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Dry skin Problem In winter - How to care skin

If the skin feels dry, tight and itchy, external and internal influences play a role. Dry skin can have everyday or pathological causes

Sensitive skin - especially dry skin

In healthy, supple skin we feel comfortable and in good hands. Dry skin often causes discomfort throughout the body. The feeling of tension on the outside continues a little inward.

People with often irritated, dry, itchy skin sometimes react more nervously and sensitively than people with "dull" skin. In fact, dry skin is also thinner.

All-rounder healthy skin

The skin, the largest human organ, forms a barrier between the environment and the interior of the body. It buffers external influences and protects the body from light, water, pollutants and germs. The sense of touch detects touch and pressure through feelers in the skin. Sensory cells and nerves pick up pain and temperature stimuli, filter them and direct them inwards.

Dry skin Problem In winter -  How to care skin


The skin regulates heat exchange and the excretion of sweat and other substances.

Our protective cover is built in three layers. The top layer is the multi-layered epidermis, including the stratum corneum (see graphic above). As a barrier, skin can trap water and lipids. In this way the skin is well softened, supple and not dry. It can fulfill its defense function including defense functions.

Brief description: Dry skin and possible causes

Dry skin on the face often looks tired and dull. Sometimes thin scales and reddened areas appear. Fine wrinkles develop quickly on rough cheeks. The skin on the lower legs above the shins, feet, hands, elbows and forearms is especially tense and itchy. When the skin is constantly deprived of fat and moisture, it shrinks like parchment. If it does not receive adequate protection and care, it becomes increasingly flaky, cracked and inflamed.


People with dry skin usually bring a system with them. But many are fueling this trend through their lifestyle and poor grooming habits. External influences such as cold, heat, sun and water as well as irritants play a major role when the skin begins to stretch and pull. Dehydration, unbalanced diet, hormonal fluctuations and, last but not least, mentality all affect the condition of the skin from within. Additionally, skin naturally becomes drier with age (see the section on "What Causes Dry Skin").


Pronounced dryness of the skin sometimes indicates a threatened loss of fluid in the body. It can also be part of a specific disease. At the forefront are skin diseases called neurodermatitis, contact eczema, psoriasis or ichthyosis. Certain hormonal and metabolic diseases such as hypothyroidism or diabetes mellitus are also possible causes. Other triggers are sometimes certain mental illnesses, such as obsessive-compulsive disorders, which are associated with a compulsion to wash or clean. However, in the case of pathological causes, additional symptoms usually provide decisive information (see section "Possible pathological causes of dry skin").

The skin barrier "breaks down" when the skin loses moisture and fats (lipids) and cannot replace the loss. Then the skin becomes dry. To prevent this, the body normally releases fluid to the epidermis. That's why it's so important, for example, to drink enough. On the other hand, the two lower skin layers drive lipids upwards. Finally, the sebum glands in the skin produce a mixture of fats that cover the surface of the skin with a protective film.


If the skin produces too little sebum, doctors speak of sebiosis. In contrast, the technical term seborrhea refers to excessive or qualitatively altered sebum production. Common technical terms for dry skin are xerosis or xeroderma.

The older the skin, the less moisture it stores and forms fat. As we age our immune system becomes thinner and more vulnerable. External and internal influences can aggravate naturally dry skin and attack the skin barrier (see the section “Drying the Skin” below).

Certain diseases and side effects of certain medications can sometimes affect the balance between moisture and lipids in the skin (see "Possible Pathological Causes of Dry Skin" below).

Dull and dull? Varicose veins? Dark spots, freckles? Or velvety soft? How is your skin?

Skin drying: Intrinsic and extrinsic effects
Influences from outside

Air and Weather: Skin releases more moisture in both cold and heat. If the humidity is also low, it will dry out faster. Wind and dust wear a protective layer of grease Sat. When it's hot, the skin loses more moisture through increased sweating. Sensitive skin - especially dry skin

In healthy, supple skin we feel comfortable and in good hands. Dry skin often causes discomfort throughout the body. The feeling of tension on the outside continues a little inward.


People with often irritated, dry, itchy skin sometimes react more nervously and sensitively than people with "dull" skin. In fact, dry skin is also thinner.

All-rounder healthy skin

The skin, the largest human organ, forms a barrier between the environment and the interior of the body. It buffers external influences and protects the body from light, water, pollutants and germs. The sense of touch detects touch and pressure through feelers in the skin. Sensory cells and nerves pick up pain and temperature stimuli, filter them and direct them inwards.


The skin regulates heat exchange and the excretion of sweat and other substances.

Our protective cover is built in three layers. The top layer is the multi-layered epidermis, including the stratum corneum (see graphic above). As a barrier, skin can trap water and lipids. In this way the skin is well softened, supple and not dry. It can fulfill its defense function including defense functions.


Brief description: Dry skin and possible causes

Dry skin on the face often looks tired and dull. Sometimes thin scales and reddened areas appear. Fine wrinkles develop quickly on rough cheeks. The skin on the lower legs above the shins, feet, hands, elbows and forearms is especially tense and itchy. When the skin is constantly deprived of fat and moisture, it shrinks like parchment. If it does not receive adequate protection and care, it becomes increasingly flaky, cracked and inflamed.


