Are you having some troublesome dry skin? Find out some causes and skin care tips of having a dry skin.
Take also the quiz to find out for yourself if you have a dry skin. And check also how to relieve dry skin during winter season.
Dry skin can be a blessing but more often it is troublesome. Those with dry skin generally need not worry about blemishes except for the occasional stray that appears from hormonal changes or stress.
But dry skin looks dull and flaky. And worse, it can emphasize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Age and the environment are two factors that contribute to this skin type.
Over time, the sebaceous glands within the dermis layer slow their production of sebum, the body’s natural moisturizer.
The skin’s ability to retain moisture also lessens as we grow older. This is caused by the breakdown of the intracellular matrix, the collagen and elastin layer that helps hold skin tissue together.
When this layer begins to break apart, it becomes more difficult for the skin to hold in moisture. As moisture escapes, skin becomes drier.
The Causes Of Dry Skin
Skin looks dry. Some flakes may be present. It looks weathered and wrinkles appear faster. The skin does not look plump and healthy. A lot of itching is associated with it. This is a typical dry skin.
Those who suffer dry skin try to find out what can be done about it. Nobody loves either dry or oily skin. We all want a normal skin. Let us find out about the causes of dry skin.
Other causes of dry skin include climates that are arid, windy and dry. Use of harsh soaps and detergents and too much unprotected exposure to the sun’s damaging rays can also negatively influence skin. Genetics plays a role as well.
Why the skin becomes dry?
Skin becomes dry for various reasons. The sebum on the skin is getting washed very fast because you might be over washing it. You might be using harsh detergents.
The weather may be playing a role. Dry air will suck the moisture away from the skin. Air conditioners and room heaters produce dry air and that is one cause.
Many skin problems make skin dry. Psoriasis is one of them.
If you have persistent dry skin with flaking you should consult a doctor and find out if there is any underlying skin condition that is causing this. Sometimes, your daily use cosmetics may cause irritation.
Dry Skin Problems
Dry skin causes many problems. Cracks, itching, premature wrinkles, dry and unhealthy look and marks of scratches are few of them.
If you have no diseases that are making your skin dry, you need to address the reasons that make your skin dry and adopt habits to correct the dryness.
With too many roles for a woman to juggle in today’s fast paced, high pressured lifestyle. There is very little time for her to pamper herself.
With tension, worries, anxiety and age, the skin becomes less active leaving it drier, fragile, prone to wrinkle, lines near the eyes and mouth and losing the youthful color and glow.
Failure of oil glands failing to release enough oils to moisturize and protect the skin results in dry skin.
Environmental causes like dry air, harsh wind, hormonal imbalance, usage of aggressive chemicals, cosmetics or excessive bathing with harsh soaps saps the moisture from the skin making it dryer, flakier and chapped during winter.
Dry Skin Care Quiz
Most people who think they know all about dry skin, chapped skin, chafing, redness and other signs of skin dehydration really don’t. Take this quiz to make sure you know who your skin’s enemies are.
The answers are located at the end of the quiz.
1. What is *not* one of the three most common skin types?
2. What is “combination skin”?
a.) Oily to dry
b.) Normal to dry
c.) Oily to moist
d.) Normal to moist
3. Which of the following is not one of the most common locations of dry skin?
a.) Lower legs
d.) Tummy (front of the abdomen)
4. Scaling is a symptom of dry skin that is also most commonly called what?
c.) Cracked skin
d.) Rough skin
5. Which of the following are worst for dry skin in winter (also called “winter itch”)?
b.) Space heaters
d.) Forced-air furnaces
6. The best skin lotions for winter itch are:
a.) Thick and greasy
b.) Light and smooth
c.) Watery and clay-textured
d.) Spray on
7. In order to avoid chafing when drying off, you should:
a.) Only dry lightly; do not dry off all moisture
b.) Dry thoroughly, but pat yourself dry rather than rubbing
c.) Allow as much of the water to evaporate as possible rather than towel-drying most of it off
d.) Dry thoroughly and vigorously to dry as fast as possible
1. a. moist
The most common types of skin are dry, oily, and normal. Knowing your own skin type, you can find out the bath and body lotions that will work best at moisturizing your skin.
2. c. normal to dry
Combination skin means that you have to use a product that moisturizes your skin without being so strong that it can make your skin oily.
3. d. tummy
According to Medline Plus, the most common areas of your body to suffer dry skin are the arms, lower legs, thighs and flanks (sides of the abdomen).
4. b. flaking
According to Medline Plus, scaling, also called flaking, is “visible peeling or flaking of outer skin layers.” Some of the worst sources of scaling are psoriasis, lichen planus, and athlete’s foot.
5. d. forced-air furnaces
According to Medline Plus, dry skin is often caused by the sudden switch from cold to warm air, and in particular the warm dry air of forced-air furnaces.
6. a. thick and greasy
According to Medline Plus, thick and greasy lotions really do the best job of holding moisture into your skin.
7. b. pat, don’t rub
You have to dry off thoroughly to prevent losing skin moisture through evaporation, but rubbing the towel against your skin will damage your epidermis.
