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Your skin can be unpredictable, changing from one day to the next. You may have perfectly soft, clear skin, and then suddenly, you notice you’ve developed a rough spot. What could have caused the rough patch of skin? More to the point, what can be done about it?

When rough skin suddenly appear, that’s different than rough skin that’s always been there. A sudden rough spot might be there when you wake up in the morning, or you might notice it first just after you wash your face. The good news is that you’re not alone, as one in three people will experience this phenomenon at some point in their lives. It could just be rough, or it could also be bumpy, red, or even scaly. It could be a small patch by your nose or mouth or in the corners of your eyes, or it could cover your entire face and body. The first step in addressing the problem is to identify its source, so let’s look at a few common causes.

  • Dry air can trigger rough skin. It makes sense that dry air can dry out your skin, and this can cause rough patches. IF you have an underlying condition like eczema or psoriasis, dry air can make it worse.
  • Eczema or psoriasis can make your skin rough. These are both genetic conditions that can lay dormant for years before flaring up. These flare ups can be the result of dry air, lack of sleep, or stress. If you think you may have one of these conditions, talk to a dermatologist about treatment options.
  • Hot water can dry your skin and lead to rough patches. Hot baths and showers, especially when it’s cold outside, can cause the skin to develop rough patches, especially if you aren’t careful about moisturizing after your bath or shower.
  • Your diet may be the culprit. Sometimes, a new food can cause a rough patch on your skin if you’re sensitive to it. Sometimes, especially after a hormonal change, you can develop a new food sensitivity, so pay attention to what you’ve eaten if a rough patch appears.
  • Smoking can cause rough skin. It dries out your skin and causes premature aging. Smoking is terrible for just about every system in your body, so if you smoke, quit.
  • The color of your rough patch can reveal its cause. Red patches, particularly on the inside of the elbows or backs of the knees, can be caused by eczema, while white skin on the knees and elbows is usually the result of dryness. Red skin with white scales may be psoriasis, while a brown rough patch could be actinic keratosis, caused by sun damage.

Once you know why your skin is rough, what can you do about it? The most important thing you can do is see a dermatologist to find the right solution. It could be that you need a prescription soap or cream to solve your problem. It can also help to use all-natural, plant-based products that are fragrance free. Use a humidifier in winter, limit your hot baths and showers, and moisturize immediately after showering or washing your face. Drink plenty of water and eat a nutrient-dense diet to keep your skin clear and healthy.

Whenever you need help caring for your skin, Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology is committed to providing superior, professional skin care in a manner that’s practical, efficient, and compassionate. With over 30 years of experience providing dermatological services in Salt Lake City, we provide a variety of services, from cosmetic skincare to treatment for skin cancer. Our team of board-certified dermatologists and licensed cosmetic service providers are here to provide you the care you need in a comfortable, professional atmosphere. Call (801) 682-4715 or contact us through our website.