Dry skin (or xerosis) and cracked skin are a very common disorder characterized by lack of moisture in the uppermost layer of skin, the epidermis.
Skin dryness is equally evident in men and women, but older people are most affected.
In the eldermis, the epidermis contains fewer natural oils and lubricants.
Areas such as arms, hands and especially the lower legs are most likely to develop dry and scaly skin due to the decline in blood circulation.
Skin dryness is influenced by the amount of water vapor in the ambient air, i.e. by moisture.
Dry skin can appear in mild form and can last from a few days to a few weeks.
Drought can also become a serious problem and be protracted.
The lipid content in the epidermis prevents the skin from drying out.
When fat is removed from the skin, it loses its protection and moisture.
Many women have dry skin in certain areas of the face, for example on the cheeks and around the eyes, but at the same time oily skin on the forehead, chin and nose.
Causes of dry skin
Dry air is probably the most common cause of dry skin, especially in winter.
Dry skin in winter is also called winter itching.
The cold and harsh weather dries out the skin and also causes chapped lips.
In winter, there is another problem inside buildings, because the heat from the radiators is very dry.
In summer, air dryers can produce a similar effect.
The use of a humidifier is recommended.
Hot and long showers
Long hot showers can wash away the natural oils from the skin that protect the skin.
It is better to limit showering to a few minutes. A shower is more recommended than a bath.
After that, the body must be dried by dabping it with a towel and rubbing it less.
Finally, it is recommended to apply a moisturizer immediately.
Soap can quickly consume the skin’s protective oils if hands are washed too often.
The face, hands, feet, armpits and groin bends are the only areas of the body that are usually washed with soap or shower gel. Also for this reason, the skin becomes dry there.
The rest of the body can only be rinsed with water.
Washing your hands too often can dry out the skin and cause rashes.
Many of us unwisely choose the first soap in the supermarket.
Antibacterial soaps or deodorants foam heavily and leave a feeling of cleanliness. When you soap yourself, you remove the layer of fat on the surface of the skin.
For dry skin you should use very mild soaps without fragrances.
For many people who have dry skin, it is better to use a mild cleanser instead of soap.
Usually, hospitals are equipped with excellent soaps for their healthcare professionals, as they need to wash their hands every time they touch a patient.
Washcloths, scratchy sponges or brushes should be avoided because they remove the thin layer of natural fats that keep skin moist and healthy.
It is recommended to use an aqueous cream instead of soap.
Some men have a very rough beard and decide not to shave it because it damages the skin.
To keep the skin below moist, it is recommended to apply oil (for example, shea butter) with a light massage on the chin and cheeks.
Those who suffer from a food allergy can develop pimples and dry skin.
In this case, a person has eczema as a result of an allergic reaction.
Food allergies cause constant chemical reactions in the body and produce toxins.
The body reacts to rid itself of the allergen and toxins that put a strain on the immune system and the surface of the skin.
The consequence of this reaction is an increase in acne.
Acne is not always the result of a food allergy, but this must be evaluated by a dermatologist.
scaling inside the ear canals is usually the symptom of seborrheic dermatitis.
This condition often affects the skin, especially around the eyebrows, eyelids, forehead and nose.
The skin appears dry and scaly, can also become painful, and is sometimes infected.
It is important to prevent the development of an infection of the skin and ears and thus avoid the urge of scratching.
Do not push a cotton swab into the ear canal, because this pushes earwax to the eardrum.
It is enough to lightly smear petroleum jelly in the ears before swimming or washing the head.
You can also use a small cotton ball to dry the water.
In summer, when you are at the sea, it is enough to bend your head to the affected side and bring a warm stone into contact with the ear to facilitate the leakage of water.
Itching from clothes
No matter if a sweater looks beautiful, it does not help if it makes discomfort.
Dry skin is especially sensitive to contact with irritants and when it is constantly exposed to contact with garments, which can dry out the skin and cause itching on the skin.
Women may have reddened and dry skin under the breast due to the fabric of the bra or metal temples in it.
