What causes dry skin and how to prevent it - Emily Skye

What causes dry skin and how to prevent it

What causes dry skin and how to prevent it

Having dry skin can be quite annoying as it is often itchy, uncomfortable and not that pretty to look at! Aside from the common skin complaints such as eczema, dermatitis and allergies, dry skin is something that happens to us all at different stages. But did you know that there are often simple causes that can be easily remedied?

Dehydration - This is always the first thing I consider when I notice dry skin because when you are dehydrated your skin becomes dry and itchy. Fixing this is as simple as drinking a large glass of water and continuing to drink water regularly throughout your day.

Harsh soaps - You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on good soaps, however, some soaps manage to dry out and irritate your skin more than anything. So if you suffer from dry skin regularly and have ruled out all other possibilities, then it is not a bad idea to check which type of soap you are using. Aim for one free from nasty chemicals and parabens, and try to opt for one that is moisturising.

Irritating clothing - Synthetic clothing, as well as harsh wools, are commonly the cause of irritated and dry skin. Or sometimes it can be a pesky label that rubs against your waist or the back of your neck. So take note of which clothes (if any) leave your skin feeling itchy and try to avoid them, or similar fabric in the future.

Moisturising - Keep your skin moisturised, especially in extreme hot or cold weather (as I always find these to be the worst times?). Though be mindful of what type of moisturiser you are using. Just like with soap, some are better than others. I like to avoid moisturisers that are heavily perfumed and contain alcohols or lots of nasty chemicals. It is also a good idea to apply moisturiser after a shower/bath, when your skin is still slightly damp, as the moisturiser works to trap the moisture in your skin. Applying to already dry skin only has a temporary soothing effect.

Showers and Baths - Your skin secretes natural oils to help keep it hydrated and fresh, however, prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures, such as in a hot shower or bath, causes these oils to be washed away and moisture to be lost. So if dry skin is something you deal with often, consider reducing the temperature of your shower and remember to moisturise afterwards.

Medication - Unfortunately some medications can cause dry skin. If you are on long-term medication that is drying and irritating your skin, talk to your doctor about ways in which you can prevent this.

Air Conditioning - Another common cause of dry skin is moving between the internal temperature and the outside temperature when you are using heating or air conditioning. This rapid change from hot to cold, or cold to hot, can cause your skin to become dehydrated, dry and itch. The best way to avoid this? Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. 

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