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Why do some people have scaly skin?

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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 condition that requires 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.

From: Why Do I Have Scaly Skin? WebMD Medical Reference

American Skin Association: “Dry Skin.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “Actinic Keratosis: Signs And Symptoms,” “Actinic Keratosis: Overview,” “Actinic Keratosis: Who Gets and Causes,” “Dry, scaly, and painful hands could be hand eczema,” “How Skin Grows,” “Ichthyosis Vulgaris: Overview,” “Lichen Planus: Overview,” “Lichen Planus: Signs And Symptoms.”

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics: “Winter Dry Skin.”

National Eczema Association: “Understanding your eczema.”

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Ichthyosis Overview,” “What Is Atopic Dermatitis?”

Mayo Clinic: “Dandruff: Symptoms and Causes,” “Psoriasis: Causes,” “Psoriasis: Definition,” “Psoriasis: Symptoms.”

UpToDate: “Patient education: Diaper rash in infants and children (Beyond the Basics).”

Merck Manual Professional Version: “Pityriasis Rosea.”

The Myositis Association: “Dermatomyositis.”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on April 27, 2019

American Skin Association: “Dry Skin.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “Actinic Keratosis: Signs And Symptoms,” “Actinic Keratosis: Overview,” “Actinic Keratosis: Who Gets and Causes,” “Dry, scaly, and painful hands could be hand eczema,” “How Skin Grows,” “Ichthyosis Vulgaris: Overview,” “Lichen Planus: Overview,” “Lichen Planus: Signs And Symptoms.”

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics: “Winter Dry Skin.”

National Eczema Association: “Understanding your eczema.”

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Ichthyosis Overview,” “What Is Atopic Dermatitis?”

Mayo Clinic: “Dandruff: Symptoms and Causes,” “Psoriasis: Causes,” “Psoriasis: Definition,” “Psoriasis: Symptoms.”

UpToDate: “Patient education: Diaper rash in infants and children (Beyond the Basics).”

Merck Manual Professional Version: “Pityriasis Rosea.”

The Myositis Association: “Dermatomyositis.”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on April 27, 2019

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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