The Causes & Intriguing Cure to Cracked Skin
Covering the 5 major causes and cure![Definitive Edition]
Dry, cracking skin gets the best of all of us sometimes. This why it’s important to properly identify the cause and proper treatment. This article is a general guide and should not superseded your doctor.
Dry Cracking Skin
Cracked skin can happen when your skin barrier is compromised. Usually, it’s a symptom of dry and irritated skin, but there are many possible causes. Your feet, hands, and lips may be especially prone to cracking. However, depending on the cause, dry and cracking skin can develop in other areas, too.
Most causes of skin cracking can be managed with home remedies. But if your cracked skin is severe, or if you have any complications, it’s best to see a doctor. Let’s look at the various causes of cracked skin, along with ways to find relief.
Dry Cracking Skin Statistics
70 percent of the population experiences some degree of dry skin,”Miranda A. Farag” at Frontier Medical. She states “Overall, ~60–70% of women and 50–60% of men report having some degree of sensitive skin. However, there are differences between populations in various geographies, and perceptions of sensitive skin at specific anatomic sites.”
What Causes Dry cracking skin?
Dry skin, or xerosis, is the most common cause of cracked skin. In smooth and hydrated skin, natural oils prevent the skin from drying out by retaining moisture. But if your skin doesn’t have enough oil, it loses no layer exists to keep water in. This makes your skin dry out, shrink and crack.
Dry skin may be caused by:
- Chilly Dry Weather – During colder months, Climate changes, especially cold weather without a lot of
moisture in the air, can cause hands to dry out. Decreased moisture in
the air draws moisture from the skin.
- Your Job – can also cause dry hands. People with jobs that require
extensive handwashing, such as nurses, doctors, or teachers, may notice
- Chemicals – Many products like dish soap and laundry detergent can contain harsh chemicals. These substances can damage your skin’s barrier and cause dryness.
- Hot Water – The hot water from showers or washing dishes can reduce your skin’s moisture.
- Medication – Dry cracking skin could be caused by some drugs, like topical retinoids.
- The Damp – When your skin is wet for extended periods, it can actually cause your skin to become irritated, dry out and crack. This can happen to your feet after wearing sweaty socks for too long. This is because water irritates skin.
Dry cracking skin is common in the elderly population and can cause real trouble for people suffering form other pre-existing conditions. As you age, bits of your DNA change and so does your skin, age-related changes in cutaneous nerve fibers, polypharmacy and other medical conditions all add to the high rate of dry skin in the elderly.
What is Eczema?
Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. Kids are more likely to show symptoms but it can happen at any age. eczema often lasts a lifetime and tends to flare up randomly. It tends to pop up along side related pre-existing conditions like asthma or hay fever.
No cure has been found for Eczema. But treatments and self-care measures can relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks. For example, it helps to avoid harsh soaps, moisturize your skin regularly, and apply medicated creams or ointments.
Eczema can occur anywhere, like the face, hands, and inner arm folds and behind the knees. Remember to go see a doctor before using any over the counter lotions.
The condition makes the skin appear very dry, which can lead to dry cracking skin.
Symptoms of Eczema:
- intense itching
- rough, scaly patches
Adult Eczema Rate
Child Eczema Rate
Eczema affects approximately 35 million Americans: 1-3% of adults, and 10-20% of children respectively. Up to seventy percent of cases start in children younger than 5 years, and about sixty percent of infants who have eczema continue to have one or more symptoms in adulthood
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin disorder that causes skin cells to multiply up to 10 times faster than normal. This makes the skin build up into bumpy red patches covered with white scales. They can grow anywhere, but most appear on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. Psoriasis can’t be passed from person to person. It does sometimes happen in members of the same family.
Psoriasis is a disorder of immune dysfunction. Additionally, as the extra cells build up, the skin becomes scaly. Inflammation also plays a big part.
The rapid accumulation of dead skin cells can lead to dry cracking skin.
Symptoms of Psoriasis:
- red patches
- silvery white scales
- itching, in some cases
These symptoms will develop anywhere, but they often appear on the:
- lower back
What is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Cracked heels are a common symptom and complication of Diabetes. The condition can be a pre courser to diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage brought on by high blood sugar. In diabetic neuropathy, your nerves can’t properly control the skin’s moisture. This can lead to dryness and cracking being first observed on the feet and extemities.
Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy:
- numbness in feet or hands
- pain in feet, legs, or hands
- foot calluses
- ankle weakness
Diabetes patients are susceptible to skin infections. In many cases, dry cracking skin on the feet can be a result of athlete’s foot, or tinea pedi. There are more common causes of dry cracking skin below.
