Treating Dry Skin: An Overview

Dry SkinBefore we tackle what nature has to help us treat unwanted dry skin, it would be good first to have an idea of what causes dry skin in the first place. That way, we know what we’re dealing with and how to avoid it as well.

What is dry skin?

It is a common condition of the skin that is characterized by lack of sufficient amount of water in the skin’s most superficial layer, the epidermis. It is normally composed of both protein and fat or lipid. It is this lipid part that plays the role of preventing skin dehydration. Once fatty oils of the skin are taken out, the skin loses both protection and moisture easily. As it becomes dry, it also gets to be more sensitive and prone to rashes and breakdown.

While it affects both men and women, dry skin is more common among older people because they have decreased supply of natural skin oil or lubricants. This condition usually affects the hands, arms and lower legs.

While it can be mild, temporary and lasts to a range of a few days to weeks, it can also become a long term problem of the skin for some people. Symptoms of this condition include discomfort brought about by skin itching and tightening. Moreover, environmental factors like the dry air or winter season can worsen it. People who are exposed to frequent hand washing and sanitizing may be more prone to have dry skin. Some medications also have dry skin for a side effect.

Causes

The causes for dry skin can be classified in internal and external factors. The former includes genetics, age, family history, overall health and personal history of medical conditions like dermatitis, allergies and asthma. The latter, for its part, is the most common causes and easiest to address. These include low humidity and cold temperature especially during winter.

Using harsh soaps frequently can also cause dry skin. Soap is actually an emulsifier that takes out the skin’s oils so the more often you rub your skin with soap, the more oil you remove. Furthermore, dry skin can worsen if you selected an inadequate moisturizer or used it improperly. Even clothing materials like synthetic fibers or wool can aggravate dry skin.

Treatment

Ultimately, the best treatment one can have for dry skin is frequent and daily lubrication of a substance that inhibits water evaporation otherwise known as an emollient. As dry skin is mostly brought about by external factors, external treatments that include the application of creams and lotions are control breakouts effectively. You can also apply a moisturizer that you can buy over-the-counter. Generally, it’s only mild corticosteroid creams that can be applied on sensitive areas of your body like your face, underarm and groin.

You also have the option to go for natural home remedies to treat your dry skin. Here are some examples that you’re sure to find in your kitchen:

1. Oatmeal

If you add instant oatmeal to your bath, you’re sure to get soothed skin. That’s because oats are full of Vitamin E that’s essential for healthy skin. It’s also used as a remedy to treat chapped hands.

2. Cornstarch

Sprinkle a handful of cornstarch in your bathtub and feel how it can ease dry, itching skin.

3. Baking Soda

This household ingredient has been known to relieve skin itching. Try adding a cup of it in a tub of hot water. Soak it in for 30 minutes, air dry and feel its effect.

4. Vinegar

To relieve chapped hands, thoroughly wash your hands then apply vinegar on them. Wear a pair of soft gloves and leave them on overnight for maximum effect.

5. Salt

After you take a bath, massage a handful of salt into your skin. You’ll be amazed how it effectively removes dry skin and leaves it feeling really smooth.

6. Vegetable Oil

As hard as it is to imagine (mainly because it’s greasy oil), it can actually help relieve dry skin.

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