Why Do I Have Scaly Skin?
Does scaly skin have you itchy and uncomfortable? It may just be ordinary dry skin. But if over-the-counter products don’t help you heal, you could have a medical situation that necessitates a doctor’s care.
There are several reasons for scaly skin. Whether you have a flaky scalp from time to time or scratchy patches all the time, a dermatologist can tell you if your symptoms are due to a lack of moisture or something more serious.
Usually, your body sheds about 30,000 to 40,000 skin cells each day and replaces them with new ones. You don’t feel the skin cells growing and shouldn’t see any falling, or flaking, off.
The outer layer of your skin contains a mixture of dead skin cells and natural oils, which help it hold on to water. If this layer is damaged and moisture gets out, or if your skin cell renewal process goes off the rails, you could get flaky or scaly. Aging, exposure to sunlight and harsh chemicals, some medicines, and certain diseases could also be to blame.
If you or your child has red, scaly patches that itch a lot, it might be eczema. This common situation is often mistaken for dry, sensitive skin. Babies and children generally get crusty spots on their chins and cheeks, but scaly skin can show up anywhere on the body.
Children often outgrow eczema. But adults who never had it can get it, too. Doctors don’t know what causes it. They think it’s a mix of genetics and things in your environment that your skin reacts to, like:
- Cigarette smoke
You might notice these symptoms:
- Severe itching
- Red, irritated, or swollen skin
- Crusting or oozing
- Scaly patches that feels rough or leathery
Silvery white scales that cover thick red, raised patches of skin are a telltale sign of plaque psoriasis. Doctors think it results from a faulty immune system. New skin cells grow faster than usual, but old skin cells fail to fall off. The new and old cells clump together, causing thick, itchy patches, sores, and scales.