Dry skin is caused by an impaired skin barrier and dysfunction or deficiency in the necessary healthy fats in the top layer of the skin. The top layer of skin is made up of dead cells and natural oils, which help trap moisture to keep the skin soft and smooth. Dry skin is also caused by environmental factors like hot or cold weather and low moisture in the air.
The skin needs water and naturally occurring oils to keep it soft, supple, and stretchy. Without moisture and oils, skin can dry out. Symptoms of dry skin include patches of itchy or scaly skin, loose and wrinkled skin, flaky skin with a rough texture, skin that sting, cracks in the skin, peeling skin and redness.
Dry skin can be a result of;
· Genetics; mutations in genes controls the production of the protein filaggrin and also plays a role in forming and hydrating the skin barrier which leads to several skin conditions. People with these mutations, suffer drier skin and have a greater chance of developing eczema. It is important to moisturize daily and always look for ceramides and lipids in moisturizers which help in building and reinforcing skin barrier.
· Acne medication; our skins tend to dry out a lot because of the acne treatments we are using and this often happens when you are using the product for the first time like retinol and salicylic acid known for treating acne. You don’t have to stop the skincare routine, just reduce the frequency of use from every day to every other day depending on your skin type.
· Age; as we age (as seen in women), our skin becomes drier and thinner due to hormonal conditions that come with menopause like hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. When moisturizing use products that contain ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin and petrolatum. These ingredients help replenish lost moisture and quickly repair the skin barrier.
· Exposure to water; taking long showers of 10 to 15 minutes can actually dry out the skin and also hot water can cause the skin to become cracked. Long, hot showers and baths strip away the skin’s natural oils, which leads to dry skin.
· Other Medical Conditions; sometimes, dry skin is a symptom of another medical condition like eczema which can cause your skin to become dry. Dry skin can also be caused by medical conditions that aren’t typically associated with the skin like diabetes, malnutrition and kidney failure.
· Weather; Forced air, especially heat, can draw humidity levels down, making skin feel dry and itchy. Skin tends to be driest in winter, when temperatures and humidity levels plummet. But the season may not matter as much if you live in desert regions.
· Harsh soaps; soap is basically is meant to remove dirt and excess oil from our bodies. When you use harsh soaps they excessively remove oil from our bodies making them dry. It’s important to carefully choose face washes, body washes, and laundry detergents.
· Dehydration; when you don’t take enough water, you become dehydrated and this affects the normal functioning of the body. It is always advisable for one to always take a lot of water during the day at least 8 glasses of water to stay hydrated.
The following remedies can help keep your skin from getting dry;
· Moisturize immediately after bathing; when the body is still dump that’s the best time to moisturize in order to be able to trap the moisture or seal water from a bath into the skin to keep it from drying.
· Limit showers to no more than five minutes and keep the water temperature warm, not hot. Afterwards apply a moisturizing cream. Moisturizers work best on damp skin.
· Stay away from products that are not fragrance free and harsh soaps that tend to remove excess oil from our bodies. Always opt for bath or shower gels with added moisturizers and choose mild soaps with added oils and fats.
· Avoid wool clothing because they irritate the skin and they don’t allow the skin to breath. Opt for cotton, silk or natural fiber clothing. Wash your clothes with detergents that have no perfumes or dyes in them because they can irritate the skin.
· Use humidifier; humidifiers when attached to a furnace add moisture to the air inside your home because hot and dry indoor air can dry up the skin and worsen itching and flaking.
Dry skin can be dealt with mostly by making sure your skins is well moisturized.
Please consult a dermatologist in case your skin does not response to any of these remedies.