What is dry skin?
When your skin loses significant amounts of water it becomes dry. This is the first sign of slight alterations of the lipid layer that holds together the skin barrier. When the essential lipids that compose the skin barrier’s mortar (ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids) aren’t present in the right quantity and proportion the skin appears dry. It thus becomes:
- Less resistant to external agents
- Easily irritated.
Why skin feels tight and dry?
Dry skin can result from various causes:
- Environmental and climatic causes: living in an environment that’s too cold and lacks humidity can dry out your skin, especially when heating is turned on.
- Work activities: undertaking jobs that require you to frequently immerse your hands in water or use chemical substances- such as in hairdressing, nursing, or cooking- can cause your skin to become too dry.
- Erroneous use of certain products: overly aggressive cleansing solutions such as soaps, deodorants and cleansers can remove oil and fats from your skin, making it become dry.
- Bad habits: showers that are too short or hot can de-moisturise your skin.
- Constitutional factors: for example, dry skin can result from age. With the passage of years, skin tends to reduce its production of protective hydrolipidic film. Hormonal changes (such as during menopause) can also increase skin dryness.
Symptoms of dry skin
Dry skin primarily appears on the most exposed parts of your body that have few sebaceous glands, such as the hands, legs, and arms. How can you recognise it?
- De-moisturisation in the form of soft lines that mark your body.
- Coarseness and cracks: dry skin appears flaky and coarse to touch. It can also develop cracks that in some cases bleed.
- Itchiness: excessive de-moisturisation can create strong feelings of itchiness.
However, facial skin can become dry as well. For example, prolonged use of surgical masks can create an effect of condensation between your skin and the mask, leading to greater evaporation- and therefore a greater loss of lipids.
It’s important to recognise the symptoms of dry skin to not confuse it with other skin types that need different treatment. You can recognise sensitive skin, for example, through the presence of skin rashes, stinging or biting sensations, and reddening of the skin.
Remedies for treating dry skin
To treat dry skin, it’s important to follow certain precautions in your daily routine. If the problem persists or becomes overwhelming, it’s better to consult a dermatologist to agree on a treatment to follow.
What are remedies for dry skin?
- Restoring your skin barrier through applying emollient creams containing the three essential epidermal lipids in correct proportion. This will help rebuild the barrier’s mortar.
- Selecting gentle cleansers without aggressive surfactants. This will help to keep symptoms under control.
- Using soothing emollient products that can be easily spread and absorbed for cases of itchiness. This will help relieve any skin pain.
- Trust your dermatologist. It’s essential to follow the treatment advised by your specialist consistently.
Even some habits related to lifestyle and diet can help to relieve pain caused by dry skin:
- Avoiding wool or polyester clothing. Instead, opt for silk and cotton clothing.
- Protect yourself from the cold. During winter, keep the more exposed parts of your body warm, such as the face and hands, by doing things such as wearing gloves and scarves.
- Have short, lukewarm showers. Water that’s too warm tends to dry out your skin, so it’s important to keep water lukewarm and showers no longer than 10 minutes. After you shower, apply the emollient cream on your skin while it’s still wet.
- Even your skin needs nutrients. If it lacks Vitamin D, Vitamin A, niacin, zinc, or iron due to your diet, your skin may become excessively dry.
Best moisturizer for dry and tight skin
The above information is not medical advice. It is given purely as an indication and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.