The fall season again brings colder temperatures and drier air and with it, dry, flaking, and even tight feeling skin that's just begging to be moisturized. But there are several places on your body where flaking skin probably isn’t dry skin AND in those cases, moisturizing not only may not help, but moisturizing can actually make the condition worse!
The most common area where annoying flaking isn’t dry skin is your scalp. When most people see flaking from their scalp they complain of having a dry scalp. But what they really have is dandruff. The flaking from dandruff ironically is from excess oil production, not a lack of moisture. This excess oil causes inflammation in the scalp skin which then causes premature shedding of the inflamed surface skin cells. When that happens, they fall off in large clumps which is exactly what a flake is… a large clump of dead skin cells that are stuck together in the shape of a sheet. So don’t bother even trying to moisturize your scalp if you see flaking… it ‘ll only make the dandruff worse. Instead use a dandruff shampoo regularly.
Flaking next to the nose and between and along the eyebrows usually isn’t dry skin, and believe it or not… it’s usually actually dandruff of your facial skin. In this case, a moisturizer will hide the appearance of the flakes for an hour or two, but as the moisturizer wears off, the flakes become visible again and sometimes they even become worse. So for facial dandruff, use over the counter ketoconizole cream… an antifungal cream that actually helps dandruff… or temporarily try an over the counter 1% cortisone cream.
And last, if the soles of your feet are flaky, I can almost promise you that it’s athletes foot… a common, chronic fungal infection… not dry skin. Moisturizers again here hide the flakes temporarily but the moisture in moisturizers actually makes athlete’s foot worse. Instead, use that same ketoconizole cream at bedtime to treat it… and in the morning, try a 10% glycolic gel to help dissolve the flakes and make the ketoconizole work even better.
Remember… not all that flakes is dry!