How do I know I have dry skin?
First, consider where you live. Windy areas and areas with low humidity cause dryness by stripping skin of its natural oils. Living in areas where winters are cold causes skin trouble as well.
Even if you don’t spend much time outdoors, interior heaters as well as air conditioning units in hot, dry climates can sap the air of moisture and cause dry skin.
Visible indicators of dry skin include skin that flakes easily. Plus, dry skin often looks tight and taut because pore openings are very tiny.
If you don’t yet see these tell-tale signs of dry skin but you’re at or approaching mid-life, it’s time to start looking.
Caring for Dry Skin
If you have dry skin, proper care involves retaining as much moisture as possible. One way is to avoid using products containing alcohol because alcohol dries.
Recommended ingredients for dry skin include alpha hydroxy, lactic acids, petroleum, lanolin and glycerin so take the time to read product labels.
Dry skin won’t always feel like it needs to be cleansed but it does, twice daily, morning and night. Using a gentle cleanser made especially for skin that’s dry, cleanse using warm, not hot water.
Finish off with a cool rinse. It’s never a good idea to use hot water to clean any type of skin or to soak in a tub because doing so will only strip skin of its natural oils.
After washing your skin, pat it dry using a soft towel. Then apply a light moisturizer. Those containing Vitamin E are excellent choices.
If you wear make-up choose foundations that contain the moisturizing ingredients mentioned above.
A well-balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds and nuts provides the body with all the necessary vitamins and minerals needed for healthy skin.
Help keep skin hydrated by drinking water and increasing your consumption of high water content foods such as cucumbers and watermelon. Drinking water and reducing solar exposure to a minimum is also beneficial.
Most fruits and vegetables are excellent hydrating foods plus they’re excellent sources of important vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
Antioxidants are crucial in helping maintain the skin’s intracellular matrix. Garlic, onions, eggs and asparagus help to keep the skin smooth and youthful.
Carrots, apricots, rich in vitamins A, C keep the skin supple. Increase intake of foods like leafy raw green veggies, dairy products like yogurt or milk.
Lessen fried foods, soft drinks, sugar, chocolates, junk foods, alcohol, caffeine and other foods that have diuretic effecting causing the body and skin to lose fluids, vitamins, and essential minerals.
Below are more tips on how to take care of dry skin:
- Cleanse and Moisturize: The dry skin should be cleansed with a cold cream and alcohol-free skin fresheners to remove the cream. After cleansing, the skin needs a lubricating emollient or a moisturizer when the face is damp after the wash.
- Splash your face with cold water or gently wipe the skin with rose water to tone the skin nicely.
- Avoid using highly alkaline soaps and detergents like washing sodas and powders.
- Avoid the sun, harsh winds and hot baths. Use oil-based creams and make-up products only. Use soft towels or washcloth to avoid irritation to the skin while wiping it.
- Smoking deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients it needs for good health making the skin dry and leathery.
- Chapped or cracked skin – increase consumption of water. Keep chapped areas well lubricated and protected from the elements using a good nourishing cream or moisturizer.
- Use creamy, mild, pH-balanced products such moisture based cream gels, lotions, etc for dry skin care.
Relieving Dry Skin And Winter Itch
The winter air can leave a chill in the air and on your skin that chaps and chafes our skin.
The additional heat, can warm your hearts and your home, but dry out the air and again, your skin, leaving it dehydrated and dry.
And, in both cases, you can experience a common condition known as winter itch.
According to experts, dry skin is a direct by-product of a loss of moisture.
They note, that depending on which layer (dermis or epidermis) the water content of the skin can vary, but is estimated at 80% for the epidermis, but much dry for the dermis, or surface layer of skin.
In fact, according to the experts, the dermis is comprised of dead skin cells and has a water content of about 10-30 percent.
When the outer layer, the stratum corneum dries out, it loses its luster and results in dry skin. And, skin that is low on water and dry will fissure, making it more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections.
Moisturizers can help re-hydrate the skin preventing further water loss and dryness.
While some may result in skin swelling slightly reducing fine line and wrinkles and making pores appear smaller, they do not repair sun damage.
However, they can also help skin feel softer and smoother. And experts notes the four target areas moisturizers generally address.
1. Skin barrier repairs
2. Increasing water content
3. Diminishing amount of water loss
4. Restoring skin’s capacity to attract, hold and redistribute water.
And, experts offer the following suggestions for dealing with dry skin and winter itch.
- Refrain from hot tubs and hot baths. While the heat may feel soothing, it actually serves to strip your skin of essential oils and depletes it of water, making skin drier and matters worse.
- Lather your ligaments while still wet. Applying moisturizer to damp skin helps seal in the moisture.
- Creamy, rich moisturizers are the best kind. Consider putting some petroleum jelly on your hands covered with cotton gloves while you sleep at night to keep hands supple and smooth.
- Note that moisturizers containing lactic acid or urea can draw water into the skin.
- Moisturize hands after each washing or when coming in from the cold.