Dry skin can be a frustrating and uncomfortable issue to deal with, but it’s a common problem that many people face. Factors such as weather, age, and genetics can contribute to dryness, leading to flaky, itchy, and irritated skin. The good news is that there are many remedies and solutions available to help you treat and manage dry skin. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the causes of dry skin, share some tips and tricks how to treat dry skin, and provide advice on how to maintain healthy, hydrated skin.
What kinds of dry skin exist?
Forms of dry skin include:
Contact dermatitis happens when an irritant or allergen comes into touch with your skin. There’s a chance you’ll get a skin rash in addition to dry, itchy, and red skin. Examples include jewelry metals (nickel), cosmetics, detergents, and pharmaceuticals.
Eczema / Atopic Dermatits is a set of skin disorders characterized by red, dry, bumpy, and itchy areas of skin. In its most severe forms, it can cause the skin to crack, making the patient more vulnerable to secondary infections. Irritants, allergies, and stress can all make this common skin issue worse. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermatitis)
Seborrhoeic dermatitis: Dandruff (in adults) and cradle cap (in infants) are two conditions that can cause dry skin on the scalp. Dry, flaky patches of skin might appear on your face, chest, and the inside of your arms, legs, and groin if you have seborrhoeic dermatitis. It can also affect your navel, though less frequently (belly button). Inflammatory dermatitis develops when your immune system attacks the naturally occurring yeast on your skin. Read more ((Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermatitis))
Athlete’s foot is a fungus that can seem like dry skin on your feet. The term “ringworm” is used to describe the condition in which this fungus develops on the body. Athletes may experience dry, flaky skin on the bottoms of their feet. (Source: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/athletes-foot/)
What are the Causes of Dry Skin?
Before we dive into treatment options for itchy skin, it’s essential to understand what causes dry skin. Some common factors include:
- Weather: Cold, dry air can cause your skin to lose moisture, leading to dryness and irritation.
- Age: As we age, our skin produces less oil, making it more prone to dryness.
- Genetics: Some people have a genetic predisposition to dry skin.
- Harsh soaps and detergents: Some products can strip your skin of its natural oils, causing dryness and irritation.
- Hot showers and baths: Prolonged exposure to hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness.
Understanding these causes can help you identify and avoid certain triggers, making it easier to manage your dry skin in your daily skin care routines.
Tips and Tricks for Treating Dry Skin
1. Choose gentle, hydrating skincare products
When selecting skincare products, opt for gentle, fragrance-free cleansers and moisturizers formulated specifically for dry or sensitive skin. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides, shea butter, and cocoa butter which help to lock in moisture and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier.
2. Moisturize frequently
It is really necessary to moisturize in order to maintain the hydration and health of your skin. Using a moisturizer when your skin is still damp from a shower or bath is the best way to seal in moisture. Instead of lotions, you should look for creams and ointments because they tend to be more successful at locking in moisture. Dont use products which contain ingredients that lead to skin dehydration like isopropyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol or sulfates. Not to mention additives such as fragrances which even can contribute to irritation and sometimes even allergic reactions.
Coconut oil’s EFAs are great for skin, too, because they help retain moisture and act as a barrier. If you want to keep your skin hydrated, talk to your doctor about adding it to your diet. It can also be used topically as a moisturizer.
Olive oil‘s high concentration of essential fatty acids makes it a wonderful moisturizer, and its hydrating properties are especially welcome in the winter when skin may become dry and brittle. Grape Seed Oil has a high concentration of polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant that shields the skin from pollution and other irritants. The dry air of winter is another time when aloe vera gel might be useful. Previous research has shown that it can reduce indications of aging, acne outbreaks, and skin damage in addition to calming down redness and irritation caused by excessive dryness.
Use of antioxidants or alpha hydroxy acid in skin care products may help those with mature skin avoid the dreaded scaling and flaking that comes with aging. Petroleum jelly, otherwise known as mineral oil, has been used as a moisturizer for years. In 2017, researchers found that the skin barrier in older people improved after they used petroleum jelly (Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26431582/). This finding supports the use of petroleum jelly to treat dry skin, especially when caused by aging. Retinoids, antioxidants, peptides, and other chemicals are frequently added to moisturizers to create wrinkle creams.
3. Limit hot showers and baths
Although though it may be tempting to luxuriate in a long, hot shower or bath, doing so might deplete your skin of its natural oils, which can cause dryness. Instead, choose shorter showers and baths with warm (not hot) water for your skin care, and make sure to moisturize afterward.