People with dry skin usually bring a system with them. But many are fueling this trend through their lifestyle and poor grooming habits. External influences such as cold, heat, sun and water as well as irritants play a major role when the skin begins to stretch and pull. Dehydration, unbalanced diet, hormonal fluctuations and, last but not least, mentality all affect the condition of the skin from within. Additionally, skin naturally becomes drier with age (see the section on "What Causes Dry Skin").


Pronounced dryness of the skin sometimes indicates a threatened loss of fluid in the body. It can also be part of a specific disease. At the forefront are skin diseases called neurodermatitis, contact eczema, psoriasis or ichthyosis. Certain hormonal and metabolic diseases such as hypothyroidism or diabetes mellitus are also possible causes. Other triggers are sometimes certain mental illnesses, such as obsessive-compulsive disorders, which are associated with a compulsion to wash or clean. However, in the case of pathological causes, additional symptoms usually provide decisive information (see section "Possible pathological causes of dry skin").

The skin barrier "breaks down" when the skin loses moisture and fats (lipids) and cannot replace the loss. Then the skin becomes dry. To prevent this, the body normally releases fluid to the epidermis. That's why it's so important, for example, to drink enough. On the other hand, the two lower skin layers drive lipids upwards. Finally, the sebum glands in the skin produce a mixture of fats that cover the surface of the skin with a protective film.


If the skin produces too little sebum, doctors speak of sebiosis. In contrast, the technical term seborrhea refers to excessive or qualitatively altered sebum production. Common technical terms for dry skin are xerosis or xeroderma.


The older the skin, the less moisture it stores and forms fat. As we age our immune system becomes thinner and more vulnerable. External and internal influences can aggravate naturally dry skin and attack the skin barrier (see the section “Drying the Skin” below).


Certain diseases and side effects of certain medications can sometimes affect the balance between moisture and lipids in the skin (see "Possible Pathological Causes of Dry Skin" below).

Skin drying: Intrinsic and extrinsic effects

Influences from outside

Air and Weather: Skin releases more moisture in both cold and heat. Humidity also The less, the faster it dries. Wind and dust wear away the protective layer of grease. When it's hot, the skin loses more moisture through increased sweating.

Elastic and supporting fibers are destroyed. The interaction of glands, nerves and sensory cells is sometimes severely disrupted.

Read more about the consequences of smoking in the "Nicotine Dependence" guide.

Alcohol: Alcohol abuse can damage organs and nerves in many ways. Alcohol travels quickly throughout the body through the blood. The organism also breaks down through the sweat glands and a small portion through the skin. People who drink alcohol sweat more. This makes the skin dry easily. In addition, malnutrition often results in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. It also affects skin health. The guide "Alcohol Addiction (Alcohol Addiction)" provides more detailed information on alcohol, its effects and long-term damage.

Stress, mental stress : Most people know from their own observation that the skin is the mirror of the soul. Happy, relaxed phases of life induce positive stress and keep skin looking fresh and rosy. If a satisfying activity turns into a negative permanent tension, the skin will suffer visibly. It becomes tender and sallow, tight, flaky and itchy. Sometimes red and inflamed areas appear.

Constant stress, depressive mood, anxiety affect our sensitive immune system through hormones and nerves. Fluid balance and glandular function can be noticeably mixed. Acne or dry skin, for example, are different signs of this (see also "Mental diseases" below).

Age, hormonal changes: Various hormones including sex hormones also affect the condition of the skin. Women in particular experience their skin type changing over the course of their lives. In adolescence, for example, the skin is still oily. It is normalized later, for example when taking contraception or during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Finally, during menopause, the skin often becomes noticeably drier. Hormonal changes and the natural aging process work together. But men also have to deal with increased sebum production during youth, and the skin's oil and moisture levels decrease significantly and visibly with age.

Adverse external and internal influences can affect dry skin in an unhealthy way. In addition to some skin diseases, some internal diseases can cause pronounced dry skin.


Dry Skin: When to See a Doctor?

If you're naturally prone to dry skin, conscientious skin care and care products tailored to your skin type can often help (see also the "Therapy" section). Sometimes it is enough to change care habits, choose different cosmetics, drink more and eat a more balanced diet to improve skin condition.

But always talk to your doctor

  1. You suffer from persistent dry skin, which becomes uncomfortably tight even after applying the cream,
  2. You initially had some skin problems, but your skin has recently become dry,
  3. Dry, scaly patches of skin develop on various parts of the body,
  4. Dry skin also itches or hurts,
  5. Other forms of skin include red or inflamed areas, wheals, pustules or rashes,
  6. Your skin has changed since you started the new medication.
  7. The doctor is also asked if there are other symptoms besides dry skin
  8. Hair loss, changes in nails,
  9. Headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, sleep disorders,
  10. Significant weight loss or weight gain, increased or decreased appetite,
  11. Intense thirst, frequent urination,
  12. Restlessness, fears, depressed mood and/or the urge to constantly clean or wash.
  13. As a rule, the family doctor first examines the skin and records additional symptoms. Based on suspicion, he consults a dermatologist (dermatologist) or a specialist in internal diseases (internist). If there are indications of a psychiatric problem, a psychiatrist or psychologist will usually undertake further diagnosis and treatment.


