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Should You Ever Seek Medical Advice For Dry Skin?

Aug 17, 2007
Dry skin can be itchy and irritating and it can be an absolute nightmare to get rid of! Most of the time it can be treated, however is there ever a time when you should worry about the condition and seek medical advice?

Dry Skin and the Symptoms Which Should be Seen as a Warning:

Dry skin is quite a common skin condition these days and most people end up with it at some time in their lives. There are a number of causes including the use of harsh products, bathing in hot water, and environmental factors, but usually it does go away eventually after treatment.

However, the time to worry and seek medical advice comes when either:

The dryness and the itching keeps you up at night and you find it increasingly difficult to sleep

The dryness does not disappear after several weeks of treatment

The condition has turned into an open sore or it is leaking

If you have overly large amounts of peeling skin

There are several conditions which can cause dry skin and some of them are more serious than others. If you do notice any of the above symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately.

More Serious Dry Skin Conditions

If you do notice some of the symptoms listed earlier, you could have a more severe form of dry skin. Most dry skin conditions are normal and they clear up over time, however, there are some more serious forms which can be a nightmare to get rid of!

Lamellar Ichthyosis

This is one of the worst dry skin conditions and it is usually already present from the moment you are born. Unfortunately the condition usually lasts all the way through adult life and children, who are born with the condition, are born in a filmy type membrane which sheds after around ten to fourteen days.

Once the membrane sheds, the child is left with severely scaly skin, and the scales are usually either really fine and white, or thick and dark colored. The scales cover the entire body and they can appear to be larger on the legs.

Both children and adults who suffer from this condition find it to be a really psychologically damaging condition and it often severely affects their everyday life.

Ichthyosis Vulgaris

This condition appears when your skin cells do not shed as they normally would. It is often otherwise referred to as Fish Skin Disease and the cells tend to accumulate into dry, thick scales. Appearance wise, the cells are fairly small and they are often a white or a brown color. It is more common to find the condition on the lower legs, and it is often worse on the shins.

As well as the scales, this condition can also cause the scalp to be flaky, and it can also cause quite deep fissures on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. If you are born with the condition you usually have normal looking skin and it does not become apparent until the first few years of your life. It is possible for the condition to temporarily disappear as you reach adulthood, however it does tend to reappear with age.

Overall most dry skin is normal and it is a pain to get rid of. However, there are times when the body is trying to warn us of more serious, underlying problems. Diabetes often causes dry skin and it is in fact one of the first symptoms to appear with the condition. So seeking medical advice whenever you are unsure about your dry skin problem is absolutely essential. You can never be too safe!
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