Normal to Dry Skin
What causes dry skin
Just about everyone will get dry skin at some point. While the causes of dry skin can be everything from the weather to the products you use, the bottom line is dry skin lacks moisture. The outermost protective layer of the skin (called the epidermis) is made up of dead skin and natural oils that help trap moisture and keep the skin soft and smooth. If there isn’t enough water, or the protective oils are diminished, the skin barrier can become dry and rough with flakes or scales.
Some of the most common causes of dry skin
Weather. Dry air = dry skin. Warm, dry climates and indoor heating and air conditioning can rob the skin of moisture.
Hand Washing. While essential to good hygiene, frequent handwashing removes the lipids that make up the skin barrier.
Swimming. Frequent swimming in heavily chlorinated pools has also been known to dry out the skin.
Health Conditions. Dry, itchy skin is common for many people with conditions like diabetes and kidney disease.
Bathing. Hot baths or long showers, can strip the skin of its natural oils, not to mention certain drying cleansers and soaps.
Harsh Cleanser. Washing with harsh cleansers can be damaging to the skin.
Medication. High blood pressure medications (such as diuretics), cholesterol-lowering drugs, and acne medications (such as retinoids) can dry out the skin.
Age. Our skin produces less natural oils and becomes drier and thinner as we age.
Tips To Help Prevent Dry Skin
One of the best ways to help prevent dry skin is to keep your skin moist and healthy:
- Drink lots of water and eat foods rich in antioxidants and fatty acids that help restore and retain moisture (like blueberries, oranges, salmon and sweet potatoes).
- Use gentle skin care products to cleanse and moisturize your skin.
- Limit your bath or shower to 10 minutes, avoiding hot water and harsh, drying soaps.
- Apply moisturizers immediately after bathing to help trap moisture in the skin.
- Look for hydrating ingredients like glycerin, mineral oil, and dimethicone that help maintain the skin’s moisture barrier.
- Use a humidifier at night to add moisture back into the air.
- Choose fabrics like cotton that are kind to your skin.
- Protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Wear sunscreen every day, all year long.
- Refrain from smoking. Smoking dries the skin and contributes to premature aging.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the skin.