Diabetic Neuropathy Statistics
3.9% of people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with diabetes, and we estimated that 50% have some degree of peripheral neuropathy. In the U.S. the total annual cost of treating DPN and its complications was $10.91 billion, claims the American Diabetes Association.
What is Athlete's Foot?
Another cause of dry cracking skin is Athlete’s foot, which usually causes a scaly red rash. The rash typically
begins in between the toes. Itching is often the worst right after you
take off your shoes and socks.
Some types of athlete’s foot feature blisters or ulcers. The moccasin variety of athlete’s foot causes chronic dryness and scaling on the soles that extends up the side of the foot. It can be mistaken for eczema or dry skin.
The infection can affect one or both feet and can spread to your hand, especially if you scratch or pick at the infected parts of your feet.
Symptoms of Athletes Foot:
Athlete’s foot is common with people who have damp feet, such as swimmers and runners. It’s also common in people with diabetes.
Athletes Foot Statistics
Around 15% to 25% of people are likely to have athlete’s foot at any one time. The infection can spread to other parts of the body and to other people.
What Causes Keratolysis Exfoliativa
Keratolysis exfoliativa causes peeling on the hands and feet. It usually affects the palms, but it can show up on the soles of your feet, too. The skin loses its natural barrier as the top layer peels off. This can lead to dry cracking skin.
Keratolysis exfoliativa is more common during the summer months in about 50% of affected individuals. It may be more common in those with sweaty palms due to localised hyperhidrosis.
The first sign of keratolysis exfoliativa is one or more superficial air-filled blisters on the fingers or palms. The blisters burst to leave expanding collarettes of scale and circular or oval, tender, erythematous peeled areas. These peeled areas lack a normal barrier function and may become dry and cracked. However, they are not generally itchy.
Sometimes on the ends of the fingers, the split in the skin is deeper, in which case the skin feels hard and numb and takes longer to peel off. There can be multiple layers of peeling skin (lamellae).
Eventually normal skin forms, but frequently exfoliative keratolysis recurs within a few weeks.
Symptoms of Keratolysis Exfoliativa:
- air-filled blisters
- dry cracking skin
Keratolysis Exfoliativa Statistics
Home Treatment for dry cracking Skin
There are several different ways that you can treat your cracked skin at home if the condition isn’t too severe. Depending on the cause and location of your cracked skin, you may want to try one of these self-care treatments.
Moisturizing Balm Ointment or Cream
Since dry skin can cause or worsen cracking, it’s important to keep your skin well hydrated. You can do this by frequently applying moisturizer. Try to use ointments and creams.
These products tend to be more effective because they have the ability to help your skin retain moisture. You may want to consider the following Hawk Tools offerings that can be especially helpful for treating dry cracking skin:
You can also try products with ingredients like:
Reapply the moisturizer as needed, including immediately after bathing. Focus on the driest parts of your body.
Mild cases of cracked skin can be treated at home. But if your cracked skin doesn’t get better after 2 weeks of treatment, or if it gets worse, be sure to see your doctor.
It’s important to seek medical attention if you have cracked skin that’s:
- filled with pus
- becoming redder or more irritated
- intensely itchy
- accompanied with a fever
In many cases, cracked skin is caused by skin that’s extremely dry, inflamed, or irritated. This happens when your skin loses so much moisture that it breaks down. Unfortunately, most people develop cracked skin on their feet, hands, and lips, but it can affect any part of your body.
You can usually treat cracked skin with remedies like Sani-Balm, Anti-Fungal creme, and liquid bandages. But if the cracking doesn’t get better, or if you have signs of an infection, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. Hold on, before you see the doc, let us know what ails you below!
6 Tips for those with dry skin
Turn down the thermostat! Hot air tends to be drier than cooler air is.
Use a humidifier. Humidifiers can help. The problem is that moisture may be soaked up in walls and furniture or disperse rapidly, depending on how airtight your home is.
Take warm, not hot, baths and showers. Hot water washes away the fatty substances in the skin that help it retain water. Some doctors recommend bath oils. You can also use bath oil as a post-bath moisturizer by rubbing yourself down with a teaspoon of it in a couple cups of warm water.
Use a mild soap. Dove is a familiar brand. Cleansers like Cetaphil are an alternative to soap.
Wear loose clothing. Clothing that binds and rubs can dry out skin.
Stay protected. Cold, windy air is very drying, so bundle up and wear warm mittens or gloves to protect your hands.