Dry Skin Patches: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Dry Skin Patches

Dry skin patches can have many causes, including allergies, dermatitis, and psoriasis. Determining and identifying the cause of dry skin allows a person to find the right treatment. 

This problem is common in winter when the skin is exposed to the colder temperature and lower levels of moisture in the air. You can use a moisturizer to soothe and eliminate dry patches. Dry skin is usually not a serious health issue. But chronic or persistent dry skin can indicate underlying health conditions, such as dermatitis, psoriasis, or allergies. 

Dry skin patches feel rough and scaly in only certain areas, which is different than just having overall dry skin. These dry skin patches appear on the:

  1. Elbows
  2. Lower arms
  3. Hands or wrists
  4. Feet and ankle
  5. Chest
  6. Knees and lower legs
  7. Face eyelids

Some people have chronic or long-lasting, dry skin. This indicates the underlying medical condition that would benefit from treatment.

Causes of dry skin patches

The skin can become dry, scaly, or flaky for many reasons, such as being exposed to chemicals in soaps or harsh, windy weather. 

Some other causes include:

 1. Using hot water

 2. excessive hand washing

 3. Dehydration 

 4. Poor nutrition 

 5. Alcohol containing lotion

Many people alleviate the symptoms by applying the right lotion to the affected area regularly. Avoid cleaning with personal care products that contain harsh chemicals. 

In some cases, they need to be treated. 

The skin condition can become more worse in cold weather, including dermatitis, which refers to any condition that causes skin inflammation dermatitis is of many types. 

The following skin condition can cause dry patches on the skin.

Contact dermatitis 

This type of dermatitis usually results from contact with an allergen, such as poison ivy or animal dander. Sometimes, laundry detergents can also trigger an allergic reaction. Contact dermatitis usually clears up on its own. You should immediately identify the culprits and avoid them in the future. 

Contact dermatitis occurs on the area of skin that came into contact with an allergen. It means it can occur on any part of the body. It is commonly observed in exposed areas, such as the hands and face. It often causes a red, itchy rash. It can be treated with steroid creams or oral medications. It is not contagious, meaning you can’t give it to others or catch it from other people.


 1. Dry, red, or scaly patches of skin 

 2. Hives

 3. An itching or burning sensation on the affected area 

 4. Open or leaking blisters 

Atopic dermatitis 

Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a chronic skin disease and it mainly affects children. The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is unclear but it is thought that genetic and environmental factors play a significant role. This condition will cause itchy, reddish-brown patches to form.

It usually appears on cheeks, arms, and legs hands, feet, eyelids, face, neck, elbow, upper chest, wrists, ankles. 

It is not contagious and can be treated through several treatments, including creams, drugs, and light therapy. 


 1. Dry, irritated skin

 2. Scaly skin 

 3. A rash

 4. Itchiness 

 5. Cracked skin behind the ears.


If you don’t drink enough water throughout the day, you might develop dry patches on the skin. You should aim to drink the following amount of water daily.

  • 15.5 cups of fluid for men
  • 11.5cups of fluid for women

Seborrheic dermatitis 

 This condition of the skin occurs when the sebaceous glands produce too much oil. It causes patches of white, crusty flakes on the scalp, face, chest, and back. 

 When the condition affects infants, it is called cradle cap. 


 1. Thin, white or yellow scales 

 2. Oily or greasy patches of skin 

 3. Red patches on the skin.

 4. Itchiness 

Ichthyosis Vulgaris

Ichthyosis term that refers to a group of genetic skin disorder that causes dry, scaly skin. Most of the forms are extremely rare, and 95 % of people affected to develop the mildest form that is called ichthyosis Vulgaris.

Usually, it is developed in children but some adults also get this disorder. It appears on the legs, but can also affect arms, hands, and the trunk.


  1. Dry, itchy, and flaky skin
  2. Scaling skin
  3. Mils thickening of the skin


Psoriasis is a common autoimmune disorder that affects the skin. It causes the skin cells to multiply too quickly. People with psoriasis may develop scaly, itchy patches of skin on their bodies. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, 125 million people worldwide have the condition. This can be treated by topical creams, light therapy, and oral or intravenous medication. Psoriasis can affect the entire body, some sites of psoriatic activity include the:

  1. Scalp
  2. Face
  3. Palms of the hands
  4. Soles of the feet
  5. Knees
  6. Elbows
  7. Lower back
  8. Genitals


  1. Dry, red, or scaly patches of skin
  2. Itchy or painful
  3. Peeling skin
  4. Discoloration of fingernails and toenails.


The chronic condition is caused due to:

  1. Stress
  2. Smoking
  3. Alcohol
  4. Infection
  5. An injury to the skin
  6. Certain medication
  7. Vitamin D deficiency


The doctor can often diagnose the cause of dry skin patches by examining them, checking a person’s medical history, and asking about risk factors and skin conditions that run in the family. A dermatologist will review a person’s medical history and symptoms and order laboratory tests, such as skin biopsies, to help with a diagnosis.


Dry skin can be treated by different methods. Let’s have a look at some home remedies and medication.

Home remedies

  1. Exfoliating with a loofah, pumice stone, or scrub to remove dead skin cells, if a doctor recommends it
  2. Apply ointment or cream regularly, ideally use products that contain a humectant, ceramides, or emollient
  3. Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air
  4. Adding baby oil to warm bath water or applying it when the skin is damp after a shower
  5. Using warm water instead of hot water when showering or bathing
  6. Gentle patting the skin dry with a towel

Prescribed medicine for treating severely dry skin

  1. Antibiotics
  2. Tropical antiseptic
  3. Antihistamines
  4. Steroids, including hydrocortisone


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