Effective Treatments for Dehydrated, Flaky, and Irritated Skin in Albuquerque
Let's face it: We live in New Mexico—the desert. Our local climate contributes to a common complaint among women and men: dull, dry skin. In Albuquerque, it's not unusual to see skin with red, rough, and itchy patches on areas of our bodies that are most exposed to the air and sun, along with fine lines and a sensation of tightness.
The secret to beautiful skin is keeping it moisturized. More than half of your skin is made up of water, and when it's well-hydrated, it's plump, soft, radiant, and youthful looking. On the other hand, when the skin has a buildup of dry, dead skin on the outer surface, you can get a sallow, aged, and unhealthy appearance. Having dry skin also makes it more difficult for topical products to be effective, and makes wrinkles look more prominent, while also causing acne breakouts to be more likely. Professional treatments are available for chronic or severe dry skin from our Albuquerque-based team to help patients soothe their skin.
What Causes Dry Skin?
Skin that is extremely dry is known by the medical term “xerosis,” while skin inflammation is referred to as “dermatitis.” Dry skin occurs when the skin layers aren't holding onto enough moisture, which can happen for a variety of reasons.
Some of the causes of dry skin are certain medical conditions, heredity, aging, malnutrition, the side effects of some medications (such as antihistamines and diuretics), and even the daily use of harsh, drying soaps and skin products. Taking long, very hot showers or baths, or swimming in chlorinated pools sometimes causes the problem. Some types of weather—such as extreme hot or cold temperatures, strong winds, and low humidity—or dry air from internal heating are also known to cause dry skin. And of course, sun damage can cause skin to become wrinkled and coarse.
As we get older, it's normal for the body to go through hormonal changes. Cell turnover slows, and natural oils become depleted along with hyaluronic acid—the transparent, gel-like substance our skin uses to retain large amounts of water. Some patients might experience their skin becoming inflamed and dry due to chronic skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, or an underlying medical condition like hypothyroidism.
Mild dry skin sometimes occurs only temporarily and is relatively harmless, thought it might feel uncomfortable. Patients can usually manage dry skin on their own. However, if their own efforts haven't helped to improve the condition; if the case is more severe and causes redness, open sores, and infections; or for dry skin that continues throughout a lifetime and negatively impacts quality of life, patients may need to seek professional care.
Common Symptoms Associated with Dry Skin
When the skin's barrier has been compromised and it has been stripped of its natural fats, oils, and moisture, patients may experience a range of symptoms. These include:
- Gray, sallow, or ashy looking skin
- Acne breakouts
- Rough skin
- Tightness after you get out of a shower or pool
- Pronounced lines
- Skin that feels raw
- Cracked areas or fissures
In more severe cases, skin infections may occur if bacteria get into the skin. Dry skin often appears on the hands, legs, and arms.
Which Treatment Options are Available for Dry Skin?
The best treatment depends on the cause of the dry skin. Most of the time, making changes to your lifestyle—such as taking shorter and cooler showers, using fragrance-free soaps that are gentle on the skin, frequently moisturizing with hydrating creams or lotions, using a humidifier, and washing your clothes with detergents that don't contain perfumes or dyes—could improve the state of your skin.
Most dry skin responds well to external skin treatments, including topical medications, as well as lasers, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels that slough away the dead skin on the outer surface while stimulating cell turnover to improve the overall health of the skin.
Request an appointment with our team at Western Dermatology to discuss your symptoms—from rough skin to irritation—and learn about treatments for dry skin in Albuquerque. Give us a call at 505-855-9267.