Dry skin is a very common problem that is usually of little concern. Avoiding it helps to maintain the skin's beauty and especially, its health.
Dry skin: a common problem
It is so nice to have soft, supple and radiant skin. Beyond esthetic considerations, skin acts as a protective barrier, so it is important that it remain healthy. Dry skin results from the deterioration of the skin's natural barrier that keeps it hydrated.
Anyone can have dry skin at some point, and this is true at any age. However, as you age, skin tends to get dehydrated more easily. This can be explained by various changes, such as slower skin cell renewal, among other things.
Dry skin is sometimes accompanied by other symptoms such as itching, tingling or tightness, redness and desquamation (scaling). In extreme cases, the skin's integrity may be compromised (e.g., fissures or chapping). Dry skin can worsen certain skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.
The causes of dry skin
Dry skin can be attributed to several factors, including some linked to lifestyle. Here are some examples:
- excessive washing
- contact with irritating products
- wind and the cold
- exposure to the sun
- excessive heating or low humidity in the home
- overconsumption of alcohol
- certain illnesses (e.g., eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, diabetes, hypothyroidism, etc.)
- certain medications (e.g., diuretics, products against acne, chemotherapy agents, etc.)
You can take care of your skin every day in a multitude of ways. Here are some simple and healthy habits to adopt to keep your skin well hydrated.
- Use gentle skincare products. Clean your skin every day, but not too often. Use pH balanced cleansing products that are free of soap and fragrances.
- Hydrate your skin every day. After a bath or shower, gently pat your skin dry with a towel, avoid rubbing. Then, apply a quality, fragrance-free moisturizing product. Reapply as needed during the day.
- Adopt healthy eating habits. Follow the Canada Food Guide. Choose healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish, etc. Avoid junk food.
- Drink plenty of water. Drinking an adequate amount of water every day keeps the epidermis hydrated, supple and healthy. Reduce your consumption of beverages that contain a lot of sugar and caffeine.
- Refrain from smoking. Smoking affects the skin's hydration level as well as a slew of other harmful effects to skin, including premature aging of the skin.
- Consume alcohol with moderation. An excessive consumption of alcohol has a dehydrating effect, which can impact the skin. Moreover, alcohol influences the quality of sleep. Adequate sleep is essential for the renewal of skin cells.
- Protect your skin against the sun's rays. Optimal sun protection measures should be taken to prevent dry skin. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before any exposure to the sun, whether in winter or summer.
- Use a humidifier. This measure is recommended during winter, especially in the bedroom. Be sure to clean the device and change the filters regularly.
- Protect your skin against unfavourable conditions.
- Wear gloves when working outdoors or handling irritating products.
- Wear a scarf and warm, protective clothing in cold or windy conditions.
- Avoid exposure to extremely high temperatures (e.g., sauna or heat wave).
- Reduce the duration, frequency and temperature of baths and showers. Replace long hot baths and showers by quick and moderately warm baths and showers. Washing once a day is usually sufficient.
Speak to your pharmacist if you have any questions about the prevention and treatment of dry skin.