A supple, glowing and perfect skin is something we all desire, especially today’s youth. But due to various reasons, perfect skin remains just a dream for many. Skin is broadly of 3 types – normal, dry and oily. The combinations of the 3 also exist. With increased exposure to varied harmful factors, our skin tends to respond vigorously and take up the extremes of dry or oily skin type.
Dry skin, in the extreme conditions is known as Xerodermatitis and Xerosis, which is a common skin condition. It mainly occurs due to lack of sufficient moisture or oils in the epidermis, the uppermost layer of the skin. This results in dry patches and small fine flakes on the skin.
Dry Skin is caused by both external and internal factors. External factors like- low humidity, cold temperatures, hot showers, over usage of harsh soaps and sanitizers can make the skin dry. While internal factors, such as age, genetics, and personal and family history of skin ailments like allergies, asthma, dermatitis also causes skin dryness. People suffering from thyroid disorders are also prone to dry skin.
The skin consists of 3 layers – Epidermis (outermost), dermis (middle) and hypodermis (innermost). Epidermis, the protective layer is composed of protein and lipid (fat). Lipid helps to keep the skin hydrated. When the skin loses the fatty oils it easily loses moisture and protection. This renders the skin dry, making the skin more sensitive to rashes and other problems (Xerosis).
Eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, hives, etc., are the severe cases of DRY SKIN PROBLEMS
Here are some symptoms of dry skin:
Dry skin, as said before, lacks natural fatty oils and moisture. This makes the skin rough, flaky, scaly and at times, hardened. Dandruff is one of the common ailments, which results from dry skin on the scalp. Dry skin flakes usually turns pale, peel off and shed on their own.
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Itching can aggravate the severity of dry skin. It can lead to an “itch-scratch” cycle. This cycle is more when the person is not much conscious, like when he/she is engrossed in some important work, or during sleep etc.
The rough, raised patches of flaky skin can itch, which cause a severe burning sensation. This burning sensation makes the skin red and cause red patches.
Many times, dry skin tends to crack, especially during winters. These cracks become a budding ground for microbes. These microbes cause infection in the cracks, causing it to itch, burn and bleed. This can lead to serious skin infections, which can spread to other parts of the skin as well.
Chapped lips are the first symptom of the lack of water and moisture in the body. It can also be a sign of some kind of dysfunction in the body. Same is with cracked palms and heels. Though these are very common symptoms and occur mainly during winters, see a doctor in severe cases.
There are different treatments for dry skin depending on the condition and severity of the problem. Treatments can be both external and internal. Few treatments are:
Moisturizing is an external treatment. It involves frequent application of moisturizers on the problem skin area. Applying moisturizer on damp skin is more effective. In case of extreme dry skin, moisturizers containing urea or lactic acid are useful. These ingredients help the skin in holding and retaining the water and keeping the skin well hydrated. It is effective in not so very severe cases. Some of the moisturizers are – Vaseline, Aquaphor, Cetaphil lotion, Lubriderm Lotion, Crisco Vegetable Shortening etc. Topical steroid creams like hydrocortisone 1% cream, Pramosone 2.5% cream, Triamcinolone 0.1% cream, Clobetasol 0.05% cream may also be prescribed.
If the condition of the skin gets worse, consulting a dermatologist is the best way forward. The dosage of the medicines depends on the severity of the case. If the condition is getting very severe, steroids may also be prescribed. Some of the oral medications are: Hydroxyzine (Atarax), Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Loratidine (Claritin).
[ Read: Homeopathy Treatments For Skin Problems ]
This the most important factor in case of skin ailments. Most of the severe dry skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, etc., can be directly linked to unbalanced, unhealthy or stressful lifestyle. A person has to maintain healthy habits to avoid such kinds of ailments. One should avoid doing all such things which can trigger the problem or increase it. Like, if a person is allergic to some kind of environment or food which causes dry skin, he/she should avoid it. If pollution or cold is the reason, then one should keep the skin covered when going out.
Dry skin, as mentioned before, occurs due to lack of moisture. Humidifying the air to keep it moist is a good way to protect the skin during winter. One can use humidifiers at home and in office as well. They make the dry air moist and lessen the dry skin problems.
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Heat is an enemy of dry skin as it bereft the skin of its moisture content. Using hot water strips the skin of its natural oils, making it dry. You should replace hot water with warm water to give your skin some respite. One should also avoid frequent and long baths. Five-10 minutes in the bath hydrates the skin, but longer than that, is bad for your skin. Harsh soaps and cleansers should also be avoided.
Dry skin is a common problem and not well attended. If you want to avoid further complications, make sure to take care of your dry skin today. If needed,, make an appointment with a good dermatologist to find a solution.
For the matters of dry skin, simple and timely preventive measures work effectively. Avoid using harsh soaps and chemical cleansers. Also avoid frequent and regular applications of bland emollients and moisturizers. Fortunately, dry skin is usually mild and can be easily remedied. So suffer no more in silence, and seek help to get beautiful, flawless skin!
Do you have dry skin? What treatments have you tried? Did they work? Share with us in the comments section below.