Dry skin occurs when skin doesn’t retain sufficient moisture and becomes tight, scaly, flaky, or a combination of these. If we don’t care for dry skin it may lead to other issues and become quite uncomfortable. Therefore, we need to have a skincare routine for dry skin that works for our particular needs.
Dry skin is often temporary and really dependent on the environment. For example, being in a dry arid climate or during cold winters the skin will dry up more than if you are in a humid area during the summer.
Some people experience dryness as a long term even chronic condition. Which can become a health concern since the protective barrier is compromised and the body is exposed to bacteria and other particles that activate your immune system.
So, we want to make sure our skin is hydrated and for that, we need to care for it properly. We have to look at internal and external factors that will help and ease the dryness. So let’s start by looking at what causes dry skin first.
What causes dry skin
Our skin is the largest organ in our body and a very complex one, to say the least. It is made up of multiple layers of cells, proteins, sugars acids, and lipids (fats). All these components work together to create a protective barrier from the environment.
The top layer of the skin is made of cells and natural oils that trap moisture. And if there is not enough water our skin becomes dry, itchy, and flaky. This happens when we don’t have the necessary healthy fats in the top layer of the skin, or if there is a dysfunction.
These are internal factors that can be a result of not having enough lipids in our diet or not drinking enough water. However, there are also external factors that can cause dryness such as:
- hard water
- excessive use of harsh soap
- self-care/cleaning products
- exposure to irritants
- bathing habits
Medical conditions can also be the cause of dry skin. Some of these conditions are directly associated with the skin, for example, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. And there are other conditions that may or may not affect the skin, such as diabetes, kidney diseases, and eating disorders.
It is very easy to identify dry skin and most of us have experienced some degree of dryness in our lifetime. Depending on our age, skin tone, the environment where we live, exposure to sun and weather, health condition, etc. these signs and symptoms may vary.
Also, whatever is causing our dryness will have an impact on how our skin looks and feels. Studies have found that the most common symptoms are:
- Tight skin
- Rough to touch
- Ashy looking
- Flaky or scaly
- Fine lines or cracks
For people with severe dryness, these symptoms can become really uncomfortable and cause further issues. Itchiness can affect one’s quality of life. Cracks become bigger and deeper, which may bleed. Also, this leaves the skin exposed to bacteria that can cause infections.
How to care for dry skin
With the right self-care, some cases of dry skin can improve significantly in just a couple of weeks. Simple changes in one’s lifestyle can be all we need to do. For those with more severe or chronic dry skin, there are a few different things we can do to minimize and eliminate the dryness.
First of all, let’s talk about the most obvious and often least considered things we can do for our skin.
Look at what is on your plate (and cup).
As we mentioned before, most cases of dry skin are due to a lack of fats and water on our skin. So, we need to keep an eye on our water intake throughout the day and make sure we are hydrating properly.
Say goodbye to long showers.
As odd as it sounds, long showers or baths are not good for your skin. Being exposed to water for this long, especially warm and hot water, will strip your skin from its natural oils and further dry it. So keep it short and sweet, and cold when possible.
Check your environment
Cold, windy, and dry weather is very harsh on the skin. It is very common to experience dry skin during winter months or in arid, deserted areas. To avoid this, you can cover with appropriate clothing to make sure the moisture stays on your skin.
Check your environment while inside
Heaters and air conditioners pull the moisture from the environment, therefore they also pull the moisture from your skin. Either turning down these appliances or using a humidifier can help keep moisture in the room.
Get rid of harsh chemicals
A lot of the products that we use for self-care and to clean around us are made out of really harsh chemicals that can really affect our skin cells and also strip off the healthy oils from it resulting in dry irritated skin. Check for things like fragrances, soaps, cleansers, laundry detergents, toners; anything and everything that comes in direct contact with your skin.
Keep the moisture on your skin
This might seem we are stating the obvious, but for people experiencing dry skin creating a barrier that seals in the moisture in the skin is key. There are many moisturizers you could use, however, as mentioned before we also want to stay away from harsh chemicals.
Our favorite product to help create this protective barrier is using the Multi-Purpose Ointment. It is made of just four natural ingredients that provide lasting nourishment and hydration for the skin. It won’t clog your pores, allowing the skin to breathe and release any toxins that could be harmful to your overall health.
When it comes to caring for our skin, keeping it simple is better. Creating healthy routines, eating healthy food, drinking enough water, exercising, and sweating regularly are great ways to support our skin cells.
And make sure you have identified what is causing your skin to dry so you can better manage the symptoms and regain healthy smooth skin that is comfortable and fun to do life in.