It’s the end of the year and as we approach for the festive season, it’s important to ensure that the coming harmattan does not rob you off your perfect glow as a result of dry skin.
Dry skin occurs when the skin lacks enough moisture in it to keep it feeling soft and supple. People with dry skin may have rough-feeling patches that flake off or look scaly. It may or may not be itchy.
Dry skin can be caused by our daily natural phenomenon and not only via underlying disease. Examples include dry environment, frequently washing of hands, inadequate hydration, swimming in a chlorinated pool or jobs that are rough on the hands such as mechanics or farming.
Using a thick moisturizer and a humidifier may help to soothe dryness. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and tobacco may also relieve dry mouth and dry skin.
What does dry skin look like?
Dry, dead skin cells accumulate in patches on the surface of the skin in a pattern similar to a fish's scales. Patches of dry skin typically appear on the elbows and lower legs.
Xerosis cutis is the medical term for a dry skin. This name comes from the Greek word “xero,” which means dry. Dry skin is common, especially in older adults. As you age, your sweat and oil glands don’t produce as much moisture. You may develop dry skin on your legs, elbows, arms or other parts of your body.
Types of dry skin
Dry skin is often made worse during the winter because of low humidity. However, it can also occur year-round. If it’s severe, dry skin can cause itching and rashes called dermatitis (inflammation of skin). There are several types of dermatitis, including:
- Contact dermatitis: This occurs when something comes into contact with your skin, which causes an irritant or allergic reaction. Your skin may be dry, itchy and red, and you may also have a skin rash. Some examples include jewelry metals (nickel), cosmetics, detergents or medications.
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis): This group of skin conditions causes red, dry, bumpy and itchy patches of skin. Severe forms can cause cracking of the skin, which makes you more prone to infection. This common skin disorder often affects children and can be inherited. Irritants, allergens and stress can make eczema worse.
- Seborrheic dermatitis: Dry skin on the scalp causes a condition known as dandruff in adults or cradle cap in infants. Seborrheic dermatitis can also cause dry, flaky skin patches on the face, navel (belly button) and inside creases of the arms, legs or groin. This type of dermatitis is actually caused when your body reacts to a normal yeast that grows on your skin.
- Athlete’s foot: This can mimic dry skin on the feet, but it is actually caused by a fungus. When this fungus grows on the body, it’s called “ringworm”. People who have athlete’s foot may have dry, flaky skin on the soles of their feet.
What causes dry skin?
- Age: Older adults are more prone to dry skin due to natural skin changes. As you age, oil and sweat glands dry up, and skin loses fat and elasticity, causing it to become thinner.
- Climate: People who live in dry, desert-like environments are more prone to dry skin because there’s less moisture, or humidity, in the air.
- Genetics: Some people inherit certain skin conditions, such as eczema, that cause dry skin.
- Health conditions: Some illnesses, including diabetes and kidney disease, can cause dry, itchy skin.
- Occupations: Healthcare providers, hairstylists and other professionals are more likely to develop dry, red skin because they wash hands frequently
- Excessive hot baths and showers
- Harsh soaps, detergents and other products.
- Other skin conditions.
What are the symptoms of dry skin?
- Fine lines, deep cracks that may bleed or rough-looking skin.
- Itchiness, peeling, redness, flakes or scales.
- A feeling of skin tightness, especially after showering, bathing or swimming
- Gray or ashy skin
How do you fix dry skin?
- Stop baths and showers with harsh products that may worsen dry skin.
- Apply moisturizer immediately after washing.
- Use an ointment or cream rather than a lotion.
- Wear lip balm.
- Use only gentle, fragrance-free skin care products.
- Wear gloves.
- Choose non-irritating clothes and laundry detergent.
- Pat skin dry with a soft towel.
- Minimize sun exposure, which evaporates oils and moisture from the skin.
See a doctor if you:
- Don't see improvement despite your best efforts.
- Notice redness on the skin.
- Have dryness and itching that interfere with sleep.
- Get open sores from scratching.
- Develop large areas of scaling or peeling skin.
The skincare product you use play a huge role in how moisturized and radiant your skin stays. Shop the absolute best natural skin care products from the ORÍKÌ website and get your Christmas glow on.