skin.

Solariums, longer stays in the blazing sun and extensive sunbathing are just as dangerous to the skin as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption . Walks in rainy weather and fog, on the other hand, are balm for dry skin.

↳ Further information: Home remedies for dry skin

You can do that yourself

Dry skin can be counteracted by certain factors. Showering too often or extensive bathing only dries out the skin unnecessarily. Therefore, you should not shower more than once a day. If you like to bathe, you should not do this more than twice a week. The right temperature is also relevant. When showering, the water temperature should not exceed 36 degrees Celsius. A bathtub should not be hotter than 39 degrees Celsius. If these temperatures are exceeded, additional fat is extracted from the skin, which leads to dryness.

Oil can be added to the bath to moisturize and moisturize the skin. The use of suitable care products is also important. Soaps from the drugstore are usually very alkaline and do not correspond to the natural pH value of the skin. When purchasing shower gels, care should be taken to ensure that the pH value is adapted to the skin.

Dry off gently after showering and do not rub too hard, especially on irritated areas of skin. Anyone who tends to have dry facial skin should avoid using cleaning products that contain alcohol. Facial tonics and scrubs should also be used sparingly. These can dry out the skin even further.

So that the skin does not become too dry, it is advisable to drink enough liquid every day . Water and tea are particularly good for meeting your fluid needs. Especially in winter, the skin is very stressed by the dry heating air. Regular airing ensures good humidity. Furthermore, humidifiers and green plants can ensure a better climate in rooms.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.