Dry skin usually occurs when the skin is unable to regulate its own moisture levels as water is lost from its outer layer (epidermis). The skin barrier becomes weakened, resulting in dry, flaky or rough skin, which can be itchy and uncomfortable. When you have dry skin, the outer fatty layers have been stripped away, leaving the inner layers of your skin vulnerable and unprotected. There are many reasons why this may happen and, depending on what the cause is, there are steps you can take to avoid or reduce your condition.
If your skin is dry, you need to replace the moisture that has been removed from the layers. Daily moisturising is essential to maintain the skin's natural humidity, a good moisturiser puts water back into the skin, but what is more important is keeping it there. Using Aveeno moisturisers can help form a barrier against moisture loss, keeping the skin supple and protected again.
You can often resolve the problem of dry skin by using an emollient. Emollients are skin moisturisers and they generally work in one of two ways:
- Occlusion agents - provide an impermeable layer on top of the skin to prevent water loss. This allows the skin to replenish the epidermis. While they are effective, these emollients are often paraffin-based which means that they can be thick and greasy to touch.
- Humectants ? these are often lighter, cream-based agents which pull water from deeper skin layers of the dermis into the more superficial epidermis. Good examples of humectants are glycerin and colloidal oatmeal. These agents are lighter and are well tolerated by people.
There are many reasons why dry skin might occur. External factors, such as cold weather and using harsh soaps, or internal factors such as diabetes and aging, can cause the outer skin layers to be stripped away. Click here for Common Causes.
Symptoms can range from a feeling of tightness to flaky, red skin. In more severe cases, the skin can crack, causing it to bleed.
How to treat:
If skin is dry, you need to replace the moisture that has been removed from the layers. Using moisturisers can help form a barrier against moisture loss to help keep the skin supple and protected again. With careful dry skin care, you can usually solve the problem of dry skin.
Do's and Don't's
- Do use a good moisturiser or emollient.
- Do drink lots of fluids.
- Don't over expose skin to strong sunlight.
- Don't use harsh soaps as these can dry skin out.
- Do try to use a light, fragrant free alternative to soap.
- Do wear gloves when using cleaning fluid products.