Dry Skin

What Is Dry Skin?

Dry skin is a very common skin condition characterized by a lack of water in the uppermost layer of the skin, the epidermis.

Picture of Dry Skin

 

Since there are a number of different factors which may cause dry skin it is important to be aware of which triggers affect your skin in order to prevent and best manage them if they occur.

Dry skin can appear dull, flaky and in severe cases can even crack. Dry skin can affect most people at some point during their life but the good news is that this condition is easily manageable.

 

(1) Body U&A, 2009, n=1005

Dry Skin Symptoms

The following symptoms are common amongst people experiencing dry skin:

  • Rough or dry patches of skin
  • Sensitive skin
  • Red skin
  • Flaky skin
  • Tight skin
  • Itchy skin

Dry skin can provoke an itchy sensation that compels us to scratch the affected area. Although scratching can give us some relief, it can lead to further breakdown of the skin’s natural barrier, further irritation and skin damage. 

  • Research has shown that around 1/3 of women may suffer from dry, itchy skin(1) 
  • Scratching can break down the skin’s protective barrier which can allow irritants to get in and moisture to get out 
  • Itching caused by dry skin can cause serious discomfort and is hard to tackle 

 

Picture of Dry Skin

What Causes Dry Skin?

Dry skin is often triggered by low humidity in the surrounding air, so it’s more common in colder months and drier climates. However, there may be other triggers including:

  • Taking long, hot showers or baths
  • Hormonal changes
  • Over-washing or scrubbing your skin
  • Using strong soaps, detergents, sanitizers or alcohol-based cleaning agents

Most common dry skin areas are:

Picture of lower legs

The lower legs

Picture of Hands

Hands

Picture of Forearms

Forearms

How Can I Help Prevent And Manage Dry Skin?

When your skin loses moisture, it becomes drier, more sensitive and prone to irritation and flaking. Untreated dry skin can become red and irritated, but there are plenty of things you can do to help prevent and manage symptoms of dry skin.

Picture of external factors

Since dry skin tends to be caused by external factors, products such as creams and lotions can help to control dry skin flare-ups.

Managing Dry Skin

  • Moisturise frequently to lock in moisture and prevent further loss of moisture from the top layer of the skin
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Use body washes specially designed for dry skin
  • Try patting your skin dry instead of rubbing it with a towel
  • Apply moisturiser immediately after a bath or shower, to lock moisture into your skin
Picture of Everyday objects

Everyday objects such as soap may dry out the top layer of the skin

Preventing Dry Skin

if you suffer from dry skin avoiding the following may help:

  • Irritants such as solvents and cleaning products
  • Wool clothing
  • Strong detergents and softeners used to wash clothes
  • Antibacterial gels which contain alcohol
  • Harsh body scrubs
  • Taking long and hot showers or baths

Eat Well To Keep Your Skin In Top Condition

Your skin’s condition may also benefit from a healthy diet including foods which are naturally rich in Omega 3:

  • Picture of WalnutsWalnuts
  • Picture of Safflower oilSafflower oil
  • Picture of TunaTuna
  • Picture of SalmonSalmon
  • Picture of SardinesSardines
  • Picture of HerringHerring
  • Picture of HalibutHalibut
  • Picture of MackerelMackerel