SYMPTOMS OF DRY SKIN
Dry skin is a common problem. It can occur at any age and for many reasons. While it usually only causes mild discomfort, in some cases skin can feel extremely tight, quite uncomfortable and lead to complications. Dry skin can also be a sign of other conditions or diseases.
The signs (what you see) and symptoms (what you feel) of dry skin are:
- Rough, scaly, or flaking skin
- Dull skin
- Small lines or cracks in the skin
- Tightening of the skin
- Chapped or cracked lips
Dry skin looks and feels dry. When you have dry skin, the outermost layer of the skin (called the stratum corneum) is dehydrated; lacking in moisture.
Extremely dry skin can be a warning sign of a skin problem called dermatitis. While dry skin is simply skin that is dry, dermatitis is skin that is inflamed, causing symptoms such as redness, itchiness and cracking. The 2 main types of dermatitis are contact dermatitis (caused when you come into contact with a substance that irritates your skin) and atopic dermatitis or eczema (a chronic condition that often starts when you are young and involves a mix of genetic and environmental factors).
The signs and symptoms of dry skin depend on many factors, including the cause, your age, and your general health.
CAUSES OF DRY SKIN AND WHY
Anyone can have or develop dry skin. There are many reasons why skin becomes dry, but fundamentally it happens when the skin’s surface becomes disrupted and steadily dismantled. The type of skincare products you use can also be a factor if they contain harsh or drying ingredients that disturb the skin’s surface.
Regardless of the cause, the result is your skin can’t maintain its normal moisture level. When you nourish your skin enabling the surface to remain intact and smooth, it gives your skin the ability to stay better hydrated. This simple routine when done consistently can bring about dramatic change in the feel and appearance of your skin!
Some of the main causes of dry skin are:
- Age: As we age, our skin becomes thinner, more fragile and drier.
- Climate: Living in a dry climate and low humidity.
- Skin disease: People who have had atopic dermatitis (also called eczema) as a child tend to have dry skin as adults. Psoriasis also causes very dry skin.
- Environmental: Heaters, fires and air conditioners (these reduce humidity in the room) along with prolonged or frequent bathing or showering in hot water.
- Sun Exposure: Exposing your skin to the sun and sun bathing.
- Health: Health concerns that can affect the integrity of your skin barrier, such as inherited problems with structural components of the skin.
- Products: Using certain soaps and skin care products especially those that are heavily perfumed.
- Occupation: Nurses, hair stylists, and people in other occupations often immerse their skin in water throughout the day. This can cause the skin to become dry, raw, and cracked.
- Swimming: Some pools have high levels of chlorine, which can dry the skin.
CARING FOR DRY SKIN
The primary goals in treating dry skin are healing and maintaining the skin's surface. Using replenishing and nourishing ingredients is the key to optimal hydration.
- Gentle Cleanser: Use a gentle, unscented, soap-free cleanser that leaves skin feeling soft and clean, never dry or tight. A Gentle Cream Wash contains moisturising ingredients to nourish the skin's barrier for a healthier-looking, more resilient skin.
- Dedicated Skincare for Dry Skin Conditions: Applying a moisturiser frequently throughout the day can help, however using a dedicated skincare regimen for your condition is imperative. It is important to use products that have been clinically tested with controlled ingredients that not only help with a dry skin condition but maintain a healthy and protective barrier. We can help you choose an effective skincare regimen, created by dermatologists and give exceptional clinical results.
- Sun protection: It is important to protect your skin from UV exposure every single day. It only takes one minute of unprotected sun exposure to start chipping away at your skin’s surface stability. When skin is compromised from repeated, unprotected sun exposure, it is difficult for the skin to hold moisture and stay hydrated. Apply a specialised calming sun protection to effectively protect and nourish dry skin.
- Soap Substitutes: Normal everyday soap is very alkaline and can irritate or damage your skin. If you have dry skin, it is best to avoid using standard soaps, shampoos and bubble baths. Instead, use a soap substitute, which is much gentler on the skin.
TIPS FOR MANAGING DRY SKIN
Self-care tips for managing dry skin:
- Use gentle skincare products: Soaps can strip oils from the skin. Avoid using deodorant sticks, antibacterial soaps, perfumed soaps, and skin care products containing alcohol.
- Harsh exfoliants: Avoid abrasive scrubs, loofahs, or stiff-bristled cleansing brushes that cause micro-tears in the skin’s surface.
- Limit time in the bathtub or shower: A 5- to 10-minute bath or shower adds moisture to the skin. Spending more time in the water often leaves your skin less hydrated than before you started.
- Warm Water: Hot water removes your natural skin oils more quickly. Use lukewarm water to wash yourself, rather than hot water.
- Cosmetics: If you use cosmetics (make-up), choose products that are hypoallergenic.
- Use a humidifier: If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier to add moisture.
- Soothe chapped lips: At bedtime, apply a Lip Serum to keep the lips hydrated and plump.
- Hydrate: Drink plenty of water to keep yourself (and your skin) well hydrated.