Flaky, peeling skin can develop as a side effect of certain medicated creams and soaps or even as a result of overexposure to the sun or skin irritations. There is no fool-proof way to determine exactly what may be the cause of dry and flaky peeling skin, especially on the face. The most common reasons for dry and flaky skin on the face are psoriasis, sunburn and sensitive skin.
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One common reason for having dry flaky facial skin is a lack of moisture. Some soap can dry the skin to the point of causing flakiness and peeling. The soap that causes this dryness is usually bar soap or soap that is formulated for acne treatment. Another cause for having dry flaky facial skin is sunburn. Sunburn may start off painful and then slowly begin to show signs of peeling skin and redness. Lastly, flaky skin can be caused by psoriasis. Psoriasis is very common and affects people of any age, according to MedlinePlus, although it normally appears in people between the ages of 15 and 35. Psoriasis occurs when an inflammatory response in the body is triggered by the immune system, which mistakes healthy skin cells for harmful ones.
Symptoms of psoriasis include irritated patches on the skin, flaky skin, pink- or red-colored skin and in some cases dandruff. Symptoms of sunburn include reddened appearance of the skin, skin that feels warm to the touch, painful or tender skin, swelling of the skin, headache, fever and scaly, peeling skin. Dry skin symptoms are dry skin that feels tight and skin flaking.
For psoriasis, treatment usually consists of the use of cortisone creams, ointments or creams that contain coal tar. These are available over-the-counter in most drug stores. If the case of psoriasis is severe, you may have to use antibiotics or prescription medications that contain the vitamins A or D. The goal of sunburn treatment is to lower the of inflammation in the skin but not to heal the skin. Current treatments include the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroid medication. The latter is only useful within the first 24 to 48 hours after the sunburn has occurred. Dry skin is normally treated by discontinuing the use of the soap product that has dried the skin and moisturizing regularly with a facial moisturizer.
Prevent dry skin by using moisturizing soap or soap prescribed for sensitive skin. You can also try using oil-free moisturizer to give your skin a natural appearance. In addition, you can use this moisturizer before going to bed at night. To prevent sunburn, limit your time in the sun and if you must go into direct sunlight, use a sun block that is SPF15 or greater, as recommended by the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. There are no known ways to prevent psoriasis; however, keeping the skin moisturized and clean may help decrease the number of episodes.
The biggest risk with psoriasis is secondary skin infection. If your skin is severely itching, painful or developing blisters, contact your physician who may prescribe you antibiotics to treat the infection. Complications that may arise as a result of sunburn are deep wrinkles, rough skin, freckles and skin cancer.