What is it?
Dry, scaly skin is very
common in the Michigan area. If our hands become excessively dry or
irritated, we frequently reach for an appropriate lotion, salve, or
oil. However, for some reason, we often neglect the same needs of
our feet and legs. Dry skin might well be an indication of an
underlying process such as a thyroid condition, vitamin deficiency
or localized dermatological problem. In addition, the overall
dryness might be subsequent to humidity fluctuations during seasonal
changes. Most often, the winter months are notorious for causing dry
skin and the site of scaly cracked and fissured skin on the foot is
often the heel area first and then the arch area. It is true that in
most cases, dry skin by itself will be no more than a temporary
annoyance but there is the possibility of more serious complications
including ulcers and infections from breaks in the skin.
Why do you treat it?
A persistent dry
skin condition that is not treated will often lead to fissuring or
painful open cracks in the surface. These are common around the rims
and back segments of the heel as well as on the fingers and toes. If
neglected, these resultant skin fissures can become infected and
require more extensive therapy. Anyone who has had a deep fissure on
the heel knows only too well how painfully annoying these problems
can be. Another potential complication of dry skin is ulceration
particularly in the aged or geriatric individual. In this case, the
normal skin defense against irritation, infection, and break down is
depleted resulting in a subsequent change in the capacity to heal.
Bedsores, friction blisters and certain foot ulcers are frequently
the unfortunate complications of unattended dry skin conditions.
How do you treat it?
The treatment of
dry skin should be obviously to replace the necessary hydration and
water content of the skin. Frequent applications of appropriate skin
lotions and creams along with proper house or room humidification
are essential in the treatment and prevention of dry skin.
Professional care should be sought if the condition progresses, is
persistent or becomes complicated. Dry skin is apparently one of
those conditions, which are here to stay, but with a little
understanding, appreciation, and attention, it can readily become
nothing more then a temporary annoyance.