Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:46 am
We all get dry skin at some point or another. It can be caused by overexposure to the sun, extreme weather, or even just washing our hands too often. Luckily, there are a variety of ways we can treat it!
Quick Jump Table
It is common for skin to get dry and the condition is marked by less than the required water in the epidermis (the topmost skin layer). Males and females are equally affected by it. With age, the incidences of having dry skin increases. Elderly people have a less amount of natural lubricants and oil in the skin. Areas like the hands, lower legs and arms are more prone to have dry skin. Atmospheric humidity also affects the dryness of the skin. It is called xerosis dermatitis or xeroderma.
It might be temporary and mild and may last for some days. Sometimes, it can become a severe long-term problem. Dry skin symptoms encompass itching, discomfort, and skin tightness. Winters and dry, cold air also affects your skin, and the result is dry skin.
Why Dry Skin Occurs?
Dry Skin Causes – Individuals who wash or sanitize their hands more often can experience a greater degree of dry skin.
- Medications may also induce this condition.
- The epidermis layer of the skin normally has protein and fat, which prevents dehydration in the skin. When the fatty oils in the skin are removed, the moisture and protection of the skin are lost. The skin becomes more sensitive and breakdowns easily when it gets dried. It might cause the skin to become powdered or may be invisible.
- A red rash may appear if dry skin is left untreated. Simple treatment and prevention measures have been effective in dry skin treatment.
- Avoid chemical cleaners and harsh soaps is an effective way to prevent dry skin. Moisturizers and bland emollient application regularly have shown effectiveness in treating the condition.
- Cellulitis, bacterial infections and eczema might be complications arising from dry skin. Thankfully, dry skin is mild and the remedies are easy.
- Generalized winter itching is also called winter itch and can be seen commonly among older people. It is mainly caused due to dry skin.
- People suffering from eczema may also experience a winter itch.
- Cold temperature and low humidity can make dry skin worse in winters.
Types of Dry Skin
Exposure to dry weather, hot water, and certain chemicals can cause your skin to dry out. Dry skin can also result from underlying medical conditions. Dermatitis is the medical term for extremely dry skin. There are several types of dermatitis.
- Contact Dermatitis – Contact dermatitis develops when your skin reacts to something it touches, causing localized inflammation. Irritant contact dermatitis can occur when your skin’s exposed to an irritating chemical agent, such as bleach. Allergic contact dermatitis can develop when your skin is exposed to a substance you’re allergic to, such as nickel.
- Seborrheic dermatitis – Seborrheic dermatitis occurs when your skin produces too much oil. It results in a red and scaly rash, usually on your scalp. This type of dermatitis is common in infants.
- Atopic dermatitis – Atopic dermatitis is also known as eczema. It’s a chronic skin condition that causes dry scaly patches to appear on your skin. It’s common among young children.
Note: Other conditions, such as psoriasis and type 2 diabetes, can also cause your skin to dry out.
Is Dry Skin a Serious Health Issue?
Dry skin is usually not a serious health issue, but it can produce serious complications, such as chronic eczema (red patches) or bleeding from fissures that have become deep enough to disrupt capillaries in the dermis. Another complication is a secondary bacterial infection (redness, swelling, and pus), which may require antibiotics. (Rarely, dry skin is associated with allergy)
Consult to dermatologist if you notice any of these symptoms or if measures you take at home provide no relief. For severe dry skin, your dermatologist may prescribe a cream containing lactic acid, urea, or corticosteroids. Always use sunscreen even in the winter to protect your skin.
9 Best Tips for Treating Dry Skin Naturally
Here are some ways to combat dry skin that are effective if practiced consistently.
- Use a humidifier in the winter. Set it to around 60%, a level that should replenish the top layer of the skin.
- Limit yourself to one 5- to 10-minute bath or shower daily. If you bathe more than that, you may strip away much of the skin’s oily layer and cause it to lose moisture. Use lukewarm rather than hot water, which can wash away natural oils.
- Minimize your use of soaps; Choose to moisturize preparations such as Dove, Olay, and Basis, or consider soap-free cleansers like Cetaphil, Oilatum-AD, and Aquanil. Steer clear of deodorant soaps, perfumed soaps, and alcohol products, which can strip away natural oils.
- To avoid damaging the skin, stay away from bath sponges, scrub brushes, and washcloths. If you don’t want to give them up altogether, be sure to use a light touch. For the same reason, pat or blot (don’t rub) the skin when towelling dry.
- Apply moisturizer immediately after bathing or washing your hands. This helps plug the spaces between your skin cells and seal in moisture while your skin is still damp.
- To reduce the greasy feel of petroleum jelly and thick creams, rub a small amount into your hands and then rub it over the affected areas until neither your hands nor the affected areas feel greasy.
- Never, ever scratch. Most of the time, a moisturizer can control the itch. You can also use a cold pack or compress to relieve itchy spots.
- Use fragrance-free laundry detergents and avoid fabric softeners.
- Avoid wearing wool and other fabrics that can irritate the skin.
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