What Causes Dry Skin?
Dry Skin Explained
Dry skin can be very uncomfortable for those who suffer from it, with tight, flaky skin that feels chapped and looks dull. Dry skin is largely caused by a failure of the body’s built-in moisturising mechanism – the stratum corneum.
When this mechanism isn’t performing optimally, the skin becomes lacking in moisture and can become parched and aged. Dryness is then exacerbated by external factors like weather, heating and air conditioning, making the condition worse. Skin will appear dull, especially on the cheeks and on the fragile skin around the eyes, and you might start to notice small expression lines around the corner of the mouth and eyes.
Seasonal Strategies for Dry Skin
There is no ‘cure’ for dry skin – a weakened moisture barrier function can’t be solved by skincare products or medications alone. Our complexions are largely dictated by things like genetics, age and other health issues – but there are things you can do to neutralise the effects of dry skin and help keep it moisturised and hydrated, throughout any seasonal shift.
The bitter cold and occasional dampness outside, combined with drying central heating systems indoors means that winter is the toughest season for those who suffer from dry skin. When the temperature starts to dip, it’s time to bring out the more hydrating facial moisturisers, and up your moisturising regimen to twice daily. Some people find using a humidifier indoors can help keep their skin in good condition through the colder months.
Summer means air conditioning, which does exactly the same to skin as a heater – it leeches the humidity from the air, which can exacerbate dry skin and cause irritation. More hydrating moisturisers are also a good idea if you know you’ll be in an air conditioned environment for more than a couple of hours. Summer also brings holidays, with chlorinated pools, air travel and the salty sea. These, too, can be tough on dry skin unless you rinse your face with clean water afterwards, and continue your cleansing and moisturising regime.
Year Round Relief
For year-round relief from dry skin, you should be looking for skincare products with the following ingredients or advantages:
Glycerin: This effective humectant attracts water – whether from the air around the skin, or from deeper in the skin below. This lubricates the stratum corneum and keeps skin hydrated.
Sunscreen or UV protection
Always seek skincare products that have UV protection. Sunburn from too much sun exposure can wreak havoc on an individual’s skin, causing it to dry out to an incredible degree. Sunscreens, whether they’re separate products or built into your moisturisers, can help preserve the skin’s youthful appearance, and keep it soft and hydrated when your stratum corneum fails.
As always, we recommend that you consult your dermatologist or physician for proper diagnosis and treatment before commencing any kind of skincare treatment regimen.