WHAT IS DRY SKIN?
In most cases, the skin lacks not only fat but also moisture. In particular, moisture-binding substances, which are mainly found in the hydrolipid film, play an essential role. It’s necessary to differentiate between dry and dehydrated skin.
Often used synonymously, dry skin, or xerosis (the medical term), is usually caused by a lack of sebum secreted by your sebaceous glands, while dehydrated skin is caused by the lack of moisture. Sebostasis is the term used to describe the reduced activity of the sebaceous glands, and is typically the trigger for dry and cracked skin conditions.
SOME TYPICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF DRY SKIN
SOME TYPICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF DRY SKIN
NOT ONLY THE FACE
Dry skin can affect any part of your body. Beyond the face, it commonly affects hands, arms, feet, elbows, keens, and legs.
Chapping with a tendency to form rhagades (cracks)
Your skin feels constantly "thirsty"; feelings of tension, itching, flaky skin, redness, a thinner epidermis (the skin’s outer layer), and “parchment skin” all indicate that your skin type might be of the dry variety.
Maintaining a skincare regime that includes moisturizing + hydrating, regular cleansing, and protective skincare treatments is important to nourish the skin with good fats and moisture-binding substances.
TYPES OF DRY SKIN
This occurs when the skin comes into contact with something which causes an irritant or allergic reaction. Chemicals found in paint, soaps, cosmetics, detergents medications, or metals in jewelry, are common trigger factors. Skin may become dry, itchy and red, sometimes even resulting in a skin rash.
ECZEMA (ATOPIC DERMATITIS)
The most common type of eczema is found in children and adults. It appears as red, dry, “silver” scaly patches of skin that can also be itchy in different areas of your body. Severe forms can cause the skin to crack, which makes the body more prone to things like bacterial infections. This common skin condition often affects children and can be inherited. Irritants, allergens, and stress can make eczema worse.
Dry skin on the scalp causes a condition known as dandruff in adults or cradle cap in infants. Seborrheic dermatitis can also cause dry, flaky skin patches on the face, navel (belly button), and inside creases of the arms, legs, or groin. This type of dermatitis is actually caused by an immune reaction to the overgrowth of Malassezia yeast (a normal yeast that grows on your skin).
A chronic skin condition that results in itchy patches of dry skin that is sensitive to touch. Unlike atopic dermatitis, which can be widespread, neurodermatitis is usually confined to one or two patches of skin. It is most common on the feet, ankles, hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck and scalp. The eyelids can also be affected, as can genital and anal areas. Common triggers for neurodermatitis include stress, anxiety, and anything that irritates your skin.
There isn't really a consensus about the exact cause of psoriasis, but it's thought to be an immune-mediated condition where infection-fighting cells attack healthy skin cells by mistake. This response generally shows up as a rash with itchy, scaly patches due to systemic inflammation, most commonly on the knees, elbows, trunk, and scalp.
CAUSES OF DRY SKIN
In most cases, the skin lacks not only fat, but also moisture.
Moisture-binding substances, which are mainly found in the hydrolipid film, play an essential role. Skin moisture depends on the supply of water in the deeper skin layers and on perspiration (more on that in a sec).
Dry skin is caused by a lack of:
Natural moisturizing factors (NMFs): Especially urea, amino acids and lactic acid – that help to bind in water (humectants).
Epidermal lipids such as ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterol which are needed for a healthy skin barrier function (occlusives).
Skin is constantly losing water through:
Perspiration: active water loss from the glands caused by heat, stress and activity.
Trans-Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL): the natural, passive way in which skin diffuses about half a litre of water a day from the deeper skin layers.
HARSH SOAPS & CLEANSERS
Choose your soaps and face washes carefully after checking the ingredients. Skin cleansing products that contain harsh sulfates,
parabens, artificial colors, and other synthetic ingredients irritate your skin and strip the skin of its natural moisturizers.
WEATHER & THE ELEMENTS
Skin tends to be driest in winter, when temperatures and humidity levels drop, causing your skin to become irritated and sometimes even rough and flaky. Cold, dry winters rob your skin of oils that keep it soft and supple otherwise. To maintain optimal body temperature in winter, your subcutaneous blood flow is restricted, causing a dip in sebum secretion that further dries out your skin. People who live in dry climates, work outside, or are often exposed to the elements are also more prone to dry skin problems as the lack of humidity in the air causes excessive moisture loss.
Internal factors, such as hormonal balance, are not to be overlooked when it comes to your skin. Imbalances in the three main hormones that can affect your skin are the thyroid hormone, cortisol (stress hormone), estrogen, and progesterone hormones. Some people are also more prone to dry skin as they age due to moisture-producing oil and sweat glands drying up, thinning skin; substances that give skin its elasticity, like fat and collagen, also decrease over time.