Effective Dry Skin Care Techniques

3 minutes to read


From central heating, to the sun, pollution and even hard water, there are so many reasons that our skin can become dry. Here we explain the causes of dry skin and how you can care for it with gentle skin care.

Why does my skin feel dry?

Dry skin is a common skin concern that can be caused by many different factors including the sun, perfumed or harsh skin care, hard water, humidity, ageing or just genetics. These environmental aggressors can damage the skin’s natural barrier function and cause transepidermal water loss – a process where water evaporates from the skin’s surface causing it to become drier. A lack of natural oils in the skin can also lead to premature ageing signs, such as fine lines, sagging and wrinkles, to appear.

"Dry skin is increasingly common with age, certain medical conditions, and environments with dry air."

"Dry skin is increasingly common with age, certain medical conditions, and environments with dry air," explains Dr. Zac Handler, dermatologist consultant. "While soaps may exacerbate the condition, the underlying cause is due to lack of oils called lipids in the top layer of the skin. Additionally, a reduction in natural moisturizing factor also occurs. This prevents the skin from holding onto water and it will evaporate, leaving the skin rough and scaly".

What makes dry skin worse?

When your skin feels dry there are a few things that you should avoid in order to stop it from becoming worse:

Over cleansing the skin

Firstly, over cleansing the skin with harsh products and soaps can strip the skin of essential oils and lipids. So try to bathe or shower once a day on extremely dry skin days using gentle emollients and shower gels, keeping the water temperature at a cool to moderate temperature. Very hot showers, while they may feel good, can cause surface dehydration.

Protect the skin from sun damage

The sun’s long-wave UVA rays are present all year round, even on cloudy grey days, and are responsible for causing damage to the deeper layers of the skin. This damage disrupts the skin’s natural barrier function while breaking down important proteins such as collagen that help to keep the skin plump and hydrated. Protect your skin by applying a broad-spectrum sun protection in a high SPF factor. This in turn, will help keep skin dryness at bay.

Invest in a dehumidifier

Central heating may keep your home toasty, but it’s a common cause of dry skin - the drier the air, the drier the skin becomes. One simple way you can avoid this is by investing in a cool air humidifier as it helps to increase the amount of moisture in the air. Help your skin barrier to remain hydrated by placing it in the bedroom while you sleep.

Dry skin care

As dry skin is caused by a loss of moisture, it’s important to replace it with gentle and emollient-rich cleansers and moisturisers. "For those prone to dry skin, regular use of moisturiser is important," advises Dr. Zac Handler. "If the flare up is severe, medications such as topical steroids, may be prescribed by your board-certified dermatologist to expedite resolution".

For less severe cases of dry skin, maintaining a good skin care routine can help to keep moisture levels at bay. Start by washing the body with a gentle product such as Sanex Expert Skin Health Moisturising Shower Gel. Its gentle formula contains dermo oils that help to restore the natural balance of the skin - replenishing the skin’s protective barrier and maintaining its natural PH balance. Once you’re out of the shower, apply a rich body moisturiser all over within a few minutes of drying yourself. This will help lock the hydration in.

Zac Handler, M.D. is a board-certified academic dermatologist and an assistant clinical professor in dermatology at Rutgers University New Jersey Medical School and New York Medical College. Dr. Handler holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of California, San Diego, and received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Nebraska.


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