Dry skin, and the various skin problems that are related to it, affect most people at sometime during their lives. Indeed, at any given time, it is believed that around 25% of people have a dry skin issue. So, what are the main causes?
As is true in any walk of life, understanding the causes and understanding the effects go hand in hand. So, firstly let us look at some of the frequently displayed symptoms that indicate that dry skin may be a problem
Dry skin is usually very easy to identify. Skin that peels, has a scaly or flaky appearance is a tell-tale sign that the natural moisture balance of your epidermis is deficient. You may also some signs of wrinkling that otherwise cannot be explained.
A skin rash or an area of discolouration can also indicate underlying dryness. At an advanced stage, you may even suffer from splits or sore, broken, open wounds.
Non visible signs that your skin may be suffering from dryness include localised or an all-over itchiness and a feeling of tightness or roughness.
Dry skin can strike almost anyone at any time, however, some general pattens have been noticed by dermatologists.
Dry skin is more likely to develop during the colder winter months; in these cases it is sometimes referred to as “winter itch”. The elderly and those suffering from diabetes are also more prone. Other medical conditions are also often associated with the condition. In addition, those pursuing certain trades or professions have a increased likelihood of dry, itchy, sore, cracked and split skin.
So, what are the main causes of dry skin? Of course, this is a vital question to answer if we want understand how best to alleviate the symptoms. Further, are there any easy steps that each of us can undertake to better improve our skin care routines?
Considered overall, the main causes of skin dryness separate into two basic groupings; internal causes and external causes.
Those causes that result from internal circumstances are varied. The most cited, and most prevalent, circumstances that belong to this grouping include: An inappropriate diet, a person’s genetic make-up, side effects resulting from medicines taken, various medical conditions and, especially in women, changes or an imbalances in natural hormones.
The causes that result from external circumstances are similarly varied. The main factors included in this category are: Environmental surrounds and climate, pollution levels of differing substances, inappropriate personal hygiene routines, the inappropriate choice and use of cleaning products and, poor choices of clothing encompassing materials and styling.
Most people nowadays realise that a balanced and varied diet plays an important role in overall health care. Unfortunately, fewer people realise that diet also plays an important role in promoting, and maintaining, your skin’s health. To nurture and maintain a healthy epidermis, foods rich in vitamins A, B and C should form a constituent part of your daily intake.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are a good source of nutrients and vitamins. Those particularly beneficial for skin health include apricots, oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, grapes and leafy vegetables such as spinach. You should also aim to reduce your intake of foods that are highly processed, contain a high sugar or animal fat content. In addition, opt to bake or grill instead of frying.
You should also take care with your liquid intake. Drinks with sugar or caffeine and those containing alcohol are all considered not beneficial for skin care. Fresh water, pure and simple, is your best thirst quenching option.
Some prescribed medicines can carrying the possibility of drying skin as an unwanted side effect. Those used to treat high blood pressure and acne are often cited in this respect. Discuss this with your doctor if you think you may be affected. It is important to understand that it can be dangerous to cease taking prescribed medicines without appropriate professional advice.
Environmental factors include over-heated homes and offices. Here, the dry atmosphere can draw moisture from your skin. In complete contrast, the cold breezes of winter can likewise dry the moisture from your skin as well. Indoors, especially in bedrooms overnight, humidifiers help to reduce the drying effects of your surrounds. Out of doors, the correct apparel is important A scarf and gloves should both be considered mandatory winter wear!
Contact dermatitis is often closely interrelated with dry skin. The external irritants that are responsible for dermatitis often play a part in removing the top lipid layer off from your epidermis. These fatty lipids have a vital role in maintaining your skin’s correct moisture. Contact dermatitis is often associated with workplace hazards.
Florists, dental assistants, hairdressers, medical workers and mechanics are all jobs that have a track record linked to dermatitis. The most effective solution is to isolate and remove the external irritant. Sometimes, where this is not possible, protective clothing should be provided and regulations, ensuring that they are worn, enforced.
Some people assume that dry skin is a consequence of poor personal hygiene.. In endeavour to rectify this erroneous belief, some people become over obsessed with frequent washing, often using strong soaps. Post-wash products that bestow a fragrance are also often over-applied.
The best advice, if you suffer from dry skin, is to always use mild, perfume and alcohol free products. Steer clear of using artificial scents. Never forget the purpose of deodorants; apply them sensibly they are not a perfume substitute. Never use harsh brushes or rough sponges. Dab your towel with a blotting action when drying.
Finally, if have dry, itchy or flaking skin, choose loose fitting clothing that has a high natural fibre content. Cotton is ideal. This helps your skin to breathe naturally and provides the best option to reduce chaffing.
Remember, your skin is yours to keep for a lifetime, take good care of it and you will enjoy many happy years together.
Peter Friswell has a keen professional interest in dry skin and its causes. He realises that, if left untreated, dry skin can split and become a potential infection risk. Peter Friswell shares his expertise and knowledge of skin care and protection on his extensive and exhaustive website.