“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’s Dermo 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.