4. Use a humidifier
Adding moisture to the air can help combat the drying effects of indoor heating during the colder months. Use a humidifier in your bedroom or other frequently-used living spaces to maintain a comfortable humidity level.
5. Exfoliate gently
Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin using a chemical, granular substance, or exfoliation tool. Your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells to make room for new cells every 30 days or so. Sometimes, dead cells don’t shed completely.
Exfoliating can help remove dead skin cells and promote the absorption of moisturizers, but it’s important to do so gently. Avoid harsh scrubs and opt for a gentle exfoliator or a mild chemical exfoliant, such as an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) product. Be sure to limit exfoliation to no more than once or twice a week to avoid irritation.
6. Wear protective clothing
Dryness and irritation of the skin can be avoided in part by protecting it from the environment. Use gloves, a scarf, and other layers of warm clothing when the weather is cold and dry to protect your skin from the harsh elements.
Choose materials that are gentle on your skin. Your skin can breathe thanks to natural fibers like cotton. While being natural, wool can occasionally irritate even healthy skin. Laundry detergents with colours or scents can be irritating to the skin, so it’s best to avoid them. The word “free” is frequently used in the names of these goods.
Reduce itching. Use a clean, cool, wet cloth to the area that is itchy if your skin is dry. You might also use an anti-itch lotion or ointment that has at least 1% hydrocortisone.
Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 when the weather is sunny is the best way to protect your skin from the drying effects of the sun.
7. Stay hydrated
Consuming a sufficient amount of water is vital to maintaining general health, and it can also assist in keeping the skin hydrated. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water each day, each of which should be 8 ounces (250 ml), and think about including foods that are high in water content, such as fruits and vegetables, in your diet.
8. Avoid harsh soaps and detergents
Choose soaps and detergents that are mild, fragrance-free, and made specifically for people with sensitive skin when you are shopping. Your skin’s natural oils can be stripped away by harsh cosmetics, which can cause dryness and irritation. Companies like Neutrogena, Biotherm or Eucerin are quite popular for selling soaps that are very friendly to your skin.
9. Use Aloe Vera to Dry, Irritated Skin
While aloe vera gel is most commonly associated with soothing sunburns, it also works well as a moisturizer during the cold, dry months of winter. Previous studies have shown that it can reduce the appearance of age, acne, and skin injuries, all by calming the skin’s natural response to extreme dryness. You might want to do a patch test before applying aloe to a broad area of skin, according to Shainhouse, as some people develop allergic contact dermatitis, a kind of eczema. (Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33066720/)
10. Use Milk Compresses
Milk has inherent anti-inflammatory effects. Lactic acid, a gentle, natural exfoliator, is also present. In a 14-day controlled study published in the August 2020 Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, the use of a lactic-acid and ceramide-containing lotion twice daily was found to significantly improve skin hydration while eliminating dead skin cells, suggesting lactic-acid products may provide exfoliating benefits. Yet, more, more extensive study over a longer period of time is required to corroborate these findings.
Lactic acid is “one of the most hydrating [alpha-hydroxy acids] on the market.” It is one of the safest acids for sensitive skin and it is safe to take while pregnant.
The Cincinnati Health Institute suggests making a milk compress by soaking a clean fabric (such as a washcloth or towel) in a bowl of chilled milk and then applying it to any dry areas. Shainhouse suggests applying these compresses to your skin for 5–10 minutes at a time. It’s perfect for soothing red, itchy skin that’s been inflamed.
Maintaining Healthy, Hydrated Skin
In addition to the tips and tricks mentioned above, maintaining a consistent skincare routine can help keep your skin healthy and hydrated. This should include:
- Cleansing your skin daily with a gentle, hydrating cleanser
- Applying a moisturizer immediately after bathing or showering
- Using sunscreen daily to protect your skin from sun damage
- Being mindful of your skin’s needs and adjusting your routine accordingly
By incorporating these tips and tricks into your daily routine, you can take proactive steps to treat and manage dry skin. With a little effort and persistence, you’ll be on your way to healthy, hydrated, and comfortable skin.
If you are interested into keeping your Hair at least as healthy as your skin, I recommend reading our blog post about 17 Tips to keep your Hair healthy.
- Dry Skin (Xeroderma): Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention (clevelandclinic.org)
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