Causes of Dry Skin

You look in the mirror and notice your face looks flaky around your nose or forehead and your elbows are patchy. What should you do? Lather on lotion? Call your dermatologist or just hope it passes? If you suffer from dry skin, you need to first determine why your skin is dry and then find the best solution to get rid of dull, dry skin to reveal soft, supple skin that glows.

Dry Skin or Dehydration?

If you have dry skin, you know it. But is your skin dry or is it dehydrated? The symptoms are similar but the treatments are somewhat different. You don’t necessarily need to go through a checklist. There are many symptoms of dry skin and dehydrated skin that go beyond flaking, including:

  • tightness
  • peeling
  • dull, gray, or ashy tone
  • cracks, may or may not bleed
  • itching
  • rough patches

In addition to the symptoms of dry skin, if your skin is dehydrated you may have puffy eyes or dark circles beneath your eyes and your mouth and lips may be dry. Dehydration is not always the medical condition that causes weakness and requires I.V. fluids, your skin can be in need of moisture.

What can dry skin be a sign of?

So you know now that you have dry skin, but why? Is it a sign of a health problem or a bad beauty regimen? Dry and dehydrated skin can be caused by one of many things or a combination of things. Before you treat your skin, use this list of possibilities to determine why you have the problem.

  • Cold weather: Cold, dry weather is harsh on the skin. Many people notice their skin becomes flaky and tight in the winter month.
  • Sun: Overexposure to the sun can cause damage that results in tight, dry skin, particularly on your face.
  • Heat: Your home’s heat source causes dry air and in turn causes your skin to become dry.
  • Cleansers: Shampoo, face cleansers, and body soaps can be particularly damaging to your skin if they do not contain a moisturizer.  Cleansers can strip your skin of natural oils causing dry itchy skin.
  • Long Hot Showers: taking long hot showers or multiple hot showers a day may be one of the causes for dry skin.
  • Water: Soaking in hot water showers or baths, or swimming in pools that are treated with chlorine can dry your skin out quickly.
  • Medical conditions: Dermatitis in its various forms can cause dry skin.

Vitamin B, B2 in particular, aids in your skin’s mucous secretion which in turn prevents dryness. B5 helps the skin retain moisture and aids in elasticity. B7 provides protection from water loss which helps prevent skin dehydration. B12 aids in the production of cells. It is often prescribed in ointment form for the treatment of eczema and psoriasis, medical conditions that cause dry skin.

What is the best cure for dry skin?

How do you get rid of dry skin? The answer depends on the cause and you may need to take multiple steps to find the best solution for your skin. Dermatologists suggest a combination of changes to your routine and changes to your environment when necessary.

  • Change your face cleansers and body soaps. Choose all natural and plant based skin care products that contain naturally occurring moisturizers:  Hyaluronic Acid, Jojoba oil, lanolin, Shea Butter, Ceramides, and Coconut Oil are all effective at healing dry skin.
  • Add humidity to your home’s air with a humidifier.
  • Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from damage. Damaged skin
  • Moisturize immediately after showering, swimming, or hot baths.
  • Use alcohol-free, fragrance-free products for your skincare routine.
  • Wear gloves and scarves to cover your hands and face during harsh winter weather.
  • Drink plenty of water and eat foods that are high in water content.
  • Make sure you are getting enough of the B  vitamins and Vitamin D.
  • Avoid laundry detergents with harsh chemicals and perfumes.

If you find that your skin is still dry, you should consult with a dermatology practitioner to assess for possible skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, or other health related causes of dryness.  Professional medical advice may help provide prescription treatment options for a skin condition if appropriate.

How do I treat dry skin on my face?

The skin on your face is more sensitive than the skin on your body and requires more moisture. Ensure the products you use are formulated for your face. You also need to make sure you are protecting your face from harsh chemicals found in many cleansers and scrubs.

You should also apply moisturizer immediately after showering to help lock in moisture. Daytime moisturizers should contain sunscreen to prevent drying from ultraviolet rays.

Apply a lip balm before going out and choose one with sunscreen, especially during the summer months. You should also protect your lips and face with a scarf during the winter to prevent exposure to harsh weather.

If you take the necessary steps to avoid dry skin and you are adequately hydrating your skin, you should see a noticeable improvement. However, if your skin remains flaky and dry for a long period of time or begins to crack and bleed, consult with a dermatologist. You may need a stronger treatment or medication.

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