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5 Possible reasons for scaly skin

The loss of the outer epidermal layer in large, scale-like flakes leads to the skin condition called scaly skin. While those with scaly skin have dry and cracked skin, skin dryness isn’t always to blame.

While there are three main causes for scaly patches or skin; psoriasis, pityriasis rosea and fungal infection, it’s better to consult your doctor who will also consider the less common triggers and treat the condition accordingly.

1. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is the commonest cause where its patches come with a definite edge while small and silvery scales cover its surface. It is itchy and occurs mostly on the knees, elbows and scalp. Besides scaly skin, many psoriasis sufferers notice that their nail surface has tiny pits, like it was hit with a tiny icepick.

While psoriasis may strike at any age, the average age is 35. Its cause is not known but it’s hereditary in a third of the cases and more prominent in smokers. Medicine like beta-blockers for blood pressure and lithium for bipolar disorder can worsen the condition. While there are various treatment options, a steroid cream is usually prescribed for mild cases.

2. Fungal infections

Fungal infections also trigger scaly skin where there may be one or several patches which gradually enlarges while the center clears. Various types of fungi may trigger the infection for which your doctor will prescribe an appropriate cream for your infection. Sometimes the fungi also causes toenail infections.

3. Pityriasis rosea

This is the third most common cause for scaly patches which commonly affects older children and young adults. While it leads to various small, scaly patches on the trunk and neck, it’s a harmless condition which clears up within a few weeks’ time.

4. Icthyosis

Icthyosis stems from a Greek word meaning fish because it causes scaly skin over the body. This is a rare condition which usually runs in families like white or grey small or flaky scales which curl up at edges to make the skin feel rough. It’s not so itchy, and usually starts at the age of 5 and slowly reduces. While emollients are usually prescribed as treatment, your doctor may suggest a special cream to remove some scales and make them less obvious.

5. Scabies

Scabies is an itchy and scaly rash, an allergic reaction to the feces and saliva of scabies mites.

Though there are so many reasons and types of scaly skin, its better you consult your dermatologist who will determine the best treatment for your case if you have scaly skin.