Last reviewed by Editorial Team on August 13th, 2018.
What does Scaly skin mean?
This is a symptom of dry skin and is very common. It can happen on any area of your body but is mostly found on your arms, thighs, lower legs, face, legs, eyelids, feet, back, under eyes, ankle, elbow, toes. Anyone can have scaly skin but it is a skin condition that is most likely to happen to older adults or with those who already have dry skin.
Symptoms of Scaly skin
The symptoms that a person might experience with scaly skin depend on what is causing this problem in the first place. Some of the typical symptoms that can occur with scaly skin that are related to dry skin can include:
- The redness of your skin increases
- Having the feeling of itchiness
- Developing cracks in your skin
Scaly skin Causes
There are many different things that can cause a person to have scaly skin. The causes could be environment, a natural process, your lifestyle, washing habits, etc. One of the most common reasons for a person to have scaly skin is having a rash which can come from having a bacteria or fungal infection. Yeast infections can also cause scaly skin.
Natural causes of having scaly skin
- Normal aging
- Living in a dry climate
- Indoor heating, especially if you have electric heat such as an electric furnace
Habitual causes of having scaly skin
This means a person having certain lifestyle or hygiene habits.
- Showering or bathing too often
- Using hot water to shower or bath instead of using warm water
- When showering or bathing using an excessive amount of soap
- Not drinking enough water
Inflammatory causes of having scaly skin
With skin inflammation or dermatitis there are a number of causes such as:
- Contact dermatitis
- Seborrheic dermatitis which is cradle cap in babies or dandruff
- Atopic dermatitis
Infectious causes of having scaly skin
There are instances in which you could have an infection of the skin that can produce patches of scaly skin or a rash which can include:
- Fungal infections that can include ringworm, athlete’s foot, jock itch
- Bacterial infections that can include impetigo
Before you can start treatment you need to find out just what is causing you to have scaly skin. To find out the cause you should visit a dermatologist. If the cause is not having enough moisture in your skin then you will need to re-hydrate your skin by drinking a lot of water every day. You should have at least eight to ten glasses of water a day, more if you are doing exercises that cause you to sweat a lot, working in the hot sun, etc. In addition to drinking a lot of water you can use shea butter or cocoa butter products on your skin.
If the cause is from a fungal infection you will first need to get rid of the fungal infection. Treatments for fungal infections depend on what is causing the fungal infection. When a person has a fungal infection they will often leave a layer of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. To get rid of these excessive dead skin cells you need to exfoliate your skin at least one time during the week. Doing this will help to generate new skin cells also which will help to restore your skin to its original condition. When exfoliating use a facial or body scrub on the scaly skin patches two or three times each week.
One way to get rid of dry scaly skin is to rub a little bit of olive oil on to the areas. You can also rub some hydrocortisone cream onto the scaly patches of your skin. You should do either of these treatments every day. When you go out in the sun make sure that you are wearing protective sunscreen. You should not lay out in the sun and sunbathe as this can make your scaly skin worse.
When taking a shower or bath use warm water and limit your time in the bath or shower to fifteen minutes. You should also avoid taking multiple showers or baths a day. Use a moisturizing soap like Neutrogena or Dove. When you get out of your bath or shower do not scrub your body dry but pat your skin and then apply moisturizer cream all over your body. If you do not have time to do this mix fifteen to twenty drops of olive oil and three fourths cup of warm water. Pour the mixture over your wet skin, wait a few seconds, then get out and pat your skin dry. By doing this you have moisturized your whole body.
Make sure that you are not using any skin care products that contain harsh chemicals as they could make your scaly skin worse. If the cause of your scaly skin is environment you should make sure that your body is getting enough Vitamin E which you can get from foods or take as a supplement. To make sure that there is enough moisture in the air in your home you should use a humidifier, especially during the winter months. Make sure that you are eating a healthy diet that includes foods that are rich in vitamins E, A, and B to nourish your body from the inside out to help keep the scaly skin away.