Updated: Jul 8, 2019
Dry skin is a very common skin condition characterized by a lack of the appropriate amount of water in the most superficial layer of the skin, the epidermis.
The epidermis is normally composed of fat (lipid) and protein. The lipid portion of the epidermis along with specific epidermal proteins help prevent skin dehydration. When there deficient proteins and/or lipids the skin moisture evaporates more easily. As skin becomes dry, it also may become more sensitive and prone to rashes and skin breakdown. The medical term for dry skin is xerosis. Simple prevention and treatment measures are very effective in the treatment of dry skin. Basic dry skin prevention steps include avoidance of harsh soaps and chemical cleansers. Treatment generally requires more frequent and regular applications of bland emollients and moisturizers. Untreated, dry skin may result in complications, including, eczematous dermatitis, secondary bacterial infections, cellulitis, and skin discoloration. Fortunately, dry skin is usually mild and can be easily remedied.
Symptoms and signs:
A feeling of skin tightness, especially after showering, bathing or swimming.
Skin that feels and looks rough.
Slight to severe flaking, scaling or peeling.
Fine lines or cracks.
Gray, ashy skin.
Deep cracks that may bleed.
External factors that cause dry skin include:
1. You're washing too often.
Over Cleansing is the number one reason for super dry skin. “The skin has a natural barrier, consisting of oil, water, and something called the ‘natural moisturizing factors. When we wash our skin with a cleanser, soap, or body wash, it strips all the good skin hydrators off.
2. Your water is too hot.
Excessive exposure to hot water can strip the skin of essential oils leading to irritation and inflammation. The water in your shower should be the temperature of what you would imagine a heated pool to be—approximately 84 degrees F. It is also recommended to keep showers short—a maximum of 10 minutes—and pat your skin dry rather than rubbing it to avoid stripping the skin even more.
3. You’re exfoliating more than necessary.
Exfoliating is without a doubt an important step in your skin-care routine, but you can overdo it. Experts recommend keeping it to a maximum of twice a week and even less frequently than that for dry skin. If you do exfoliate, it's important to replenish the lost oils and moisture from your skin. You can apply your face oil right on top of your daily moisturizer to help seal in hydration.
4. You need a thicker moisturizer.
Just like you swap your crop tops and shorts for leggings and cable-knit sweaters once fall turns a corner, it’s important to switch up your skin-care regimen with the change in season. In winter there’s less moisture in the air, which causes the water in your skin to evaporate more quickly than in the humid summer months. This means you’re more likely to be flaking, cracking, and peeling.
5. You’re applying your moisturizer at the wrong time.
In addition to selecting the right kind of moisturizer, you also want to make sure you’re applying it correctly to avoid dry skin. Put on your moisturizer when your skin is still damp is the best way to make sure it absorbs fully. After a shower, pat dry your skin with a towel and then apply the moisturizer which will lock in that moisture. Do the same each time you wash your hands during the day. If you wait until your skin is totally dry (say, more than five minutes after you wash), you'll have missed the lock-it-in window.
6. You’re not drinking enough water.
It might sound too simple to be true, but where exactly did you think your skin was getting the water it needs to stay hydrated? Proper hydration with water is important to keep fluid moving efficiently through the capillaries. It’s easier to get dehydrated when we are not making it a priority, or when it’s cold outside and water is evaporating faster. In addition to consuming water regularly, a diet rich in healthy fats can help to improve the moisture-holding capacity of the skin. You can get omega-3 and omega-6 oils from foods like salmon, flaxseed, and algea Oil. They keep the membrane around each skin cell healthy to lock moisture in the skin.
7. You’re taking certain medications that can dry out your skin.
Many medications—both over the counter and prescription—come with the side effect of dry skin. Some meds dry your skin as part of their action, such as acne medications like benzoyl peroxide or retinoids, but other medications used for conditions like high blood pressure can dry your skin as well. Chemotherapy, for instance, can do a serious number on your skin (and nails, and hair). Not sure about a certain medication you’ve been taking? Run it by your doctor and ask for a recommendation for treating this potential side effect.
The following medical conditions may cause dry skin:
8. You’re battling a skin or other health-related condition.
Skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis. While they usually need direct treatment, careful use of moisturizers often helps.
Diabetes. Fluctuations in glucose levels can lead to dehydration, and that dries the skin out. Given that diabetes can also slow healing and increase the risk of infections, it's especially important for people with this condition to keep their skin healthy.
Hypothyroidism. Low levels of thyroid hormone can reduce the amount of oil produced by your skin. As a result, skin becomes dry and rough and moisturizer is unlikely to help. Hypothyroidism is usually accompanied by other symptoms, like fatigue and weight gain.
Malnutrition. Not getting the nutrients you need can leave your skin dried out.
9. It’s genetic.
Some people are just born with genetically dry skin, making them more prone to flakiness than the average person. Scientists have found many mutations in essential proteins that play a role in forming the skin barrier. These mutations leave people with naturally dry skin.
BioDermal Dry Skin Solutions: