Dry Skin – Causes and Treatment

xerosisDry skin, also called xerosis, is a relatively common condition among the general population. The symptoms can include dryness, cracking, flaking and itching. It is
associated with aging as well as numerous outside influences such as the environment. Depending on the cause, there are ways to prevent and treat the symptoms.

A lack of humidity in the air can dry your skin out. The cold weather brings lower humidity both outside and inside when you turn your heat on. This will dry your skin. Airplanes are known for their dry air, so if you travel on them frequently, this could be causing your dry skin condition. A humidifier at home can help keep the air and your skin moist. Before traveling on airplanes, you should use a moisturizer with humectants. Most of these moisturizers are labeled as night moisturizers, but they can be worn during the daytime also if need ed. They are extra protection against the dry air.

If you all of a sudden change your skin care routine or products, this could have an effect on your skin. Numerous skin care products contain harsh ingredients that can strip away the layer of moisture on your skin. Alcohol would be one of those drying ingredients to avoid. Also, look for sodium lauryl sulfate in the ingredient list. It is a detergent found quite frequently in cleansers or shampoos. You might also want to look for products that do not contain fragrances as many of these can cause allergic reactions similar to dry skin.

If you smoke or live in a household where someone smokes indoors, this could be causing your dry skin problems. Cigarette smoke encourages oxidation, which encourages the production of free radicals. This causes damage to skin cells causing severe dryness as well as cracking of the skin. Smoking is also known to decrease the stores of Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A helps to keep the skin elastic and regulate glands that secrete oil. Stopping smoking or having the smoker in your household go outside to smoke will help if this is the case.

Certain prescription medications can cause dry skin also. These include diuretics, Retin-a, and cholesterol-lowering statins If you are taking any of these medications, you could talk with your doctor to see about switching to something else.

If you spend an enormous amount of time in the sun, it could be causing dryness also. Even if your slather on sunblock, the sun can penetrate enough to dry it out. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and cover up what you can if you must spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun.

Water is another cause of dry skin, at least on the surface. Drinking it is beneficial, but if you spend a lot of time in the water it will dry your skin out. The skin’s
natural oils will evaporate with the water. Avoid or limit time spent in chlorinated pools and hot baths whenever possible.

As we get older the skin will not retain the water that it once did. It is normal for those in their 50’s and above to have dry skin. Many skin products are on the market that can help keep your skin moist. The best products are made with all natural ingredients that do not include alcohol, fragrances or synthetic ingredients.
Skin dryness has many causes, but in most cases there are solutions to help combat this condition. Consideration must be made as to what is causing the dryness. Think about what environmental factors are present or medications taken. Always look for skin care products that are natural without synthetic ingredients that can cause dryness. If you have a persistent dry skin condition, visit your dermatologist. She may be able to diagnose the cause and recommend a treatment regimen.

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