Dry skin is very common. It is estimated that one in three people are plagued with dry skin symptoms at any given time. While the causes of dry skin can vary, they are commonly associated with dry, winter weather, hot showers and allergic reactions to personal care products. Dry itchy patches on skin that result from these factors are usually temporary and easily treatable with lotions and creams. However, if spreading patches are included in your dry skin problems, you might consider a trip to the dermatologist because dry itchy skin patches that spread can be signs of skin conditions that may require treatment.
One of the most common skin conditions that involve mobile dry itchy patches on skin is eczema. From babies to big people, it’s almost as common as a cold. There are many types of eczema, but in the instance of nummular eczema, it involves coin shaped dry itchy patches on skin and is mostly associated with wintertime. Contact dermatitis can also involve a dry patch of skin that spreads because it is caused by an allergic reaction and frequently migrates to cover larger areas.
Sebborheic dermatitis is one of the most common skin condition in adults. It can spread to many areas of the body including the scalp, cheeks and ears and often presents itself as a scaly and red eruption but can also lead to dry, itchy patches on skin.
Treating dry itchy skin from conditions rather than environmental factors can sometimes be done via a trip down drug store lane. Many products are designed with eczema and dermatitis in mind as they have become so commonplace. However, be extremely careful when choosing one because even if the product packaging says “hypoallergenic” or “dermatologist tested”, it could still contain many harmful and reaction-inducing ingredients, such as perfume, lanolin, parabens, formaldehydes, dyes and proteins. Similarly, when opting for organic product options, remember that many people are allergic to plant-based skin products, and many organic items may still contain chemicals. For example, while Aveeno lotions are advertised as being the number 1 dermatologist recommended brand for skin moisturizers, some people may be allergic to oats in them and, hence, not see any improvement in their dry itchy skin.
It’s important that if you have skin symptoms that are spreading that you contact your health care provider. It is likely that over the counter lotions and creams will be less effective if your skin is actually suffering from a condition, rather than simply being dried out from moistureless winter air. It is also important that if you think that your patches are a result of an allergic reaction that you see your health care provider for a skin patch test.