Dry Skin

The skin holds a certain amount of water. This water is needed to keep the skin supple and able to withstand the different types of pressure that it is placed under. The water content of the skin can decrease causing the skin to become dry and sometimes itchy.

Dry skin is obvious - everyone knows what it looks like. It may cause other symptoms, such as scaling, redness and chapping. Dry skin can crack and fissure which can be a portal of entry for an infection to get in (this is particularly important in the foot, due to the warm moist environment of footwear which encourages infection). The skin can be itchy, especially if there is also a fungal infection. Around the heel and if the skin is thicker, cracks in the heel can occur.

Some people just have a skin that is dryer than others - they have a genetic predisposition to just develop dry skin. As people get older, the skin tends to become drier. Long, hot baths and showers also tend to make the skin direr.

If dry skin is scaling and itchy, this may indicate a fungal infection (athletes foot). Psoriasis also causes a dry scaling of the skin. Some medical conditions such as hypothyroidism and diabetes can also predispose to dry skin.