What Causes Dry Skin?
Dr Chee Yew Wen (Dr Chee) suggests that it can either be external or internal factors that contribute to the problem of dry skin. External factors like climate weather, wrong choice of body products used, low humidity and irritants while internal factors like ageing, medical and health conditions and family history are all common causes of dry skin problem.
Where Do Dry Skin Occur?
Common affected areas are as follows:
- The neck
- The joints of your body
- The lower part of the legs
- Areas of friction of your body
What Happens if Dry Skin is Left Untreated?
Skin dryness will lead to skin itchiness and if untreated, it may cause inflammation of the skin and lead to a skin condition commonly known as dermatitis.
What Treatments are Available for Dry Skin?
Healthy, normal skin condition usually have a thin layer of natural lipids to keep their skin soft and supple. Unlike dry skin which lacks of such natural lipids therefore applying the right product to improve dry skin condition is highly essential. Oily skin has too much natural lipids and needs to be contained while sensitive skin will require non-intensive treatments to combat the issue. However, Dr Chee advises that not all skin products in the market might be suitable.
Skin care products that are dermatological tested, fragrance free with no perfumes or alcohol contents for dry skin sufferers can do a better job in keep your skin moisturizer as irritant levels are much lower as compared to other products. Texture of the moisturizer should also be thick and creamy in consistency so they can seal and lock in the moisture effectively.
Does Cold Weather Cause Dry Skin?
Cold weather is one of the most common external causes of dry skin. Cold climate rips off moisture from the skin and keep skin looking parched, dry and itchy. Cold wind will worsen dry skin condition as lack of humidity causes skin to lose moisture rapidly. By placing an air humidifier in your room to increase moisture content and wearing the correct clothing like non-woolen t-shirt, bottom and scarf can guard against the wind. By protecting your sensitive body areas like lips, hands and face, you will be able to minimize the effect of dry skin as you are creating your own moisture barrier.
Does Hot Showers Help Combat Dry Skin?
Steamy hot showers and bathes soothe your body during the cold weather but it will worsen the condition of dry skin. They should be avoided as it will dry out your skin even further as the protective layer of your skin has been rinsed off. Showers should be kept short and water temperature should be kept lukewarm will be ideal in keeping skin moisture at the best level.
What Else Should I Look Out For?
Other than the duration of shower and water temperature, next step to stop skin from drying out is to look into your body cleansing products. Are they specially formulated for dry skin? Is it fragrance-free? Some cleansing products might be too harsh for your skin therefore it is always advisable to look out for mild cleansing body wash specially formulated for dry skin sufferers.
Next to look out for is your body scrub. Keep that scrubby sponge with rough texture away as they will cause your skin to roughen up therefore using your hand or a very soft cleansing washcloth is highly recommended and they will able to do the job just as well as using abrasive sponges. After showering, locking in moisture is the key and final step. Applying highly moisturising body lotion all over your affected skin area within 30 minutes after your shower is important and essential.
Other Probable Causes
Dr Chee mentioned that other than looking into the external factors on the causes of dry skin, internal factors are something that one should also take note of. It can either be a family history, illness or a psychological change that is affecting your skin. Dry skin can start to develop when you start to age due to a change in hormone levels.
There are quite a handful of medical conditions which result in dry skin. Some common causes are skin conditions (example eczema and psoriasis), lack of nutrients which leads to malnutrition, diabetes and hypothyroidism.
Certain medicines also have the side effect of causing dry skin. Drugs for high blood pressure and acne are commonly known to dry out the skin. If you notice such side effects, you should talk to your doctor as they may be able to adjust the dosage or medicine. Other diseases either minor or serious will also affect the problem of dry skin.
If you are not sure what kind of dry skin condition you are facing, it is highly advisable to seek help from the medical professionals to discover the causes and they will be able to recommend the most suitable treatment according to your skin type.