For some people, it may help not to use organic cleaning products.
Instead of wool, you can try cashmere.
Avoid too tight-fitting garments because they cause constant friction that irritates the skin.
Various medicines have the effect of drying out the skin, for example those against:
1. high blood pressure, such as diuretics, 2. acne and other skin conditions,
such as retinoids.
If, after starting to take a drug, you notice the problem of dry skin, you need to contact the doctor.
The doctor may change the dose or the drug.
Cosmetics! What primers to use for the face?
One must be careful with inexpensive cosmetics. Most importantly, foundations can cause dry skin.
The best primers are those offered in the form of creams and liquids, while those made of powder without oil should be avoided.
Dry skin and tattoos
Pregnant women should have to wait with tattoos.
Unlike food and medicines, tattoos with inks are not allowed. Tattoo ink can pose a risk to the development of the child.
Diseases that cause dry skin
Normally, dry skin is caused by external factors, but it can also be a sign of something that comes from within, such as a natural, physiological change or disease.
For example, dry skin often develops as a person ages, especially in women.
Changing hormone levels can cause dry skin with age.
Various diseases can cause dry skin.
Among the most common diseases are:
1. Skin diseases, such as eczema and psoriasis. Usually this requires specific therapy, but the use of moisturizer helps.
Psoriasis mainly affects the knees, elbows and abdomen or inner thighs.
2. Diabetes. Poorly controlled blood sugar levels can cause dehydration and dry out the skin.
Because diabetes can slow healing processes and increase the risk of infection, it is important that people with this condition keep their skin healthy.
3. Hypothyroidism. Low levels of thyroid hormones can decrease the amount of fat produced by the skin.
The result is dry and rough skin.
Hypothyroidism usually causes other symptoms, such as fatigue and weight gain.
4. Malnutrition. Not eating the necessary nutrients causes the skin to become dehydrated.
This can be caused by an eating disorder or by the lack of vitamins A, B or C in the food.
Other mild or serious conditions can cause the problem of dry skin.
Sometimes the problem of skin dryness is solved by taking a medication for the underlying disease. In other cases, it might be useful to follow some of the advice outlined above.
Figure: dry skin,cracking
What are possible complications of dry skin?
A common complication of skin dryness and itching is a secondary bacterial infection or infection caused by a fungus.
Infections can be mild and resolve spontaneously, or be severe and require antibiotic therapy.
Itching leads to repeated scratching, serious injuries, and eventually the “itching-scratching-rash-itching” cycle.
Due to the ongoing cycle itch-scratching, the skin in this area can thicken greatly due to rubbing. If the skin is continuously scratched in one and the same place, this can lead to a chronic disease called lichen simplex chronicus and prurigo nodularis.
Also, the glans penis can have
dry and rough skin Scaling in the genital area is due to inflammation of the penile mucosa, which is caused by irritation or allergy or may be a side effect to a medication.
Before using a cortisone-containing cream or natural products that can aggravate the irritation of the glans, it is better to consult a dermatologist-venereologist
Dry and reddened skin in newborns and infants
Newborns have extremely sensitive skin. So you have to be very careful when choosing the products with which to rub them. Perfumed creams and oils should be avoided, but natural and neutral products are useful.
Cotton clothing is more suitable than wool, which can irritate the toddler’s skin.
In case of dry skin, extra virgin olive oil is recommended.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Even though it’s not always possible to have perfect skin, the following advice can help keep skin moist and healthy:
- Hydrate the skin. Moisturizers protect the skin by preventing water from evaporating.
Moisturizers, such as over-the-counter branded Eucerin and Cetaphil, usually work best.
One could also use cosmetics that contain moisturizing substances.
If the skin is extremely dry, it is recommended to apply an oil such as baby oil until the skin is supple again.
Oil is more effective than moisturizer and prevents the evaporation of water on the surface of the skin.
An excellent product is argan oil, which has moisturizing and antioxidant properties.
