What can cause Dry skin & what can make it worse?
Normal, healthy skin is coated in a thin layer of natural lipids, or fatty substances. They keep in moisture, leaving the skin soft and supple. When the skin has lost it moisture it can be flaky in places. If dry skin is not treated it will not only become drier, but can lead to sensitivity as well.
What causes dry skin? Usually, something like change in environment, air-conditioning and flying or something you're doing to your skin - is stripping away these fatty oils, leaving your skin unprotected. Less often, the cause is internal - a health condition, menopause or genetic predisposition is making your skin dry out.
While patches of dry, itchy skin can appear anywhere, it's most common on the arms, hands, lower legs and abdomen. Dry skin is often felt more than it's seen, on some people it can be noticeable and embarrassing.
Without care, dry skin can sometimes lead to dermatitis - inflammation of the skin - swelling, and infection. The good news is that just as most causes of dry skin are external, most treatments for dry skin are external. With careful dry skin care, you can usually solve the problem.
Myths about Dry skin
You shouldn’t exfoliate dry skin.
When skin is dry and flaky, creams and moisturisers are not able to penetrate it to deliver hydration where it needs most. Gentle exfoliation will buff away dead skin cells and make it easier for skin to soak up nourishing ingredients from your skincare regimen.
The more you moisturise, the better.
Dehydrated skin often experiences dry patches and flakes, which can end up clogging pores. When you apply excess moisturiser, these dead skin cells end up sticking to the skin instead of falling off naturally, increasing the chances of pimple outbreaks and clogged pores.
The thicker the cream, the more hydrating it is.
While it seems like dry skin may crave a thicker and heavier cream, light creams that are formulated correctly actually do better at hydrating skin. These moisturisers can penetrate skin faster, and are more comfortable for use in our humid weather.
Hot showers are good for dry skin.
Blood vessels dilate during a hot shower and strips skin of its natural oils, which can lead to even drier skin. Keep the water lukewarm, and limit the time spent in the shower to avoid scaly skin.