Dry Skin – Causes, Treatments and Prevention

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Overview  

Dry skin is a common dermatological condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide. It is characterised by a lack of moisture and natural oils in the skin, leading to a rough, flaky, and sometimes itchy texture. Whether it is a temporary annoyance or a persistent issue, dry skin can be both uncomfortable and unsightly, impacting a person’s overall well-being and confidence. 

You can have skin that is naturally dry. Any area of your body may be impacted by dry skin. Hands, arms, and legs are frequently impacted. 

Changes in lifestyle and over-the-counter moisturisers may be sufficient treatments in many cases. You should speak with your doctor if those remedies are insufficient. 

Your hands may get dry if you often wash them and use hand sanitiser. Applying moisturiser after each the time you wash your hands can be beneficial. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and effective treatments for dry skin is essential in managing this condition and restore the skin’s health and vitality.  

Types  

Your skin may become dry as a result of exposure to hot water, certain chemicals, and dry weather. Additionally, underlying medical issues might cause dry skin. The medical word for dry skin is dermatitis. Dermatitis comes in a variety of forms. 

Contact dermatitis 

When your skin reacts to whatever it touches, localised inflammation known as contact dermatitis results.Irritant contact dermatitis might develop when your skin is exposed to an irritant chemical substance like bleach.

When your skin comes into contact with any chemical to which you are allergic you might develop allergic contact dermatitis .

Seborrheic dermatitis 

Too much production of oil by your skin leads to develop seborrheic dermatitis. It causes a scaly ,red rash that typically appears on your scalp. Babies frequently develop this kind of dermatitis. 

Atopic dermatitis 

Atopic dermatitis is also known as eczema. Your skin will develop scaly , dry patches due to this chronic skin problem. It is typical in young children. Your skin might also become dry due to other illnesses like psoriasis and type 2 diabetes . 

Causes  

While dry skin may seem like a minor concern, it can lead to discomfort, itchiness, and even more severe complications if left untreated. 

1. Environmental Factors

Environmental factors plays a significant role in causing dry skin. Low humidity levels, especially during winter months or in arid climates, can deprive the skin of moisture. Frequent exposure to hot showers or baths, and detergents and soaps can strip the skin of its natural oils, which leads to dryness. Additionally, excessive exposure to UV radiation and strong winds can further exacerbate the problem by depleting the skin’s moisture levels.

2. Ageing

As we age, our skin undergoes natural changes that contribute to dryness. The production of sebum, a natural oil that keeps the skin moisturised, decreases with age. Moreover, the skin’s ability to retain moisture decreases, leading to a loss of elasticity and increased dryness. Older individuals may also experience the reduced activity of oil and sweat glands, further contributing to dry skin conditions. 

3. Underlying Medical Conditions

​Certain medical conditions can be associated with dry skin. Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition characterised by inflammation and intense itching. It can compromise the skin’s barrier function, making it more susceptible to dryness. Other conditions like psoriasis and hypothyroidism can also contribute to dry skin by disrupting the normal moisture balance. 

4. Overuse of Harsh Skin Care Products

​Using harsh soaps, cleansers, and cosmetic products can disrupt the skin’s natural pH balance and strip away its protective oils. Many of these products contain chemicals and fragrances that can irritate the skin, leading to dryness and inflammation. It is advisable to opt for gentle, fragrance-free products specifically formulated for dry skin to minimise the risk of irritation. 

5. Lifestyle Factors

Certain lifestyle choices can contribute to dry skin. Smoking, for instance, can impair blood flow to the skin and hinder proper nourishment. Excessive alcohol consumption can dehydrate the body, resulting in dry and dull skin. Moreover, poor nutrition and inadequate water intake can also contribute to overall skin dryness. 

Symptoms  

You might just experience dry skin during the winter, for example, or it might require long-term treatment. Dry skin is frequently transient or seasonal. The signs and symptoms of dry skin might change depending on your health, age ,skin tone, atmosphere at home, and sun exposure. They consist of: 

  • Tightening of the skin 
  • Rough-feeling and -looking skin 
  • Itchiness (pruritus) 
  • Skin that is prone to light to severe flaking, which can give dry brown and black skin an ashy appearance. 
  • Scaling or peeling that ranges in severity 
  • The leg has a cracked, “dry riverbed” appearance. 
  • Cracks or fine lines 
  • Skin that varies from greyish on brown and black skin to reddish on white skin 
  • Deep fissures that could bleed 

Diagnosis 

Your doctor will likely check you and inquire about your medical history in order to identify dry skin. You could talk about the onset of your dry skin, what causes it to get better or worse, your bathing routine, and how you take care of your skin. 

