Dry Skin

Dry skin is generally a result of reduced water content in skin’s outermost layer. Your skin’s outer layer, the stratum corneum, contains lipids which help keep moisture in or out of the skin. If your body is deficient in these lipids, moisture will either escape or evaporate from your skin, causing it to become dry.

Dry Skin

Types of dry skin

There are different types of dry skin. Dry skin may be a mild and temporary condition, or it can be a more severe long-term problem. Dry skin often has a low level of sebum and can be prone to sensitivity. Dry skin has an inability to retain moisture, giving your skin a parched, rough look. This can cause your skin to feel tight and itchy, leaving many people in pain or discomfort.

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Symptoms

Whether your dry skin is a temporary condition or a long-term issue, there are several common symptoms including;

  • Redness
  • Tightness (most common after showering, bathing and swimming)
  • Fine lines
  • Cracks
  • Looks and feels rough
  • Appears shrunken or dehydrated
  • Itchy (can range from moderate to severe)
  • Flaking, scaling or peeling (can range from moderate to severe)
  • Deep fissures with bleeding (in severe cases)

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Causes

Dry skin is very common and nothing to be embarrassed about. It is attributed to factors such as age, location and health status.

In most cases, dry skin is influenced by environmental exposures; however, certain diseases can also affect the look and feel of your skin significantly. There are many causes of dry skin that include:

  • Your skin's oil glands do not supply enough lubrication; as a result of this the skin can become dehydrated
  • You may get your dry skin from a genetic condition
  • Environmental factors often cause dry skin, when your skin is exposed to sun, wind, the cold or chemicals it can become damaged
  • Conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and seborrhea
  • Certain drugs, including diuretics, antispasmodics, and antihistamines, can contribute to dry skin
  • Showering and bathing in hot water frequently and for long periods at a time
    • Solution: Use warm water and limit bath time (15 min or less is best)
  • Household appliances such as heaters, stoves, fireplaces and air conditioners cause dry skin because they reduce humidity
    • Solution: Use a humidifier
  • Cosmetic products that come in contact with the skin such as soaps (including antibacterial), shampoos, deodorants, dish and laundry detergents
    • Solution: Use gentle soaps with added moisturizers; avoid harsh products
  • Household cleaning products such as dish soap, laundry detergents, bleach, and surface cleansers can be harsh to the skin helping to break down the protective barrier of the skin.
  • Exposure to the natural sun affects the skin as UV rays penetrate the epidermis (the top layer of the skin), causing damage to the dermis (the deep layer of the skin) and breaking down elastin fibers and collagen; this results in skin that appears dry, saggy, loose and deeply wrinkled
    • Solution: Avoid the sun and keep skin moisturized and protected with SPF at all times

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Diet Recommendations

A poor diet can play a role in your dry skin. A deficiency of vitamin A and B can also have an effect on your skin. There are many foods that are good for your skin including:

Dry fruit, nuts grains
Garlic
Water
Fish
Salmon
Eggs
Leafy Greens
Carrots
Berries
Pomegranate Juice
Avocado

  • Eat a balanced diet; make sure to include sufficient fruits and vegetables. A proper balance of protein and carbohydrates is essential to maintaining healthy skin.
  • Drink at least 2 litres of water every day to keep the skin well hydrated

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Skin Aging Concerns

Skin can become more sensitive with age. The lipid barrier can become disrupted as one gets older, leading to dryness and cracking, and therefore permitting easier penetration of potentially irritating particles. Chronic exposure to the sun can thin the skin, making it more sensitive and even more likely to bruise after trauma. In women, hormonal changes, such as decreased estrogen after menopause, can also thin the skin and increase dryness, itching and irritation.

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Treatment for Dry Skin

To prevent dry skin the main form of treatment is to frequently apply a daily moisturizer. Most dry skin is caused by external elements. By applying moisturizer each day, you can effectively control the breakout of dry skin. You can improve the look and feel of your skin to avoid pain and itching, as well as restore your skin’s hydration.

For severe cases of dry skin, see your doctor or dermatologist.

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