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Dry skin can be caused by factors as diverse as extreme hot or cold weather and autoimmune system disorders. Frequently, dry skin responds to lifestyle changes and plenty of moisture, but in those with brown skin it can leave areas of hyperpigmentation. Patches of dark dry skin that do not improve with added moisture may need to be examined by a dermatologist.
Dermatitis is a general term for skin rashes caused by irritation. Contact dermatitis may be due to soap, laundry detergent or fabric softener, with the clothes that rub against your body irritating sensitive skin. Atopic dermatitis is common in dry climates, while seborrheic dermatitis sometimes plagues on parts of the body rich in oil-producing sebaceous glands. Lack of B vitamins or too much vitamin A can bring about symptoms of dermatitis, such as itching and discoloration.
- Dermatitis is a general term for skin rashes caused by irritation.
- Lack of B vitamins or too much vitamin A can bring about symptoms of dermatitis, such as itching and discoloration.
White Blotches on Elbows
Eczema, another cause of skin redness and itching, is believed to be an immune system disorder. Eczema leaves your skin dry, rough, flaky and often quite itchy. Red blotches caused by eczema may later turn dark brown. If you do not properly treat a case of eczema, your skin may crack and break, leaving it vulnerable to bacterial infection. According to MayoClinic.com, eczema may be accompanied by allergies or asthma and usually first appears in childhood, though rare cases do crop up initially in adults 3. The arms and legs are the parts of the body most commonly affected by eczema, although outbreaks can occur on the chest as well.
- Eczema, another cause of skin redness and itching, is believed to be an immune system disorder.
- The arms and legs are the parts of the body most commonly affected by eczema, although outbreaks can occur on the chest as well.
Psoriasis causes a rapid buildup of dry, dead cells that develop a scaly appearance. If your dark skin patches are rough, flaky and shed easily, psoriasis may be to blame. This disorder is chronic and may be accompanied by arthritis. Those suffering from psoriasis may experience thickening of the fingernails and joint stiffness. Outbreaks can occur for weeks or months on end, then cease for a while before ultimately returning. MayoClinic.com reports that psoriasis outbreaks occur when T lymphocyte cells, which usually attack viruses in the body, turn on healthy skin cells instead 3. Stress and certain prescription medications, such as lithium and beta blockers, may make psoriasis symptoms worse.
- Psoriasis causes a rapid buildup of dry, dead cells that develop a scaly appearance.
Stress Induced Eczema
Treating dry skin may be as simple as applying moisturizer, or it may require an over-the-counter cortisone cream. Taking lukewarm rather than hot showers, avoiding baths and choosing moisturizing shower gel containing cocoa or shea butter instead of regular soap can help relieve dryness and itching. Always apply lotion after showering, preferably an unscented, dye-free formula made for sensitive skin. Colloidal oatmeal compresses or body wash can help relieve severe itching. Antifungal treatment may also be necessary in some cases.
- Treating dry skin may be as simple as applying moisturizer, or it may require an over-the-counter cortisone cream.
- Colloidal oatmeal compresses or body wash can help relieve severe itching.
Dark Skin Considerations
According to Dr. Susan Taylor's Brownskin.net, eczema is a common skin problem in people of color, including those of African, Asian and Latino descent. The hyperpigmentation intrinsic in eczema may be more pronounced for those with dark skin, and the presentation of the illness may differ from light skin. A sure sign of eczema is intense itching, so if the dark, dry patches on your skin also cause you to scratch a lot, visit a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis.
White Blotches on Elbows
Stress Induced Eczema
Dry Skin Patches on the Nose
Eczema, Psoriasis, Ringworm & Arnica
Causes of Painful, Dry Skin on the Elbows
Crusty Spots on the Scalp
Light Brown Flaky Discoloration on the Skin
What Causes Keratin Buildup?
Salicylic Acid & Eczema
How to Remove Dead Skin From Psoriasis
- American Academy of Dermatology: Dry Skin and Keratosis Pilaris
- University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics: Winter Dry Skin
- MayoClinic.com: Dry Skin
- Murota H, Yamaga K, Ono E, Murayama N, Yokozeki H, Katayama I. Why does sweat lead to the development of itch in atopic dermatitis?. Exp Dermatol. 2019;28(12):1416-1421. doi:10.1111/exd.13981
- David Boothe W, Tarbox JA, Tarbox MB. Atopic dermatitis: Pathophysiology. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017;1027:21-37. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-64804-0_3
- US National Library of Medicine, Genetics Home Reference. FLG gene. Filaggrin. Updated January 21, 2020.
Ann Jones has been writing since 1998. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies. Her journalistic work can be found in major magazines and newspapers. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing.