Dry skin rashes can be caused by a variety of internal and external problems. Luckily for sufferers of itchy dry skin, there are many at home treatments that can be used to alleviate the problem. Sometimes the solution is as simple as re-hydrating, but severe dry skin sometimes warrants a visit to the dermatologist for prescription-strength treatments.
Dry Skin Symptoms
Dry skin can manifest itself with a few different symptoms, including redness, scaling, ashy tone, flaking, a tight feeling and itching. An individual might not even realize that the problem they are experiencing is simply due to dry skin, since the symptoms can appear to stem from a much more complex problem.
Internal Causes of Dry Skin Rashes
Dry skin is caused by both internal and external factors. Internally, skin naturally loses elasticity, suppleness, water retention and oil production during the aging process. From the mid thirties onward, dry skin is a common skin care complaint. Diet can also influence dry skin, since refined sugars tend to break down the skin's natural collagen and barriers (which influence moisture and suppleness of skin).
External Causes of Dry Skin Rashes
Externally, dry skin and the resulting rashes can be caused by exposure to household cleaners and chemicals, dry temperatures, over-bathing and skin allergies to particular clothing or bedding. Summer is notorious for causing dry skin due to the hot temperature, indoor air conditioning that zaps skin's moisture and repeated exposure to chlorine swimming pools. Dry skin rashes can also be caused by using skin care products and cleansers that are poorly suited to the person's skin type and pH balance.
Internal Treatment for Dry Skin Rashes
The most important way to treat dry skin internally is to always stay hydrated. Drinking a minimum of eight glasses of water per day (purified water, if possible) will help skin retain the moisture it needs to stay healthy and hydrated, reducing the occurrence of itchy, dry skin rashes.
After hydration, diet is the second critical way to treat dry skin and rashes. Rashes are often caused by food allergies, which can be controlled through eliminating the food that causes the reaction. An allergy blood test at a physician's office can pinpoint rash-causing foods, although keeping a food journal that catalogs all meals and subsequent skin reactions is a budget-friendly way to identify food allergens.
If food allergies are not the issue, dry skin rashes can be alleviated by consuming inflammation reducing foods such as chamomile and green tea, green cabbage, green tea, wheat grass and spinach.
External Treatment for Dry Skin Rashes
The easiest way to eliminate dry skin rashes is to avoid contact with harsh chemicals in cleaning products (wear thick gloves while cleaning) and swimming pools (try to avoid swimming in chlorine pools, though saline pools are okay). If air conditioning is creating itchy dry skin, use a humidifier in the house during the day while the air conditioner is running to introduce more moisture into the air.
Also, do not bathe more than once a day, and never bathe in very hot water. Hot water zaps the moisture from skin and makes it prone to inflammation, redness and a dry, itchy feeling. When bathing, use a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil that will not irritate skin. After bathing, immediately slather on a heavy moisturizing cream all over the body. Choose moisturizers with no fragrance, minimal chemicals and additives, and oatmeal. Oatmeal is a great curative element for dry, rashy skin, and it can also be added to baths to help soothe itchiness and restore moisture.
If dry skin rashes persist despite using the home remedies and treatments discussed in this article, visiting a dermatologist is a must. Dry skin rashes can be a result of psoriasis, eczema or rosacea, which can be difficult to treat at home and require the care and recommendations of a qualified doctor. For these more serious skin issues, prescription medication may be required to calm the dryness or rash.