The winter chill can leave the skin extremely dry. And if care is not taken for a long time, it can lead to fish like scales on the skin.
Skin dryness is a winter woe that worries everyone, but even a little bit of care goes a long way in ensuring skin health. Ignoring it can even lead to extreme dryness, which may in turn lead to a condition called Ichthyosis vulgaris or fish scale skin problem.
In winter, the skin tends to become dry and more prone to being sensitive and itchy. Blame it on the biting cold, harsh wind, hot water showers, and dry indoor heat.
During this season, many pre-existing skin conditions like dandruff and eczema can also get aggravated.
Dr Soumya Jagadeesan, Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, Amrita Hospitals, Kochi, tells HealthShots, “Extreme dryness of skin can be due to inherited or acquired causes and can be manifested as fish-like scales on the body, also called ichthyosis (ichthys) =fish)”. It is a group of skin disorders.”
Know more about what causes ichthyosis, also known as the fish scale disease:
Ichthyosis, also referred to as the fish scale disease or fish scale skin disease, is a type of skin disorder which you can acquire genetically at birth, few months after birth, or it can be acquired at a later age. In adults, ichthyosis can occur because of a medical illness or in response to a medication and is called ‘acquired’ ichthyosis. Dryness and scaling can occur and get worse in cold weather, explains Jagadeesan.
Itching is usually a prominent symptom associated with extreme dryness.
Hence, taking precautions and nourishing your skin can be beneficial in the long run. Jagadeesan adds, “People with extreme dry skin or ichthyosis may have issues related to overheating of the body, limited mobility, secondary bacterial infections etc. Itchy dry skin is often seen on skin, especially during winters.”
Needless to say then that it is the need of the hour to take extra care of your skin during the winter season and keep your skin hydrated and moisturized.
The expert further shares that in adults, ichthyosis can be caused as a result of many other diseases like kidney failure, certain cancers, leprosy and HIV too.
Apart from ichthyosis, there are many other factors that cause fish like scale on your skin. These can include some common factors like dandruff (also known as seborrheic dermatitis), psoriasis (a type of skin disease that makes your skin red and itchy) and eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis).
An expert explains how these factors cause skin dryness and fish scale skin:
During the winter season, skin dryness can appear ugly and rough. But figuring out the appropriate reason and treatment can be a saviour.
Dr Navjot Singh Arora, Dermatology Consultant, HCMCT Manipal Hospital Dwarka, New Delhi, explains the common skin conditions that can cause skin dryness and fish like scales on skin:
The mild form of which is known as dandruff is very commonly seen and increases in winters and apart from scalp may also involve facial areas like eyebrows, eyelashes, sides of nose, beard and mustache area in men. It leads to development of red, flaky, mildly itchy patches.
It is another autoimmune skin condition which causes thick scales over well defined red patches mainly on the scalp, elbow-knee joints, palm and sole but in some people can spread rapidly to involve large areas of the body.
It is a type of allergic disorder of the skin which involves skin around arm folds or knee folds, under the eyes,underarms and/ or groin region. Skin becomes dry, red and itchy and sometimes can have secondary bacterial infection due to repeated scratching.
Ladies, these conditions need due attention and care to make your skin glowing and healthy.
Dr Arora explains the skin care regime you can follow these winters for desired results.
Also read:Have dry skin? These 7 skincare mistakes that could be making it worse
Prevention and treatment:
There are different protocols for different skin conditions but there are different treatment protocols for different types of skin problems but hydrating and nourishing dry skin remains the core treatment for all dry skin conditions.
- You must use pH balanced moisturizing soaps and body wash.
- After bathe, softly rub your towel and moisturize with body lotion on slightly wet skin to restore hydration. Moisturizers can vary from paraffin to oatmeal based to ceramide or probiotic based depending upon your skin conditions.
- To control dandruff, antidandruff shampoos containing antifungals and various other components can be used.
- Massage your skin with oils especially during nights.
- Those who have specific dermatological conditions need to consult a dermatologist and take proper prescription based medicines ranging from simple anti-allergic tablets to steroid based lotions depending upon the severity of your condition. Winters can be harsh, but appropriate treatment and self care can do wonders to your skin !