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Introduction to Dry Skin


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Dry skin is a condition of the skin that causes discomfort, cracking, itching, and skin scaling. It mainly happens when the skin is not providing enough sebum. Sebum is natural oil produced by the skin to keep it hydrated and protect it from infections.

While some people may have naturally dry skin, there are some reasons why even people with oily skin may experience dry skin.

Dry skin can affect any part of the body but commonly affects hands, legs, arms, and face. There are different types of dry skin depending on the cause.

  • Contact dermatitis- happens when the skin reacts to something it comes into contact with, which causes localized inflammation. For the irritant contact dermatitis, it happens when the substance is irritant, like bleach. However, allergic contact dermatitis happens when the substance is something you are allergic to.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis- happens when the skin produces so much oil, causing a red, scaly rash, mainly on the scalp.
  • Atopic dermatitis- Also called eczema, this is a chronic skin condition, which results in the appearance of dry, scaly patches on the skin.

Causes

  • Cold weather.
  • Heat.
  • Dry air.
  • Over-washing the skin.
  • Medical conditions like diabetes.
  • Skin conditions like eczema.
  • Using harsh chemicals and soaps on the face.
  • Unbalanced skin ph.
  • Smoking.
  • Genetics.
  • Age.
  • Medication.
  • Mineral or vitamin deficiency.
  • Too much sun exposure.

Symptoms

  • Skin feeling tight, especially after taking a shower or swimming- The tightness may be accompanied by shiny skin, and it hardly goes away even after moisturizing.
  • Fine lines ad itching- Dry skin has lost so much moisture, causing dehydration, which causes fine lines and itching on the affected part of the skin.
  • Rough texture and flakes- When the skin loses too much moisture, it begins to flake off and have a rough texture.
  • Cracks- The skin shrinks as it becomes more and more dehydrated, which results in cracks. Those cracks may deepen and even bleed.
  • Pain, burning, and stinging sensation- Dry skin, especially on soft parts of the skin, gets a burning and stinging sensation when something, even water, touches it.
  • Wrinkles with loose and a rough texture- Due to excessive dehydration, the skin wrinkles and becomes loose with time.
  • Peeling- When the skin becomes too dry, it eventually becomes dead cells, and the body gets rid of it to replace it with new skin, causing peeling.
  • Infections- Due to the cracks and skin peeling, the skin’s inner parts are exposed, which increases exposure to bacteria that causes infections. Signs include swelling, yellowish crusts on the skin, discoloration, and pus.

Prevention

Practice good bathing habits

How you bath largely affects how your skin looks and feels because that is the only time you have contact with all of it. To ensure you do not get dry skin from bathing, stop using hot water. Instead, use lukewarm water.

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Hot water strips the skin of all its natural oils like sebum, causing it to dry. Also, ensure you do not spend too much time in the shower. Limit that time to 5-10 minutes. After bathing, dry your skin by dubbing with a clean towel instead of rubbing it.

Use gentle products

Even if you do not have sensitive skin, be keen on the products you apply on your skin when bathing and after because they could damage the skin, causing dryness.

Go for fragrance and color-free soaps because the artificial colors and fragrances used to make them may irritate the skin.

Also, check the ingredients on your facial products and stay away from alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, diethanolamine, and triethanolamine. Some of the ingredients you should lean towards include hyaluronic acid, colloidal oatmeal, and ceramides.

Moisturize

Moisturizing is a way of enhancing and locking in your skin’s moisture to make it look and feel hydrated for longer. Moisturize after leaving the shower when your skin is still damp. Also, use gentle products.

You can use over-the-counter moisturizers or even natural ones like aloe Vera, Shea butter, and coconut oil. Petroleum jelly is also another great moisturizer because it stays on the skin longer.

Also, ensure you moisturize at the right time; otherwise, the moisturizer will just be another skin product.

Don’t over-wash or over-exfoliate

Washing your face is important to remove all the dirt, germs, and sweat build-up. It is also important that you exfoliate once in a while. However, overdoing these things can cause dry skin because it rips off the skin’s natural oils.

Use a humidifier

If you feel that the air in your house is too dry, put on a humidifier. Low humidity causes the skin’s moisture to evaporate fast.

Protect yourself from the sun

When going out, ensure you have your sunscreen on, with an SPF of 30-50. You can also protect yourself by wearing long-sleeved clothes or hats.


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