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Symptoms usually worsen or are more pronounced in cold, dry environments and tend to improve or even resolve in warm, humid environments. Although symptoms range in severity and complexity from type to type, the main symptoms include:

  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Tile-like, small scales (see Image A)
  • Scales colored white, dirty gray or brown — with darker-colored scales typically on darker skin (appearing on the trunk, stomach, buttocks, legs, face and scalp)
  • Flaky scalp
  • Deep, painful cracks in your skin
  • Skin redness
  • Blisters
  • Peeling
  • Itchiness
  • Pain
  • Tight skin

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Complications due to the scaling of the skin include:

  • Skin infections, especially with bacteria
  • Dehydration
  • Blocked sweat glands, which can lead to overheating
  • Slow hair growth or loss of hair (alopecia) from scales on the scalp
  • Burning more calories, because the skin has to work harder to turn over cells

Other complications include:

  • Vision loss (due to corneal damage)
  • Brain and nervous system issues

Learn About Skin Conditions

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