Dry skin can happen to anyone at any age for various reasons. It is very easy to spot dry skin. In general, the skin has a dehydrated facade caused by its inability to preserve moisture. The skin will usually feel stretched, tight, uncomfortable, painful and even itchy; it may look red, dull or flaky. The low level of sebum in dry skin causes the skin to be extra sensitive while chapping and cracking are prominent in extremely dry skin.
There are many causes of dry skin including poor diet or lack of nutrition, especially Vitamin A and Vitamin B. Exposure to direct sunlight, dry air, breeze, cold, chemicals and cosmetics, prolonged hot baths, and using harsh soaps are also possible causes. Patients suffering from diabetes might be suffering serious skin complications such as dry skin.
There are many ways to treat dry skin, which is basically to retain and minimize the loss of moisture in the skin. Below are some helpful tips to prevent and treat dry skin:
a) Take brief baths and showers – hot bath or shower will wash away the natural protective layer of oil on our skin. Baths should be kept brief between 5-10 minutes.
b) Avoid hot water – hot water removes the natural protective layer of oil on our skin more quickly than warm water.
c) Use a mild soap or soap-free body cleanser – soap that is too harsh will wash away not only dirt and grime but our natural protective layer.
d) Moisturize immediately after bath – moisturizing creams should be applied after bath when the skin is still moist. Ointments and creams are effective for trapping water in the skin.
e) It is important to keep our body hydrated. Eat a balanced diet of more fruits and vegetables to help keep our skin healthy and smooth. It is vital to drink lots of water to help hydrate not only our body but also our skin. Avoid alcohol and caffeine because these substances have a diuretic effect, causing the body and skin cells to lose fluids and essential minerals.
Over-the-counter urea or lactic acid-based products are easily accessible to cure severe dry skin symptoms – both these agents help the surface of the skin hold water. A serious case of dry skin can lead to a condition called dermatitis which refers to an inflammation of the skin.