Dry skin is relatively common and can occur for a number of reasons at any age. It isn’t usually dangerous and is often temporary in nature but can be uncomfortable.
Typical symptoms include:
- Rough – looks and feels
- Redness that can be sensitive
- Tight feeling, especially after contact with water such as bathing or showering
Did you know some of the causes of dry skin?
A lot of the causes of dry skin are environmental, and include:
Soap – Products designed to clean you, often end up stripping your skin of the oils it needs to keep you hydrated. Whilst they may lather and leaving you feel clean, they end up drying the skin out. Also items such as exfolliant sponges, brushes and even flannels can also strip away those much needed oils.
Heat – Many sources of heat found in homes such as central heating and wood burning stoves actually dry the air out as they reduce humidity, at the same time reducing the amount of moisture in the skin.
Cold Weather – Low temperatures and humidity levels can draw moisture out of the skin. In winter this can be compounded further by central heating being increased or in summer, air conditioning being used to combat external temperatures. Generally skin loses moisture at a much faster rate in the winter which can weaken the barrier layer.
Sunshine – UV rays can damage skin cells, causing the outer layer of skin to thicken & become dehydrated. It doesn’t just happen on sunny days as UV rays are present even on cloudy days. If you are enjoying sports such as skiing or hiking, high altitudes can cause the UV rays to be even more concentrated. Skin on your hands is thinner than anywhere else on the body and usually one of the first areas to show skin damage as hands are exposed frequently to all elements.
Hot Baths & Showers – Long periods of being exposed to water, particularly hot water, can again strip wash the natural oils in your skin. The tightness sometimes experienced in skin indicates that it is dried out.
Shaving – Shaving can sometimes irritate the skin due to the extreme nature of the exfoliation.
Swimming – Chlorine, found in most swimming pools, are really important to kill bacteria and prevent skin infections but in the process have a drying effect on the skin.
Clothing – Wearing uncomfortable clothing can irritate, in particular woollen garments, and dry the skin as can tight clothing which can cause chafing. Nylon clothing can also cause the skin to get overly hot.
Washing Detergents – These can contain chemicals, designed to remove dirt from clothes, but which can also irritate the skin. Frequently warning labels are found on such products directing you to avoid direct contact with skin.
Frequent contact with irritants –A profession which requires you to frequently come into contact with water alongside potential irritants can dry the skin. Careers such as hairdressing or nursing, with frequent contact with soap/hair dye, can irritate the skin.
Side effects of drugs – some medication can cause dry skin as a side effect.
Flying – Pressurized air in aeroplane cabins contains virtually no humidity causing the moisture to be stripped from your skin.