The skin is the largest organ in our body and dry skin is a common issue that can affect anyone. Adding to that, our skin cells are made up of proteins that can get dried out when they are not hydrated. Having dry skin can both be a painful and embarrassing experience but it can be treated or managed by knowing what causes it and how to treat the symptoms.
Dry skin can be an uncomfortable feeling for most or many people. It is a surprisingly common skin condition marked by scaling, itching and cracking. But what causes dry skin and how do we treat them?
Dry skin looks flaky, dull and rough. Depending on the severity of the dryness, the skin can also feel itchy. Dry skin also wrinkles easily, and fine lines tend to be very visible. It’s safe to say that dry skin is more than just an unwelcome nuisance.
Dry skin affects any body parts, most especially hands, arms and legs. Dry skin is also known as dermatitis.
When your pores become clogged acne appears. If you are using acne products that are not right for you, it could lead to dry skin. Dealing with dry skin can be difficult. If you are someone who has to face dry skin and does not know what to do, read on.
There are least 3 types of dry skin/dermatitis
- Contact Dermatitis
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Atopic Dermatitis
1) Contact Dermatitis – This type of dry skin condition develops when your skin reacts to something it gets in contact with such as an irritating chemical agent (i.e irritant contact dermatitis) or when it gets exposed to a substance you are allergic to like nickel (i.e allergic contact dermatitis
2) Seborrheic Dermatitis – This kind of dermatitis occurs when your skin produces too much sebum, resulting in a red and scaly rash usually located on the scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis is most common in infants.
3) Atopic Dermatitis – The skin condition is also known as eczema. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition causing an occurrence of dry scaly patches on your skin. Eczema can be treated with the Banish Fighter Gel.
Why Do We Get Dry Skin?
There are a lot of possible or potential causes for dry skin and here are some of them:
- Harsh soaps and detergents
- Over cleansing
- Lack of moisture
- Extreme heat
- Too many active ingredients
- Sun exposure
- Sensitive skin
- Fungal infections
- Low water intake
1) Harsh soaps and detergents – this may be numero uno on the list of what causes dry skin. Using harsh cleansers or detergents especially when washing dishes or doing laundry is one of the reasons why we experience having dry skin. The ingredients of the household cleansers or detergents we are using can come in contact with our skin, especially our face.
Most acne cleansers are filled with harsh ingredients that are made to dry up the pimples. If you use a more harsh acne cleanser than your skin needs, it will only end up leaving your skin feeling dry and tight. If you only have a couple of blemishes on your face and you use the acne product on your whole face, it will cause a dry buildup of dead skin cells, this will lead to the bacteria with nowhere to go and cause even more bumps on your skin. If this is the case, try products that are sulfate free. The products with sulfate in them tend to dry out the skin which is not what you want. If you are using something that is sulfate free but still feels like it is drying out your skin, try something gentler on your skin. If your blemishes are red, they need to be exfoliated, not dried out.
Harsh or stripping soaps contribute to dry skin by removing the necessary lipids and proteins that we need to maintain our skin’s moisture barrier.
2) Over-cleansing – While washing your facial skin may be good, over cleansing or washing it excessively may give the opposite outcome which is dry skin
Clean skin is important, especially when you have acne, wear sunscreen or makeup, sweat a lot, etc. But there is such a thing as too much cleansing, and sometimes we overdo it. Our skin needs to have enough time to normalize in between washes.
In case you may be wondering how to wash your face the right way, you’re not alone there. It’s not just about splashing your face with some water, rubbing it with a little amount of cleanser then rinsing. Over-washing or over-cleansing your facial skin is just as troublesome as not washing it enough.
3) Lack Of Moisture – Skipping the step of moisturizing your face or using the wrong moisturizer can also lead to dry skin. Choosing the right kind of moisturizer for your facial skin is important as well.
Now, you may possibly think that dry skin and dehydrated skin are just the same. Tell you what, these two are different from each other. Dry skin is not dehydrated skin. Yes, a dehydrated skin may look like dry skin but unlike with dry skin, it’s still possible for a person with dehydrated skin to produce sebum and oil.
Dry skin may possibly be caused by lack of moisture due to an impaired skin barrier and dysfunction or deficiency in your skin’s necessary healthy fats.
4) Extreme heat - If you’re like me and you love a hot shower, you’ll be sad to learn that all the high-temperature time in the tub can wreak havoc on your skin, causing it to dry out.
Taking a bath in extremely high or hot temperature can possibly strip your skin of its naturally occurring oils, hence leading to dry skin. Similarly, skin exposure to extreme hot and cold climates can also cause dry skin.