Your doctor could advise you to undergo some tests to see whether a medical problem, such as hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), is the root cause of your dry skin. Dry skin is frequently a sign of another skin ailment, like psoriasis or dermatitis. 

Treatment  

Using moisturisers and avoiding taking long, hot baths and showers are two lifestyle changes that can help dry skin. Your doctor might suggest a moisturising cream designed for your needs if you have really dry skin. 

A doctor could recommend using a prescription cream or ointment to treat a significant skin condition if you have it. You could apply a hydrocortisone-containing lotion if your dry skin starts to itch. Your doctor could suggest wet dressings if your skin breaks open in order to assist in avoiding infection. 

Effective tips for healthy and moist skin to prevent and manage dry skin 

Wash your face gently at least twice per day

 Use a mild, alcohol-free, nonfoaming cleanser on your face twice a day and right after you’ve worked up a sweat. Your skin can be repaired with products that include linoleic acid or stearic acid, which are both present in argan oil and shea butter, respectively.

If you have sensitive skin, wash in the evening with a cleanser and simply rinse the rest of the time. Apply any topical medications you’re using while your skin is still damp.

After a brief waiting period (see the drug label for details), apply your moisturiser. If you use cosmetics, think about choosing items with an oil or cream basis. Even on cloudy days, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or a moisturiser that incorporates sunscreen.  

Moisturise

Apply moisturiser frequently throughout the day, particularly when your skin feels dry and right after bathing or washing your hands. Find out from your doctor which products are best for your skin type and condition. Before you find things you like that benefit you and that you’ll use frequently, you might need to try a few. 

Urea, ceramides, fatty acids, glycerol (also known as glycerin), shea butter, and cocoa butter are examples of substances that are therapeutic. Look for fragrance-free, noncomedogenic, and hypoallergenic products that won’t make you break out in pimples. Products with sodium lauryl sulphate should be avoided since they dry the skin. 

Use a humidifier 

Indoor air that is hot and dry can parch delicate skin and make itchiness and peeling worse. You can add moisture to the air in your home by using a portable humidifier or one that is connected to your furnace. 

Use warm water 

The natural oils in your skin are removed by hot water and lengthy showers or baths. No more than once per day and for no more than 5–10 minutes should you take a bath. Use warm water, not boiling. 

Use a moisturising soap free of allergens

 Use hypoallergenic (fragrance-free) moisturising soap for washing your hands. Then, while your hands are still damp, apply a moisturising cream. Try using a non-soap washing lotion or shower gel in the shower or bath, and only use soap in places like the groyne and armpits when necessary. Don’t use loofahs and pumice stones. 

Select clothing that is gentle on your skin

Cotton and other natural fibres can help your skin to breathe. Despite being natural, wool can occasionally irritate even healthy skin. Use laundry detergents free of colours and fragrances which can irritate your skin. The word free is frequently used in the names of these products. 

Alleviate itching 

Apply a fresh, cool, wet cloth to the region if dry skin is making you itchy. Applying an anti-itch lotion or ointment with at least 1% hydrocortisone may also be an option. 

Natural Dry-Skin home remedies   

Creamy Avocado Mask  

 The probiotics and antioxidants in the face mask will help to promote healthy, radiant skin. combining 1/2 avocado with 1/4 cup plain Greek yoghurt (whose lactic acid content may improve skin texture), along with a drizzle of manuka honey and 1 teaspoon of turmeric to improve symptoms of inflammatory skin conditions like eczema. Apply the mixture to clean skin, then wait 5 to 10 minutes before washing it off. 

Coconut Oil and Sugar Scrub  

You could consider using a gentle DIY sugar scrub to treat dead skin cells that might be causing your skin to feel and appear dry. Combining 1/2 cup of coconut oil with 1 cup of brown or granulated sugar. You could add a natural aroma and an essential oil like lavender, which might make you less anxious and feel relaxed .Gently massage the scrub into your skin for at least 30 seconds before rinsing it off with warm water. Finally, to preserve the advantages of recently exfoliated skin, try applying a calming moisturiser. 

Summary  

If you occasionally have dry skin, you can probably avoid and treat it with a few straightforward lifestyle adjustments and over-the-counter moisturisers. Make an appointment with your doctor if you get really dry skin. 

FAQs

1. Can dry skin cause acne?  

Yes, dry skin can cause acne, as blemishes can appear when there is widespread skin damage. 

2. Why is my face so dry?  

Numerous factors can contribute to dry facial skin. These include using harsh soaps, being exposed to fluctuating temperatures or humidity levels, and having skin diseases like eczema. 


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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