- Use warm water and limit bathing time.
Warm water and prolonged showers can remove the oil from the skin.
Limit bath time or shower time to about 15 minutes and do not use water that is too hot.
Avoid harsh soaps that dry out the skin.
It is better to use a mild cleanser for the skin or a bubble bath with a moisturizer. Choose mild soaps with added oil or fat, for example from the company “Dove”. Avoid fragrance additives and antibacterial detergents that aggravate the skin condition.
You can try different branded products until you find one that’s just the right thing.
A rule of thumb is that the skin must feel soft and smooth after washing, never dry or rough.
Apply a moisturizer immediately after the bath.
After washing or bathing, only dab the body with a towel to keep the skin moist.
Immediately keep the skin moist with an oil or cream to prevent water from escaping the surface of the skin.
- Use of a humidifier.
Warm and dry air inside the apartment can damage sensitive skin and worsen itching and flaking.
A portable humidifier or one attached to the heating system can humidify the air inside the apartment. Different types of portable humidifiers are available.
You can choose the one that suits your taste and your needs. To ward off bacteria and fungi, keep the humidifier clean.
- Choose skin-friendly fabrics.
Natural fibers (cotton and silk) allow the skin to breathe. Although wool is a natural material, it can irritate the skin even if it is not dry.
When washing clothes, detergents without dyes and fragrances should be used, as they can irritate the skin.
If dry skin causes itching, you can put cold compresses on the affected areas. To reduce inflammation, use an over-the-counter hydrocortisone-containing cream or an oil that contains at least 1% hydrocortisone.
If these remedies do not relieve the symptoms or make them worse, a doctor or dermatologist should be consulted.
Diet and nutrition
From a nutritional point of view, the best thing you can do against skin dryness is to keep the skin well moisturized.
Drinking water promotes the blood circulation of the skin.
It is also significantly less expensive than expensive creams. In addition to drinking water, there is the consumption of fruits and vegetables that have a high water content, such as melons, apples, oranges, pineapples, celery, watermelons and cucumbers.
Foods with a high content of omega-3 fatty acids
The “good” fats help to keep the skin supple, because they retain moisture and have a volumizing effect. In this way, the appearance of wrinkles can be reduced and acts like an instant lift!
In fact, an omega-3 deficiency can increase symptoms of skin dryness and, in some cases, even promote eczema.
Foods rich in omega-3 include salmon, tuna, and trout.
If you don’t like fish, you can try flaxseed, avocado and nuts.
Foods rich in vitamin A Vitamin A is an excellent remedy for dry and flaky skin and is mainly found in dark green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin A also helps repair existing skin damage.
It is useful in weather conditions with a lot of wind and sun.
In addition to green leafy vegetables, it is also found in carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin.
Foods high in vitamin E
This powerful vitamin helps the skin retain its natural moisture and strengthens its protection against ultraviolet rays.
Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts, seeds, avocado, wheat germ oil, flaxseed oil, dark green leafy vegetables, and broccoli.
How to treat dry skin in case of sunburn or burn. Dry skin occurs when environmental or chemical factors remove moisture and protective oils from the skin surface.
Ultraviolet radiation, for example, can damage the epidermis and cause solar erythema with dry and cracked skin.
A person can sunbathe, but must take special care to keep the skin moist to avoid damage, especially if he already suffers from skin dryness.
Skin damage can be caused both by staying in the sun and under the high sun of an aesthetic center.
Keep skin moist before and after tanning. Choose oils or creams that are alcohol-free.
Moisturizing products create a barrier that prevents the skin from drying out.
Which is the most suitable cream for dry skin?
The best products for dry skin are mild cleansers and moisturizers.
Soap-free products and fragrance-free and mild detergents can be found among Dove and Vichy products.
Oily and moisturizing creams are available from Aquaphor and Nivea or from Karité.
In the case of skin dryness and blackheads, creams and oils, petroleum jelly, silicone oil, paraffin and other substances derived from petroleum must be avoided because they close the pores.