Is it Eczema or Just Dry Skin

Apr 06, 2023
 Is it Eczema or Just Dry Skin
Dry skin is common during the colder months, but what if it continues year-round? It could be something more than just chapped or cracked skin. Read on to discover the symptoms of eczema and if you have this condition or need to moisturize more often.

Your skin can be dry and itchy from various conditions, even as simple as dry skin. However, eczema is another skin condition that mimics dry skin but has an underlying cause. If you find yourself with scaly, rough areas of skin, you may be living with eczema.

The Dermatology Center of Worcester team has experience treating various skin conditions, including eczema. Dr. Camille I. Roberts is our board-certified dermatologist who helps you determine if you have dry skin or are dealing with another problem.

What is eczema?

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that causes you to have issues retaining moisture. It's an inflammatory condition that often affects children but can continue into adulthood.

If you have eczema, your skin is scaly and dry for no reason. There's no rhyme or reason to the symptoms on your skin, and you often can't pinpoint anything causing the dryness.

Eczema also varies in severity from mild to intolerable. People with severe eczema may itch so severely that they scratch their skin deeply enough to bleed. It's a vicious cycle that can lead to periods of itching and bleeding which sometimes causes infection in your skin.

Unfortunately, there's not a straightforward answer to what causes eczema. Genetics does play a role in your chances of developing eczema. Still, allergens can also stimulate your immune system to attack your skin and dry it out.

Telltale signs of eczema

Dry skin and eczema have similar symptoms, and it can be hard to differentiate between them. However, some signs set eczema apart from other skin conditions, including the following:

You may also have patches of skin that appear rough or scaly in texture. You may not have all these symptoms when you have eczema; however, you may experience several symptoms at a time.

Is it simply dry skin?

Dry skin, although similar to eczema, is caused by environmental irritants. If you are living with dry skin, it may be due to several external causes, some of which include:

  • Fragrances or soaps
  • Air conditioning
  • Hot showers or baths
  • Certain types of clothing
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Changes in the weather
  • Metabolic changes

If you can pinpoint one of these issues as the culprit behind your dry skin, you likely aren't dealing with eczema. Dry skin can't lead to eczema unless you have an inflammatory or genetic predisposition.

When you have dry skin, it can be extremely itchy or crack and hurt. It can also be highly irritated and raw and may feel rough.

Diagnosing eczema

Dry skin and eczema are irritating conditions that interfere with everyday life and activities. If you're having trouble controlling your symptoms, Dr. Roberts can help you resolve the issue.

During your appointment, Dr. Roberts physically examines the areas of dry skin. She also asks you about your medical history and family history of any conditions or skin diseases.

She also discusses your products and whether you've recently changed soaps or detergents since noticing your dry skin. If she can't pinpoint one specific cause, she can order further testing to rule out other medical problems or underlying conditions.

However, there's no specific test for eczema, making the diagnosis much harder. Dr. Roberts is an experienced dermatologist and gets to the bottom of the issue quickly so you can start treatment.

If you're concerned about eczema, call our office in Worcester, Massachusetts, at 508-452-2702 for an appointment or request a consultation with Dr. Roberts on our website today.

We offer Full body skin checks and offer treatment for acne, acne scars, and more. Call us to book your appointment today.