Why Is My Skin So Flaky?

Flaky or dry skin can be a result of many factors, but it can especially cause self-consciousness and hinder certain activities. Fortunately, though, you’re not alone. Dry skin is a concern for people of all ages and demographics, those who are over the age of 40 to be more likely to experience some type of skin issue.

There is often a specific reason for those who see these symptoms. Getting down to the root of the issue is the first step to ensuring you are able to either treat or maintain your skin concerns, no longer thinking about them on a daily.

Girl apllying depology anti-aging retinol cream for dry and flaky skin

What causes dry and flaky skin?

Professionally known as “xerosis” and “xeroderma,” dry skin is often caused by colder or drier weather patterns, skin damage from the sun’s UV rays, bathing too frequently, and certain hygienic/skincare products, depending on each person’s skin reaction.

These issues can be temporary, but for many, they are repetitive and sometimes, seasonal, requiring treatment at least several times per year. Age, health status, and the environment are also contributing factors to dry skin.

Every day, the body naturally sheds tens of thousands of dead skin cells. Afterward, they are replaced with new cells, and the cycle repeats. Many people don’t even notice that this process occurs. While dead skin cells are removed, the most outer layer of the skin, the epidermis, is filled with natural oils that help to maintain water in the skin. Once the layer has become damaged, symptoms of dry skin can often occur.

Symptoms one will often see with dry skin include:

  • Rough skin
  • Itchiness (pruritis)
  • Skin flaking
  • Skin scaling/peeling
  • Deep cracks in the skin that can bleed
  • Reddish-white skin; ashy look on dry black/brown skin)

Skin Conditions that causes flaky and dry skin

There are many factors that come into play when it comes to dry skin. Genetics and hereditary patterns can leave some with skin conditions that require stronger treatments to help resolve or maintain. While these are not the only skin conditions out there, these are some of the most commonly treated.

  • Actinic Keratosis

This condition is unique in the sense that it tends to come and go rather than appear consistently. It can often show up as a pre-cancerous condition, mainly due to frequent skin tanning, both from the sun’s UV rays and tanning beds. Without treatment, it can turn into squamous cell skin cancer and many more steps will need to be taken to combat the issue.

Painful to the touch, this condition at its worst results in thick, scaly, and discolored patches of skin that can flake off if aggravated.

  • Dermatomyositis

Characterized as a reddish-purple scaly rash on the skin, this skin condition is also correlated to the weakening of the muscles over time. As the condition continues to affect the body and skin, there is the potential for symptoms to occur such as rashes on the eyelids, nose, knees, back, and other areas of the body.

Though muscle weakness can be a direct result of this condition, there are several patients who don’t report experiencing muscle aches once diagnosed.  

  • Eczema

Also known as “atopic dermatitis,” this condition consists of scaly, red patches on the skin's surface. It is often misdiagnosed or not treated early enough due to the ability to simply consider it drier, more sensitive skin.

There are different types of eczema that can also affect people depending on their age. For example, eczema on the hands makes the skin on your palms and fingers become dry. This dry skin can even cause cracks that lead to bleeding, especially during drier seasons. Eczema that creates crusty spots on the chins and cheeks in particular often only affects babies and young children.

Thankfully, children who are diagnosed with eczema are usually able to outgrow the condition. Even so, some adults are still able to get eczema, similar to those who get chicken pox in their older years.

Despite so many who suffer from this condition every year, medical professionals are still not quite sure what is the direct cause. There are many contributing factors that lead to eczema, such as reactions to wool products and various soaps, perfumes, and make-up products applied by people daily. Even chlorine and smoke from cigarette products can trigger the condition to appear.


  • Ichthyosis

Also referred to as “fish scale disease” or “ichthyosis vulgaris,” the former is often milder and has the potential to go undiagnosed as long as the skin is well-moisturized. It can cause the skin cells to build up faster than they regenerate, creating thick, dry areas on the skin that resemble fish scales.

Ichthyosis is typically a skin condition that is passed down through family lines. It is typically a lifelong condition that one must treat and can be diagnosed as early as childhood.

  • Lichen Planus

Commonly stemming from those with autoimmune disorders or Hepatitis, lichen planus is a frequent skin condition experienced by patients. It typically starts out as reddish-purple bumps on areas such as the wrist, lower back, and genital areas. It can also affect the nails and sides of the mouth. To this day, doctors aren’t certain why the condition seems to affect solely middle-aged adults.


  • Pityriasis Rosea

Whereas lichen planus affects adults, pityriasis rosea tends to only affect women, ranging in age from 10 to 35. Often mistaken for ringworm, this condition shows as a single round, tan-colored spot, or “herald patch,” on the skin that is usually found on the arms and legs.

