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Dry Skin: An Overview

Posted By Vien
Dry skin, also known as xerosis, is the most common type of skin condition. Having dry skin means that your body isn't producing enough oil to keep your skin hydrated. Dryness can be caused by genetics and/or environmental factors such as cold weather or high altitudes. There are many ways to treat this condition but first, let's learn more about what causes it!


Definition
Dry skin is a condition in which the skin lacks water and becomes rough, scaly, and flaky. Dry skin can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, aging, environment, and lifestyle.

Dry skin is common among older adults who are more likely to have less active oil glands than younger people do. It is also more common during winter months when indoor heating takes its toll on our skin’s natural moisture balance.

The first step to helping dry skin is identifying the condition. Your doctor or dermatologist can tell you if your skin is dry, but here are some common signs:

  • Your skin feels tight
  • Your skin feels flaky, like sandpaper
  • Your skin is more sensitive to temperature changes and air conditioning than normal

These symptoms are sometimes accompanied by itching or redness.


Hydration versus moisturization
Hydration and moisturization are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Hydration is the water content of your skin; it's important because it keeps your skin supple and flexible. Moisturization refers to applying a moisturizer to your face, which helps maintain hydration.

Hydration is the foundation of healthy skin: without sufficient water, the cells in our body can't function properly or be repaired from damage (such as sun damage). When our bodies become dehydrated due to dry conditions or increased exposure to air conditioning and hot temperatures, we may experience symptoms such as dryness, roughness, cracking, or itching—but these issues can be remedied by hydrating well with plenty of water throughout each day (about 8 cups).

Moisturizing is key for maintaining hydration levels: just like oil lubricates parts inside a machine so that they move smoothly together without friction (or "slipping"), topical lotions make it easier for dead skin cells on the surface level to slough off naturally without causing irritation or inflammation. Even oily skin needs moisture!


Causes of dry skin
  • Dry skin is caused by a lack of moisture.
  • Your skin's surface can become dry in several ways, including:
  • exposure to harsh weather, like cold temperatures or windy days;
  • lack of water;
  • drying chemicals, such as soap and cleansers;
  • poor diet (specifically one that lacks the nutrients you need for healthy skin);
  • hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy or menopause;
  • illness or medical conditions that affect your body's ability to produce enough oil on its own (including lupus, psoriasis, and dermatitis).


Dry skin can be a sign of something more serious

Dry skin can be a sign of a more serious skin condition. It's important to see your doctor if you have dry skin and other symptoms such as itching or pain, even if the dryness seems mild.

Dry skin can be caused by an underlying health condition or diseases such as eczema*, psoriasis*, lupus erythematosus*, chronic kidney disease, diabetes mellitus (type 1), Sjögren's syndrome*, xerostomia (dry mouth), atopic dermatitis (eczema), lichen planus*, seborrheic dermatitis*, rosacea* and scleroderma*.


How to take care of your dry skin

Dry skin can be frustrating, but with the right products and a little patience, you can have smooth and hydrated skin in no time.


  • Use a gentle cleanser and mild soap. Avoid harsh soaps that contain ingredients such as alcohol, perfume, lather, or menthol.
  • Moisturize daily to lock in moisture and prevent water loss from your skin. Apply moisturizer immediately after showering or bathing, when your pores are open and can absorb the most moisture from products applied to them. 
  • Avoid hot showers and baths because they dry out the skin by removing natural oils from your skin’s surface.

Moisturizers are the most important product for dry skin because they help provide deep hydration. It's recommended that you apply moisturizer after cleansing your face to lock in moisture before applying other products like serums or eye creams. Look for a moisturizer that is oil-free or formulated specifically for your skin type (oily, combination, or dry).

A good rule of thumb is if your skin feels tight after washing it, then you're probably not using enough moisturizer. If you can't find one that works well on its own, look into adding a serum to your routine to boost hydration and combat wrinkles.



Conclusion

We hope that this article has helped you to better understand the difference between hydration and moisturization. Dry skin is a common problem, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. The best way to care for dry skin is by finding a routine that works for your specific needs. Whether it’s through products or lifestyle changes, there are plenty of options out there—so don't give up!


Video

Source: Dr Dray | Dehydrated vs Dry Skin




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