Dry skin is a common skin condition that can happen in any season, but is most common during the winter months. To prepare yourself for this winter, here is what you need to know about the causes of dry skin and the solutions for dealing with it.
CAUSES OF DRY SKIN
In the most general sense, dry skin is caused when your skin loses moisture through a process called Trans Epidermal Water Loss, or TEWL. TEWL is a formal way of saying evaporation and it’s a normal process that happens all the time. However for some people, and under some circumstances, it can occur at a faster rate. When this happens, you experience dry skin.
Since everyone experiences TEWL but not everyone has dry skin, there are several intervening factors that cause moisture loss to occur at a faster rate. These can be categorized as internal or external causes of dry skin.
Internal Causes of Dry Skin
Internal causes are things that are pretty much out of your control – they have to do with your genetic makeup, which makes some people more prone to dry skin than others. Internal causes of dry skin include:
- Family history
- Overall health
- Age (older people are more prone to dry skin)
- Personal history of other skin conditions
Although you can’t do much about the internal causes of dry skin, you can still control the problem. We will discuss dry skin solutions in a bit.
External Causes of Dry Skin
External causes are outside factors which can be controlled, at least to some extent. Some external causes of dry skin include:
- Harsh soaps and over-washing (sometimes as a result of your job, which may require you to wash your hands frequently)
- Cold temperatures
- Sun exposure
- Low humidity
- Heat from central heating, wood stoves, fireplaces or space heaters
- Long, hot showers or baths
- Harsh detergents and/or irritating clothing
In addition to treating dry skin, these external causes can be controlled or minimized, which will limit
— Kaiderma Skin Care
(@kaiderma) October 6,
SOLUTIONS FOR DRY SKIN
There are a number of dry skin remedies that you can try if you’re experiencing dry skin. Some of these are focused on reducing moisture loss; others are focused on adding moisture back into the skin.
Reducing Moisture Loss
To reduce the amount of moisture that evaporates from your skin you should:
- Avoid long, hot baths or showers. Skin care experts say the water should be warm (not hot and steamy) and you should limit it to 5-10 minutes max.
- Avoid harsh soaps and detergents. Instead, try our tips for adding moisture back (below) and
use a detergent that is fragrance free or formulated for sensitive skin.
- Always use sunscreen when you are outside.
- Cover skin when you are in harsh environments, such as extreme cold or wind.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture back into your house. This is especially helpful in the winter
when you have the heater/fireplace/wood stove on.
- Use a quality oil-based moisturizer on your skin whenever possible.
Adding Moisture Back
Reducing moisture loss is often not enough; you also need to boost the moisture in your skin. To do this:
- Use products with natural oils to restore the moisture balance in your skin. We suggest using Facial Oil Wash in place of harsh soaps for cleansing and Ocean Body Oil after your bath or shower.
- Moisturize within minutes of bathing or showering to trap in the moisture.
- Moisturize your hands every time you wash them.
- Use a moisturizer before you go to bed to prevent moisture loss overnight, such as Anti-Aging Facial Serum.
- Your lips need moisture too. Wear lip balm or lip treatment to prevent your lips from drying and
cracking, especially in the winter.
From the list of dry skin causes, you probably realize why dry skin is so common in the winter – cold,
windy weather with low humidity, the need to wash hands often to prevent the spread of germs, and
the desire to warm up in a hot shower when you come in from the cold. This year, follow the solutions
on this list to keep your skin moisturized, soft and supple.