Dr Pixie gives advice on scaly skin
A: Our skin is the biggest organ in our body and has many important functions, including protecting us from germs, but most of the time we just assume it'll keep doing it's job without any extra care or attention. If yours has become dry and irritated, it could be that you have dermatitis - this is when you get patches of inflamed, cracked skin that itch. The solution? It's time to give everything from what you drink to how you wash the once over. Start in the bathroom by replacing all the soaps and shower gels you use (which can contain drying, irritating chemicals) with aqueous cream - you can buy huge tubs over the counter for a few pounds. You can use it as a soap substitute and also remember to slather it on as an all-over body moisturiser at least twice daily. And make sure you apply it with care; we're all guilty of pulling and dragging our skin as we slap on body cream. Try to massage it in gently and thoroughly; imagine you're applying a fake tan. Ban the bath and limit showers to a fiveminute rinse in lukewarm, not hot, water to avoid drying you out your skin even more. And always pat your skin dry softly with a towel, don't rub! It should also help if you keep your body hydrated by drinking a couple of litres of water a day. Protect your skin from exposure to cold weather and try to keep your central heating turned down as low as possible, as this can have a drying effect. You could consider installing a softener in your water system, as hard water is a common cause in dermatitis cases - you only need to look at the build up of limescale in your kettle to see why! If none of this helps improve your skin's condition, and you're also feeling unusually tired, ask your doctor to check your thyroid, iron and vitamin B12 levels with a blood test, as low levels of these nutrients can all have an impact on your skin.
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