Dry skin may be mimicked by a genetic condition called ichthyosis. There are many types of ichthyosis. Ichthyosis vulgaris is the most common type and is a severe dry skin condition, often on the front of the lower legs. This is not really dry skin, but rather scaly skin caused by the failure of old skin to slough propperly. Ichthyosis vulgaris causes dry, fishlike scales. This type of ichthyosis tends to run in families. Dry skin is also more common in atopic dermatitis, which is thought to have a genetic component.
Do any medications cause dry skin?
Medications for high blood pressure (such as diuretics), cholesterol-lowering drugs, and acne (such as retinoids like Retin A) have the potential to dry out the skin.
What medical conditions cause dry skin?
Certain physiological changes and medical conditions such as hormonal changes, as seen in menopausal women may also play a role in causing dry skin. Each year that we age our pH increases making it more alkaline, causing our skin to become drier and drier. In some cases, individuals who have medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, or malnutrition (for example, deficiency of vitamin A) may suffer from xerosis.
In addition, the following medical conditions may also cause dry skin:
What is the treatment for dry skin?
The best treatment for dry skin is a two-prong approach; daily lubrication with a mildly acidic emollient high in fatty acids that replaces lost lipids and identifying and treating any internal causes.