How Dry Skin Can Damage Your Feet

Maryland summers are muggy, but when winter hits, the humidity tanks, and the wind kicks up, sucking the moisture out of your skin. 

In many cases, all you need to do is make a few lifestyle changes and slather on some lotion, but if you let dry skin get out of control, you put your skin at risk, and your feet are prime targets. 

Our team at Easton Dermatology Associates helps folks throughout Easton, Salisbury, and Stevensville, Maryland, manage their dry skin and keep their feet out of danger. Here’s why it’s essential to manage dry skin as well as a closer look at how it affects your feet. 

Get to know your skin

Your skin is only a few millimeters thick at most, but it’s your largest and heaviest organ and accounts for about one-seventh of your body weight. Although you may take it for granted, a closer look at its daily duties may inspire a newfound appreciation. Your skin:

Considering these essential roles, proper skincare should tip your priority list, and that starts with understanding the culprits behind dry skin.

Common causes of dry skin

Several factors contribute to dry skin, including the weather. Low humidity, cold winds, and indoor heating pull moisture from your skin. Frequent handwashing or bathing, especially if you use very hot water and/or use harsh soaps, can also dehydrate your skin. You can prevent dry skin — or at least prevent it from worsening — by avoiding these controllable factors.

However, some situations are beyond your control, such as aging, which naturally decreases skin moisture and certain medical conditions that rob your skin’s hydration.

How dry skin can damage your feet

If you ignore dry skin and don’t prevent moisture loss, you may be at risk for developing skin conditions that require medical attention. Although the skin all over your body is susceptible, your feet are particularly vulnerable. Here’s what could be in store for your feet if you let dry go untreated.

Atopic dermatitis

Also known as eczema, atopic dermatitis is a common complication of dry skin; it also causes dry skin.  So, if you have eczema in other parts of your body, your feet may be the next victim. Symptoms include red, itchy rashes, blisters, welts, and scales.

Feet are also vulnerable to other types of eczema, such as:

We can diagnose and treat foot eczema, reducing your pain and other symptoms.

Infections

Dry skin is prone to cracking, and breaches in your skin’s surface allow bacteria to enter the lower layers. Once infection sets in, your skin functionality is compromised: it doesn’t heal as quickly, can’t protect you from outside elements, and doesn’t renew itself efficiently. 

Uncontrolled infections may lead to gangrene, a serious condition that destroys healthy tissue and may necessitate amputation.

A word about diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common health conditions that go hand-in-hand with dry skin and foot problems. The high blood glucose that’s characteristic of diabetes damages the peripheral nerves that serve your feet. In addition to causing numbness, tingling, and pain, this condition also makes it unlikely that you’ll notice a cut or wound on your feet, increasing the chances it’ll go untreated and develop into a more serious infection.

The nerve damage also affects the sweat glands in your feet and, therefore, their moisture level. Dry feet mean more cracks and fissures that open the door to bacteria and infection.

Treating dry feet

The first thing to do when you have dry feet and skin is to identify the culprits and avoid those you can. 

If your feet are infected, we can prescribe antibiotics and recommend appropriate creams and ointments to restore moisture. In many cases, applying these products under occlusion is best, wrapping a plastic bag over a heavy slather of the cream to encase your skin for about an hour for maximum penetration.

Don’t ignore dry feet — contact Easton Dermatology Associates for expert care. Contact us at any of our three Maryland locations today. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Are Your Shoes Causing Your Fungal Toenail?

You may think that a bit of pain is a small price for fashion, but those trendy shoes may damage your feet. Find out how ill-fitting shoes can cause all kinds of health problems, including toenail fungus.

Things You Can Do to Maximize Your Rosacea Treatments

Many treatments help with rosacea management. However, you can do some things to maximize the benefits you get from your rosacea dermatology treatment plan. Keep reading to learn what you can do to improve your rosacea.

Signs That Your Skin Condition Is Eczema

That rash on your skin may stem from an infection, insect bite, heat, sweat, allergies, or disease. With so many potential causes, how do you know if you have eczema? Keep reading to learn about the telltale signs of this skin condition.

I'm an Adult and I Still Have Acne

You once naively believed that your teen acne would go away when you grew up — then you grew up and realized you were wrong. Here’s what you need to know about adult acne.

Triggers and Treatments for Psoriasis

When you have psoriasis, those raised patches of scaly, itchy skin are embarrassing and inconvenient. Knowing what triggers flare-ups can help you predict and avoid them. Here are the most common culprits and the best treatments for psoriasis.

When Is a Rash a Reason to Worry?

Rashes are pretty common, and they typically fade as soons the irritant that triggered them goes away. But when they stick around and cause problems, you may need to seek medical attention. Here are some signs it’s time to seek help.