THE CAUSES OF DRY SKIN

Your skin is your body’s shield, acting as a barrier against irritants, allergens and the elements. It also controls the movement of moisture in and out of the body. Normal, healthy skin is coated in a thin layer of lipids, or natural fats, which locks in moisture and helps keep skin soft and supple. If this layer of lipids is compromised, your skin can lose moisture and become dehydrated and dry.

Dry SKin Lady Image

There are many reasons why your skin’s moisture barrier function might stop working effectively, leading to dry skin:

1. TEMPERATURE

Dry air, which is often a result of central heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, can draw the moisture from your skin. Cold, rain and wind can also be blamed for depriving skin of its moisture, as is spending too much time in the sun.

2. EXCESSIVE BATHING AND SHOWERING

Long showers and baths can wash away your skin’s natural oils and moisture, especially in water that is too hot. Try spending only a few minutes at a time showering in warm water.

3. INGREDIENTS

Many products and detergents contain harsh chemicals that can quickly remove skin’s natural protective oils. Try to avoid products that create a lot of lather too, as this can remove oils from the skin’s surface which may dry it out. Choose mild, fragrance-free products that can moisturise, as well as cleanse, your skin.

4. CLOTHES

Skin needs to breathe and clothes made from synthetic fibres such as acrylic, nylon and polyester may irritate your skin and lead to further discomfort. Opt for natural fabrics such as cotton and linen instead.

5. GENETICS

Your genes can determine your skin type. Some people find that they have a weaker skin barrier function and are predisposed to having a drier type of skin.

Now you know some of the triggers, you can take measures to help prevent dry skin and the discomfort it can cause. If you’re worried or unsure about your dry skin symptoms, we recommend that you speak to your dermatologist or pharmacist.

How do I know if I have dry skin? >

Your skin can show that it’s lacking moisture in many different ways. You may notice it has become tight, rough, cracked, red and itchy. The severity of these signs will depend to what extent the moisture barrier has been compromised. 

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