Common causes of dry skin and how to remedy them
Most of us have experienced the perils of dry skin at one time or another; that awful prickly sensation that accompanies it or the sting of cracks appearing on your hands in the winter.
It goes without saying that dry skin is due to lack of moisture, but what is it exactly that causes this? Well, there’s a number of things that can lead to dehydrated skin, including age, genetic conditions, environmental factors and even lifestyle choices. Luckily, whatever the issue is, there is something you can do. Read on to learn the common causes of dry skin and what you can do to remedy them.
When the humidity in our environment is low, meaning that there is little water vapour present in the air, moisture is drawn out of the epidermis, causing dryness. This can lead to our skin flaking or even splitting and can be extremely uncomfortable.
To combat dry skin that results from low moisture levels in the air, invest in a high-quality moisturiser. A good rule of thumb when choosing a moisturiser is the thicker the cream, the better. Petroleum jelly, for example, is an affordable and effective product that keeps moisture sealed inside the epidermis without clogging pores.
Ageing is one of the unfortunate inevitabilities of life and it can lead to many body changes that can leave your skin feeling dry and uncomfortable. As you age, the production of natural oils in your skin decreases and the system in the dermis that is responsible for attracting and binding water molecules also begins to lose its effectiveness, leading to dry skin in several areas of the body, including hands, arms and back.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do. We have already learnt that low humidity can cause dryness and this is particularly true in the winter months for those with skin damage resulting from age. So, on top of regularly using moisturiser, consider purchasing a humidifier. At a setting of around 60%, there should be enough moisture in the air to restore the top layer of the epidermis.
Moreover, dryness and aging can lead to reduced elasticity in the skin. To reverse the effects, make sure to supplement Vitamin C into your diet, as the vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that protects against free radical damage caused by the environment and promotes collagen formation, the protein responsible for keeping your skin looking young and fresh.
Excessive hand washing or showering
COVID-19 has seen a rise in people reporting symptoms of dry skin, as we all now take extra effort to wash our hands multiple times a day and use sanitiser to keep ourselves virus free. However, washing so frequently can cause considerable damage to our skin and dry up its natural moisture. But don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you stop keeping yourselves clean and covid-safe, just take our advice below to protect your skin while you protect yourself.
Use warm water to wash your hands, as hot water removes the natural oils present in your skin. This is also true with hot showers, so consider cranking the temperature down to keep your skin nice and hydrated.
Gently dab your hands and body dry with a clean towel to avoid causing extra damage to your skin and apply moisturiser while still damp. This will help relieve the uncomfortable itching that often accompanies dry skin.
Similarly, moisturise immediately after using hand sanitizer, as the chemical ingredients can contribute to skin irritability and dryness.
Of course, there are some conditions that make keeping your skin hydrated all the more difficult. Eczema, for example, describes a group of persistent skin conditions that causes extreme discomfort and skin damage.
Symptoms of eczema include itchy, dry and cracked skin that can appear red or purple when inflamed. If you suspect that you suffer from eczema, book an appointment with the GP to discuss a diagnosis and effective treatment.
Alongside your treatment plan set out by your doctor, there are steps you can take to further protect your skin. On top of the advice already provided in this article, one of the best things you can do is to take vitamin supplements that support the health of your skin. For example, supplements that are rich in biotin, selenium and milk thistle are amazing for protecting against free radical damage caused by the environment, thereby promoting dermatological health. Our Beauty tea [hyperlink] includes all three of these incredible ingredients, as well as vitamin C to support collagen formation. To learn more about how selenium, biotin and milk thistle look after your skin, click here.