Once the “herald patch” appears, is usually followed a few weeks after with a cluster of round spots with raised borders, as well as headache and fatigue. While doctors aren’t entirely sure of the cause, they presume that Herpes viral infection numbers six through eight can be a culprit.


  • Psoriasis

One of the more commonly-known skin conditions, psoriasis is known for its white patches of skin that become discolored with redness, resulting in skin peeling and flakes. This is a sign that a person’s immune system isn’t working as intended and can be occurring due to a number of reasons, such as family genetics.

When new skin cells are growing faster than the old cells can shed, they end up mixing together. Once combined, they create thick white/red scaly patches of skin that require different methods of treatment depending on the individual.


  • Seborrheic Dermatitis

This condition is often considered the most common cause of dandruff, mainly concerned with the head. Dandruff is primarily characterized by its white, oily flakes that fall from the hair, which are dead skin cells that have shed. Aside from the flakiness, the scalp itself feels greasy and can affect the skin behind the ears and sides of the nose.


  • Dehydration & Overbathing

Dehydration is a common reason for the recurring issue of dry skin in patients. When the skin becomes dehydrated and isn’t retaining enough moisture, it ends up tightening and getting dry faster, especially in drier climates which allow water in the epidermis to evaporate at a faster rate.

This is why it’s important to maintain hydration levels in the body and to consume enough water throughout the day. A healthy diet is also beneficial to supporting the skin as well as the use of skin care products to help retain moisture.

If you’re a fan of long, hot showers, which is understandable as they can be therapeutic, these can also be terrible for the skin. Prolonged exposure to hot temperatures or cleansing too frequently can irritate the skin and remove the skin’s natural moisturizing oils.

To avoid skin irritation from cleansing, breaking up the process can be helpful. Washing your face with a full regimen at night can make up for a quick rinse being performed in the morning with facial cleansers. Pat drying the skin after a bath or shower can also help reduce irritation, inflammation, and skin peeling.


  • Change in Weather Patterns

While many look forward to the fall and winter seasons each year, these seasons also bring about new challenges for our skin. No matter how frequently we prepare or deal with harsher climates, sometimes the skin refuses to adapt. In the winter, the air is drier in general and makes it harder for the skin to retain moisture.

Skincare products with ceramides, fatty acids, and cholesterol work to replenish the top layer of the skin in these environments. It can also be beneficial to utilize thicker ointments and creams during these seasons to keep the skin well-moisturized.


  • Skincare Products & Medications

While skincare products and prescription medications are there to help us in our time of need, they can also cause adverse reactions that many of us don’t want when it comes to the health of our skin. Some of these effects can make the skin porous, which makes the skin more susceptible for moisture to escape.

Products that contain retinol, cholesterol, and the consumption of diuretics (water pills) all have the capability of causing dry skin. If you’re prone to acne and require medications for this condition, these treatments may also be a contributing factor to your dry skin symptoms.


Resolutions for dry and flaky skin

Due to the many scientific discoveries in skincare research in the past few decades (and even years), there are more solutions than ever before to help get rid of dry skin for good. At most, being able to maintain it so that you can enjoy all your favorite activities without being concerned about how your skin will react.  

Logging your symptoms on a daily basis can help determine what may be causing skin reactions more than other factors. This way, you will know if you need to seek help further or if it’s something you can take care of on your own. It can be easy to forget or not notice little things we do or even use on our bodies that can have adverse reactions to our skin.

If you feel what is causing your dry skin can’t be solved by just your perseverance and actions alone, it is helpful to consult a dermatologist or skincare professional. Some conditions, such as psoriasis, can be severe, especially in drier months. Prescription remedies, both orally and topically, are sometimes required to keep a skin condition at bay.

In other instances, simply using the right serums, moisturizers and creams can go a long way in retaining moisture in the skin. Our Caviar Mult-Balm Stick and Vitality Blend Renewal Facial Oil offer both hydration and moisturizing remedies. Both products are intended to help with anti-aging symptoms while also containing properties that increase moisture levels in the skin.


Conclusion : why is my face dry and peeling?

Dry skin can not only make those who suffer from it self-conscious, but it can also be a debilitating condition that gets in the way of everyday activities. There’s no reason to let these conditions keep you from living your life and getting tasks accomplished. What works for some won’t work for others and for some patients, it will take more investigating to decipher what steps need to be taken in order to maintain healthy moisturization levels, preventing future breakouts and skin irritation. Seek professional assistance to better understand why your skin is dry and peeling.