Everybody wants that soft, hydrated, glowing and supple skin. However, skin can easily become rough, dry and flaky. Why? Basically, your skin’s outermost layers are built like some sort of brick and mortar configuration.
Oils and other hydrating substances are stacked in healthy skin cells to keep it moisturized. When you lose these substances, your skin cells deteriorate, resulting in dry skin that’s itchy, irritated, red and flaky. Dry skin might also appear ashy or dull if you have a darker skin tone, and become cracked and scaly, or worse, leathery and thick.
Common Causes of Dry Skin
Dry skin is usually a result of the skin losing oil or water, especially in low-humidity, dry and excessively cold climates, or during the winter when indoor heat and low humidity negatively impact your skin’s natural balance. Your skin acts as a primary barrier against the environment to prevent the evaporation of water off your skin surface. When the humidity levels are low, you’ll lose more moisture, and your skin will dry out.
In addition to that, some medical conditions could make you more susceptible to dry skin. These conditions include atopic dermatitis, keratosis pilaris, hormonal changes, kidney disease, diabetes and thyroid disease.
How to Nip Dry Skin in the Bud
The most crucial thing you can do to calm and heal your dry skin is to hydrate and moisturize regularly. Apply moisturizer and use bath and body oils once a day at least, right after showering or cleansing your skin when it’s still damp.
During summer, a moisturizer with a thinner consistency, such as gel, light cream or dry oil, will suffice, but stick to the heaviest cream and oil formulations during wintertime. Great ingredients to watch out for include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, petrolatum, and lactic acid.
If You Have Extra Dry Skin
If drugstore moisturizers just won’t cut it for you, you might need to ask your doctor for prescription ointments that have proteins or ceramides that could assist in rebuilding your skin barrier. These prescription-strength moisturizers are particularly helpful for severe skin conditions such as eczema. You can also apply cold compresses if you have very itchy skin.
Depending on the severity of your case, you might also be recommended a prescription or over-the-counter corticosteroid creams to calm inflammation and heal your skin barrier faster. When using corticosteroids, follow your doctor’s instructions, as overuse might thin your skin and make it more vulnerable to dryness.
Your doctor might also recommend that you use a barrier cream. This is capable of penetrating your skin’s deeper layers. If your dry skin is due to keratosis pilaris, moisturizers with lactic acid or urea could ease your itch, while topical retinoids or mild chemical peels might help soften and smoothen your skin.
Other proven remedies for dry skin include the use of moisturizing soaps or cleansers, showering with warm water, and putting a humidifier inside your room to ensure balanced humidity levels. With a lot of TLC and a proper moisturizing routine, you can say goodbye to dry skin.