Possible pathological causes of dry skin
Skin diseases associated with dry skin

   Neurodermatitis, Atopic Dermatitis : This skin disease is caused by hereditary factors and environmental influences and usually starts in childhood. Most of those affected have few or no symptoms until adulthood. However, some people become ill only in middle or old age.

Symptoms : Skin normal, but very dry in places and often itchy. Open areas of the skin are easily reddened by scratching. A scaly skin rash with nodules is common on the face, neck, back of the elbows and knees, and later on the upper body as well. Dry, dirty air, allergies Certain factors, such as spicy foods or stress, can make symptoms worse.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options in the "Atopic Dermatitis (Atopic Dermatitis)" guide.

Contact Eczema : Eczema is a skin rash that sometimes appears on oily skin

Altered sebum production (seborrheic eczema), but often on dry skin. They are a manifestation of various skin problems (see "Skin Rashes" guide). Dry skin is generally more susceptible to contact dermatitis. Because the skin barrier is often more permeable here, dry skin also reacts more sensitively when it comes into contact with irritants. Acute contact eczema can occur, for example, after repeated exposure to allergenic substances such as nickel, preservatives, latex, and cleaning agents. On one hand, dry skin is the basis for the development of eczema, on the other hand, the skin in the affected areas becomes more dry.

Symptoms of Allergic Contact Dermatitis: Affected areas of skin, on the hands, are usually red. They often itch. Nodules or blisters form.

If the skin is constantly irritated, the skin changes can become chronic. Chronic eczema also occurs with neurodermatitis (see above), as well as symptoms of dehydration when the body loses too much fluid (see below). The skin in the affected areas is then dry, scaly, crusty, thickened and often inflamed

Psoriasis: White scales on inflamed, often inflamed areas of the skin characterize a chronic inflammatory disease. Psoriasis is not contagious. Family predisposition often plays a role.

Symptoms : Skin is often dry and itchy. Silvery patches of scale appear mainly on the elbows, knees, extensor sides of the arms and legs, in the lumbar region and on the head. The disease develops in stages. Sometimes it covers the nails, palms and soles of the feet as well as the mucous membrane of the mouth. In addition, depending on the form and progression, different joints can become diseased.

The autoimmune disease psoriasis affects not only the skin but also the joints and other organs


Ichthyoses : This group of hereditary diseases is known as fish scale disease. It affects the upper layer, the stratum corneum. Constant renewal of the skin is not controlled. Fixed, dry scales sometimes form. Sebum and often sweat production is also disrupted. Because the skin barrier is intact, sufferers also develop contact eczema and inflammation. Depending on the type of disease, symptoms appear from the first year of life. You may still gain weight until puberty, then gain weight again. Ichthyosis vulgaris is the most common form. Ichthyosis can also develop in old age as a result of other diseases such as lupus erythematosus. Some forms are possible in the context of lymph node cancer or may occur with hypothyroidism or medication (see below).

Symptoms : Dry skin and dry scales, especially on the extensor sides of the legs and arms, but not on the flexors. The scales are white to gray or dark brown in color and vary in size. In the case of some clinical images, they become tangled and sometimes fragile. Some places have become more common. Soft, thickened soles and palms with pronounced lines are also typical of ichthyosis vulgaris. Symptoms often improve in summer temperatures and high humidity.

Treatment once targets a possible underlying cause. In any case, the skin needs intensive care with special creams that moisturize, loosen dandruff and have a moisturizing effect (see also the "Therapy" section below). Vitamin A-like substances such as acitretin are also used internally in severe cases. Dermatologists with special experience in specialized centers in university clinics are often able to control severe clinical pictures. Risks and contraindications to medications must be considered, especially in neonates, young children, adolescents, and women of childbearing age. If necessary, psychological and genetic counseling may also be considered.

Mouth Rhinitis (Perioral Dermatitis) : Due to excessive facial cleansing and improper cosmetic care, facial skin becomes infected. Middle-aged women are mainly affected. Creams containing cortisone are also possible triggers.

Symptoms: A rash is characteristic around the mouth and on the folds leading from the nose to the mouth. Only a small edge is free immediately around the lips. The skin is dry and red. It is tight, flaky and itchy. The rash sometimes spreads to other parts of the face and neck.

More on causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment in the "Red Mouth (Perioral Dermatitis)" guide Read on.

Rare skin diseases: Dry skin and disrupted skin barrier are part of other, mostly rare skin diseases. An example is the hereditary disease xeroderma pigmentosum (moonlight disease, light-shrinking skin) characterized by extreme sensitivity to light. The skin can no longer repair the damage caused by exposure to sunlight. She was constantly blushing. 

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