We all want healthy, hydrated skin, but the reality is that skin can become flaky, dry, rough, and sometimes even scaly, thick, and leathery! Why? The outer layers of your skin are held together in a type of brick-and-mortar system. Healthy skin is rich in oils and other substances that keep skin moist. When these substances are depleted, skin cells dull out, and this is the start of having dry skin.
What causes dry skin?
Dry skin often stems from the skin losingwater or oil, especially in climates with low humidity, or during winter months when low humidity and indoor heat affect the natural balance of healthy skin. The skin is the first barrier to the environment and prevents water from evaporating off the surface. When humidity is low, more moisture is lost from the skin’s surface and it dries out.
Certain medical skin conditions also makes one prone to dry skin such as:
- Keratosis pilaris are tiny red or flesh-colored bumps on the skin the can be found on upper arms, thighs, or cheeks of children. These small bumps may feel like sandpaper because they’re actually dead skin cells. In winter and low humidity, they may also itch.
- Atopic dermatitis is a common type of eczema in witch itchy patches form. This is usually common in people with hay fever or asthma.
- Hormonal changes may also cause dry or flaky skin.
- Thyroid disease causes dry skin when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone.
- Diabetes or kidney disease cause a person to get dry skin when there is poor blood circulation throughout the body.
How do you remedy dry skin?
Your main weapon to combat dry skin is a good ol’ reliable moisturizer. When your skin is still damp after a shower or a bath, apply moisturizer to your body and face. A thicker cream or ointment is a good choice in drier weather, but a thin formula and consistency is more helpful in the summer.
Find a product that has actic acid, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and petrolatum.
However, a doctor may prescribe an ointment that has ceramides if over-the-counter moisturizers don’y seem to be working well on your skin. Ceramides are proteins that help remedy the skin barrier.
What other remedies help with dry skin?
- Taking short, warm (instead of hot) showers
- Applying cold compress on itchy, dry skin
- Using moisturizing soaps
- Placing a humidifier in your home to add moisture to the air
Although it hasn’t been studied, some doctors recommend fatty fish like salmon and mackerel and soybean and safflower oil because they have polyunsaturated fats that are believed to help keep the skin healthy. For more information on the relationship between skin and food, read my post here: The Link Between Your Diet and Dry Skin.
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