5) Too Many Active Ingredients - Active ingredients like AHAs, retinol, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide can all help alleviate dry skin and increase the skin’s moisture content. They each offer many unique benefits, but because it’s not easy to find a place in our routine for them all, we end up piling too much on our skin.
Did you know that you yourself are contributing to dry skin by using too much active ingredients in your skin care routine? Too much active ingredients such as alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) , retinol, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can harm your skin’s protective barrier and strip off its essential nutrients which leads to dry skin.
6) Sun Exposure – Failing to apply sunscreen or SPF before soaking under the sun can lead your skin into deep trouble.
Sun-exposed skin can gradually lose moisture and essential oils, making it appear dry, flaky and prematurely wrinkled, even in younger people.
7) Sensitive Skin - If you have very sensitive skin, your dry skin could be caused by your skin’s reaction to innocuous ingredients and aggravators in the environment. For example, people with eczema have reduced skin barrier strength, and are prone to more dryness and moisture loss.
Having a sensitive skin can also be a potential cause of dry skin. You know you have sensitive skin when you have breakouts like pustules, skin bumps or skin erosions, when your skin doesn’t properly protect the nerve endings and have a tendency towards blushing and skin flushing.
8) Fungal Infections - Fungal infections, caused by the same yeasts that cause Athlete’s Foot, can also infect our facial skin and cause some flaking skin and dryness.
Fungal infections are not just found on your foot but on your facial skin as well. Fungal infection or also known as yeast infection is caused by an imbalance of Candida albicans (a type of fungus typically living in moist areas of the body such as the mouth, genitals and skin).
If you frequent gyms or have ever experienced a yeast infection or other fungal skin issues, it increases the likelihood that fungal infections are at the root of your dry skin.
9) Low Water Intake – Your water intake level depends on a lot of factors or variables such as activity level and diet. While there’s not much evidence that the amount of water in a diet affects the amount of water content in the outer layer of the skin, we know that water is the sine qua non of life. Your kidneys need water to function, your brain needs water to function, and your skin – your body’s largest organ – needs water to function.
Just as your body needs water to keep hydrated, so does your skin. So, if your skin is not getting the sufficient amount of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning your skin dry, tight and flaky. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling.
Other possible causes of dry skin can include:
- Dry air
- Unbalanced skin PH
- Skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis
- Diabetes (particularly type 2)
- Hypothyroidism – symptoms include dry and itchy skin
Tips for Treating Dry Skin
- Use a mild, pH-balanced cleanser and fragrance-free detergents that are gentler on your skin.
- Cleanse your skin only as often as twice a day and try to get away with just rinsing with water in the morning if you can.
- Believe it or not, treatment oil is good for your skin. Even though oil causes acne, treatment oil is good for hydrating your skin while in a dry climate. Oils provide a layer of protection and they make sure that your skin stays hydrated and nothing evaporates out. Especially when in dry areas, the skin tends to release moisture. The oil will prevent moisture from escaping your skin. While your skin is moisturized it will leave it feeling less irritated.
- A simple, supportive moisturizer is the key. You need something that will penetrate the skin, hydrate effectively, and keep the moisture locked in like Banish's Vitamin C Crème or Banish Oil.
- Make sure that your products agree with your skin type. Water based moisturizers work better for oily skin types.
- Protect your skin from the elements and keep your cleansing water tepid if you want to avoid irritating dry skin. Avoid showering or bathing more than once a day, as this can worsen dry skin. Skip the hot shower for lukewarm water if you can when taking a bath.
- Give your skin a break from the acids every now and then by alternating the use of active ingredients. Avoid exfoliating everyday.
- Limit time in direct sunlight and use a sunscreen that’s suitable for your skin.
- Simplify your skin care routine. Avoid irritants like fragrance or sls in cleansers.
- Treat any fungal infection with an anti-fungal cream.
- Ensure you’re drinking enough water daily to improve the symptoms of dry skin.
While a dry skin is not really a serious health problem, it can may cause complications like chronic eczema.
No matter what the cause of your dry skin is, genetics or otherwise, the most obvious solution is protecting your skin from damage and supplying your skin with an adequate and readily available source of moisture. Dry skin may be treated the same you treat dry hands.
Given the following tips, which of them will you start doing to treat your dry skin? Are you going to ensure you drink lots of fluids? Moisturize your skin? Use sunscreen or limit time in direct sunlight? Kindly share your thoughts down below.