Dry skin – what are its main causes?
This is a question asked by the many people who are unfortunate enough to suffer from this inconvenient, and sometimes, debilitating ailment.
Regretfully, the causes of dry skin are usually difficult to pin down. This is a consequence of the fact that there is no universal, single, overriding cause of dry skin. On the contrary, there exists a vast array of different circumstances and situations that may trigger any given outbreak of dry skin.
As is true in any walk of life, understanding the causes and understanding the effects go hand in hand. So, firstly let us look at some of the frequently displayed symptoms that indicate that dry skin may be a problem
Dry skin is usually very easy to identify. Skin that peels, has a scaly or flaky appearance is a tell-tale sign that the natural moisture balance of your epidermis is deficient. Some wrinkling may also be seen.
Sore patches or an irritating rash may also indicate underlying skin dryness. With time, this may lead to split skin and open wounds. This in turn subjects you to an increased risk of infection.
Non visible signs that your skin may be suffering from dryness include localised or an all-over itchiness and a feeling of tightness or roughness.
Dry skin can strike almost anyone at any time, however, some general pattens have been noticed by dermatologists.
Dry skin is more likely to develop during the colder winter months; in these cases it is sometimes referred to as “winter itch”. The elderly and those suffering from diabetes are also more prone. Other medical conditions are also often associated with the condition. Further, various work sectors are known to be linked to an increased likelihood of dry skin and its associated problems.
So, what are the main causes of dry skin? Of course, this is a vital question to answer if we want understand how best to alleviate the symptoms. Further, are there any easy steps that each of us can undertake to better improve our skin care routines?
Considered overall, the main causes of skin dryness separate into two basic groupings; internal causes and external causes.
Those causes that result from internal circumstances are varied. The main factors belonging to this category include: An inappropriate diet, a person’s genetic make-up, side effects resulting from medicines taken, various medical conditions and, especially in women, changes or an imbalances in natural hormones.
The causes that result from external circumstances are similarly varied. The main factors included in this category are: Environmental surrounds and climate, pollution levels of differing substances, inappropriate personal hygiene routines, the inappropriate choice and use of cleaning products and, poor choices of clothing encompassing materials and styling.
Most people nowadays realise that a balanced and varied diet plays an important role in overall health care. Unfortunately, fewer people realise that diet also plays an important role in promoting, and maintaining, your skin’s health. To nurture and maintain a healthy epidermis, foods rich in vitamins A, B and C should form a constituent part of your daily intake.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are a good source of nutrients and vitamins. Those particularly beneficial for skin health include apricots, oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, grapes and leafy vegetables such as spinach. You should also aim to reduce your intake of foods that are highly processed, contain a high sugar or animal fat content. In addition, opt to bake or grill instead of frying.
You should also take care with your liquid intake. Sugar rich frizzy drinks and those containing caffeine or alcoholic beverages are definitely best avoided. Fresh water, pure and simple, is your best thirst quenching option.
Some prescribed medicines can carrying the possibility of drying skin as an unwanted side effect. Those used to treat high blood pressure and acne are often cited in this respect. Discuss this with your doctor if you think you may be affected. It is important to understand that it can be dangerous to cease taking prescribed medicines without appropriate professional advice.
Environmental factors include over-heated homes and offices. Here, the dry atmosphere can draw moisture from your skin. In complete contrast, the cold breezes of winter can likewise dry the moisture from your skin as well. Indoors, especially in bedrooms overnight, humidifiers help to reduce the drying effects of your surrounds. Outside, make sure you wear warm clothing, and do not forget the gloves and scarf!
Contact dermatitis and dry skin are often linked to each other. Here, exposure to external substances can strip your epidermis of its top protective lipid layer. These fatty lipids have a vital role in maintaining your skin’s correct moisture. Contact dermatitis threats plague many working environments.
Florists, dental assistants, hairdressers, medical workers and mechanics are all jobs that have a track record linked to dermatitis. The most effective solution is to isolate and remove the external irritant. Sometimes, where this is not possible, protective clothing should be provided and regulations, ensuring that they are worn, enforced.
Many people believe that dry skin results directly from poor personal cleanliness. In endeavour to rectify this erroneous belief, some people become over obsessed with frequent washing, often using strong soaps. Over-powering perfumes and deodorants laced with chemical fragrances may also be excessively used.
The best advice, if you suffer from dry skin, is to always use mild, perfume and alcohol free products. Steer clear of using artificial scents. Never forget the purpose of deodorants; apply them sensibly they are not a perfume substitute. Do not give brushes or harsh sponges any place in your home. Dab your towel with a blotting action when drying.
Finally, if have dry, itchy or flaking skin, choose loose fitting clothing that has a high natural fibre content. Cotton is ideal. This helps your skin to breathe naturally and provides the best option to reduce chaffing.
Remember, your skin is yours to keep for a lifetime, take good care of it and you will enjoy many happy years together.