Dry skin spots on the body: the main causes

Dry spots on the skin are a common dermatological symptom, which can indicate both a temporary failure and a violation of the barrier functions of the epidermis, and a skin disease. It all depends on the size of the spots, the clarity of their borders, as well as the duration of the presence on the skin.

The causes of dryness can be divided into two large groups:

  • nonspecific – allergic reactions to household chemicals, laundry soap, cosmetic products, dehydration due to cold and wind;
  • specific – then the spots become a manifestation of dermatological diseases.

Sometimes a person himself may notice that dry spots appear on his skin after a certain event occurs, for example, after washing clothes by hand. Then the reason is obvious and easy to eliminate. But if dry spots on the skin do not go away, itch, flake off, you should consult a doctor.

Scaly dry spots

Pink raised dry patches on the body and head may indicate psoriasis. With this dermatological pathology in a person, raised plaques appear on the skin – psoriatic papules. They protrude above the surface of the skin, cause intense itching and scaly, tend to spread and merge. 

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the rash is most often localized to the elbows, head, knees and groin. Dry pink spots covered with white scales are foci of chronic inflammation. Under the influence of internal autoimmune processes, the cells of the epidermis divide several times faster than necessary. As a result, small scales are constantly detached from dying skin cells.

Atopic dermatitis and its differences from psoriasis

When atopic dermatitis also may appear dry spots on the body. And as with psoriasis, they cause itching. Due to the increased sensitivity of the skin to environmental factors, the mechanisms of its self-regulation are disrupted, including the barrier function suffers. That is, an allergy serves as a trigger for atopic dermatitis, but the tendency to such a skin reaction is genetically determined.  

Most often, atopic dermatitis occurs in children. The disease has a chronic course, when exacerbations are replaced by periods of remission. Here are the typical signs of atopic dermatitis:

  • dry skin;
  • peeling and redness of the eyelids;
  • dry flesh-colored plaques on the trunk and extensor areas of the body;
  • cracks.

It is difficult for a person without medical education to distinguish psoriasis from atopic dermatitis, but a doctor can easily make a differential diagnosis. There are several differences that may speak in favor of a particular pathology. Atopic dermatitis often affects children; psoriasis can debut in adulthood. Psoriatic plaques are raised above the skin, and scales can be seen. Dry spots with atopic dermatitis are flat. It is also important to consider the typical location.

Dry eczema

Sometimes, white, dry, scaly patches on the skin of the feet may indicate dry eczema. With this disease, first there is dryness and tightness of the skin, then peeling and unbearable itching join, and cracks may occur. In addition to the legs, the hands, the space between the fingers and even the face are often affected. 

Dry eczema can be caused by bacterial and fungal infections, allergens, synthetic clothing, poor hygiene, and other factors.

As you can see, dry spots on the skin can be due to a variety of reasons. The features of the immune system and the tendency to allergic reactions play an important role. But in any case, when dry spots appear, it is important to consult a dermatologist and establish the cause of this skin condition.

event_note October 30, 2021

account_box Dr. Peter B Milburn

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