Dry Skin Care Tips
Dry skin (xerosis) usually isn't serious but it can be uncomfortable and unsightly turning plump cells into shriveled ones and creating fine lines and wrinkles. The dry areas may result in dermatitis, i.e. the skin becomes red and itchy. This may result in a crazy-paving appearance on the lower legs ('eczema craquelé) or round patches scattered over the trunk and limbs (a dry form of nummular dermatitis ). Fortunately, most dry skin results from environmental factors that can be wholly or partially controlled. These include exposure to hot or cold weather with low humidity levels, long-term use of air conditioning or central heating, and excessive bathing.
Dry skin has a low level of sebum and can be prone to sensitivity. The skin has a parched look caused by its inability to retain moisture. It usually feels "tight" and uncomfortable after washing unless some type of moisturizer or skin cream is applied. Chapping and cracking are signs of extremely dry, dehydrated skin. Dryness is exacerbated by wind, extremes of temperature and air-conditioning, all of which cause the skin to flake, chap and feel tight. This type of skin is tightly drawn over bones. It looks dull, especially on the cheeks and around the eyes. There may be tiny expression lines on these spots and at the comers of the mouth.
Dry skin is a very common skin problem. Your skin needs moisture to stay smooth and supple, and retaining moisture is especially difficult in winter. Dry skin can affect any part of the body, as the only significant oil glands we have are on the "T-zone" of the central face, armpits, and groin. For some people it may be a symptom of a hereditary or chronic dry skin condition such as eczema , psoriasis or contact dermatitis . For others, it is something that they suffer from at some point in their lives. Different people suffer to a different degree, but generally the same symptoms occur. The wrong moisturizing lotion can have the same effect. Generally, water-based lotions (Lubriderm, Keri lotion, others) are best cosmetically but oil-based creams are more effective in trapping moisture.
Causes of Dry Skin
The common Causes of Dry-Skin
- Dry skin is more common in those with an underactive thyroid or with excessive weight loss.
- A change in season can also cause dry skin.
- Dry skin is more susceptible in cool weather with low humidity.
- Medications and excessive air travel can cause dry skin.
- As we age dry skin increases, resulting in decreased natural lubrication and a dehydrated, tight dry skin.
- Excessive bathing, showering or swimming (especially in strongly chlorinated water) exacerbates a dry skin condition.
- Frictional irritation and chapping results from dry skin.
Symptoms of Dry Skin
Some common Symptoms of Dry-Skin
- A feeling of skin tightness, especially after showering, bathing or swimming.
- Itching (pruritus) that sometimes may be intense .
Treatment of Dry Skin
- Avoiding harsh soaps, detergents, and perfumes, which tend to dry the skin.
- Reduce how often you bath or shower, and use lukewarm water. Showers may be better than baths.
- Applying a salicylic acid solution or cream (which removes the top layer of skin) - if the skin is scaly.
- Replace standard soap with a substitute such as a synthetic detergent cleanser, water-miscible emollient, bath oil, anti-pruritic tar oil, etc.
- Avoiding rubbing or scratching the skin, which can aggravate the symptoms and cause infection .
- The doctor can prescribe an Alpha hydroxyacid lotion for your skin which will dissolve the scales and will increase the moisture content of your skin.
- Apply an emollient liberally and often, particularly after bathing, and when itchy. The drier the skin, the thicker this should be, especially on the hands.
- Treat eczematous patches with a topical steroid for a 5 to 15 day course. These are prescribed by your doctor and should be only applied to the red and itchy areas.
Dry Skin Care Tips
- Use a mild soap because soaps can dry the skin. Try to use a mild, superfatted soap or non-soap cleanser.
- Moisturize immediately after bathing are most effective for trapping water in the skin.
- To minimize the irritating effects of shaving on already dry skin, make sure to use a lubricating agent like shaving cream before starting and shave in the direction that hair grows.
- Avoid hot water, because it removes natural skin oils more quickly.
- Prolonged showers or baths hydrate the skin, but the evaporation process and towel drying the skin. Therefore, bathing and showering should be kept brief, between 5 and 10 minutes.