Ask Beaut: What are these dry, flaky patches on my skin?

Welcome to our weekly ‘Ask Beaut’ where we try to help with all your beauty dilemmas, troubles and concerns (and if you’ve any to add, you can check out all the original questions here).

In this week's edition, we uncover the solution to dry patches on the skin.

Sarah Asks: 

" Hi Aisling, 

Recently I have started to get dry and flakey patches on my face, mainly around my hair line, eyes and nose, and it's started to get leathery looking and itchy. I don't know why it's happening, what it is or how to fix it? Help!!"

Hi Sarah,

Don't worry, we will find a solution for you. It sounds to me like contact dermatitis. There are three main causes:

  • Allergic contact dermatitis

This occurs when the skin develops an allergic reaction after being exposed to a foreign substance. This causes the body to release inflammatory chemicals that can make the skin feel itchy and irritated. So, something like changing your washing powder, shampoo or skin products could have caused this.

  • Irritant contact dermatitis

Irritant dermatitis is caused when your skin has been subjected to toxic substances such as cleaning agents like bleach or drain cleaner and that kind of thing.

  • Photocontact dermatitis

This is very uncommon; it is a reaction that can occur when the active ingredients in sunscreen are exposed to sunlight.



The solution for this is to figure out what was the cause and eliminate the product that caused it in the first place. Keep the areas in question clean and dry, and do not scratch as it will infect the areas and make them worse.

Anti-itch treatments like calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream can help in mild cases, but if it's more severe, you might need a steroid cream which, depending on the strength, can be bought over the counter in the pharmacy or prescribed by your doctor.





Taking an over the counter antihistamine can help to cut down on itching and reduce your allergic response which can help make the recovery period less stressful. If it gets worse, it might be best to seek medical attention.

Hope that helps, Sarah. Let me know how you get on.

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