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Dry Skin Might Be A Sign Of Diabetes, Vitamin Deficiencies And More..

dry skin

Dry skin is quite common especially during winters. It is an uncomfortable skin condition which is characterized by itching, scaling and cracking skin. Exposure to dry weather can cause your skin to dry out. Other factors that can cause dry skin include low temperatures and humidity levels, use of heaters and fireplaces, lack of hydration, harsh soap and products, or hot baths or showers. However, it can also be a sign of an underlying skin condition. Here are some of the common medical conditions that cause dry skin.

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5 Common Causes Of Dry Skin

1. Dehydration: It is a condition in which the body loses more fluid than you drink thereby affecting the fluid balance. As water is lost from the body, the skin tends to become dry. When too much water is lost, the organs, the tissues, and the cells fail to function properly. Other common symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, increased thirst, decreased urination, sleepiness, and dark urine. Rehydrating yourself by drinking loads of fluid can not only manage dry skin but also prevent severe consequences caused due to dehydration.

2. Vitamin Deficiencies: The role of nutrition for skin care cannot be underestimated. Studies[1] have revealed that a diet rich in vitamins and minerals can keep the skin supple and healthy. Lack of nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, can make the skin dry and increase the risk of skin problems such as eczema.

Vitamin A is essential for the development and repair of skin cells, whereas Vitamin D improves immunity and promotes wound healing. Vitamin C prevents oxidative damage of the skin and improves skin hydration and VItamin E protects against inflammation and prevents premature aging of the skin. Lack of any of these vitamins can cause dry skin and skin damage. Excessive dryness of the skin can cause eczema which leads to redness, cracking and inflammation of the skin.

3. Diabetes: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, diabetes can affect different parts of the body, including the skin. If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to have dry skin, which may be a sign of high blood glucose level. Moreover, diabetes can also cause skin darkening, especially in the neck region, blisters, skin tags, open sores, and wounds. Diabetes, if left untreated, can also increase your risk of skin infections.

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4. Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a condition that causes low levels of thyroid hormones. Although fatigue and increased sensitivity to cold are some of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism, it can also cause dry and itchy skin. This is because low levels of thyroid hormone in the blood impair the metabolism. Due to slowed metabolism, the skin becomes pale and dry. Moreover, the lack of moisture causes the skin to become flaky and itchy over time.

5. Psoriasis: It is an autoimmune condition that causes overproduction of skin cells. A chronic skin condition, psoriasis causes the skin to become inflamed and red leading to serious itching. Moreover, the buildup of dead skin cells gives a silvery-white appearance known as scaly skin.  Dry skin and red, raised, inflamed patches of skin are one of the first symptoms of psoriasis. Dry skin that leads to cracks and bleeding or feeling burning and itching sensation around the patches is a sign to consult a dermatologist.

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Dry skin may not always be due to changes in weather or use of harsh, chemical-laden products. So if you have a sudden onset of dry and itchy skin or if you are suffering from dry skin for a long time, do consult a doctor to know the exact cause of the condition.

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)

Recommended Reads:

5 Simple Skin Care Tips For Dry Skin In Winter

How To Have Perfect Skin By Dr. Jaishree Sharad (MD Dermatology)

References:

1. Park K. Role of micronutrients in skin health and function. Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2015 May;23(3):207-17.

2. Diabetes warning signs.  American Academy of Dermatology.

3. Safer JD. Thyroid hormone action on skin. Dermatoendocrinol. 2011 Jul;3(3):211-5.

4. Lowes MA, Suárez-Fariñas M, Krueger JG. Immunology of psoriasis. Annu Rev Immunol. 2014;32:227-55.

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