Dry, itchy skin—especially if accompanied by flaking, peeling, or a rash—is always unwelcome, perhaps even more so at this time of year. With the sun shining down, plenty to do around downtown Austin, and everyone in sandals, we don’t want a skin condition keeping you from enjoying your day, or even leading to a more serious infection or health problem.
Ironically, one of the most frequent causes of itchy, dry skin is extended exposure to too much moisture! Athlete’s foot, the most common condition leading to dry, itchy feet, is a fungal infection spread through contact with infected surfaces. Since the fungi live predominately in dank environments, that usually means locker rooms, pools, showers, or a pair of shoes that didn’t get enough time to dry out. Even taking showers that are too hot or too long can lead to dry skin, since this actually draws moisture out of your body.
Eczema can also be related to moisture exposure—usually from sweaty shoes—but might also be attributed to particularly hot, dry, and low humidity conditions. This can be an especially difficult, counter-intuitively, during the winter months, as indoor heating (especially when the thermostat is set too high) robs indoor environments of necessary moisture.
A host of underlying medical conditions can also contribute to unusually dry skin. People with thyroid disease or diabetes, for example, tend to have drier-than-usual feet, and dry skin is a natural consequence of aging for most people.
The good news is that, in most cases, careful home treatment appropriate for your specific condition—good hygiene, use of creams or moisturizers, topical antifungals, etc.—is usually effective in relieving your symptoms.
However, when dry, itchy feet are bothering you, especially if you notice scaly patches, flaking, peeling, or signs of infection, visit Keith McSpadden, DPM at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute. A correct diagnosis will allow us to plot the best course of action. You can book an appointment online, or call us at 512-593-2949.