Dry Skin: Causes and Prevention

Dry skin is also known as xerosis. This skin condition can affect anyone and has various causes. The skin requires proper moisture and essential oils. Without it, the skin can feel tight, rough or at times, flaky. There are several factors that contribute to dry skin. Fortunately, there are treatment options available. The type of treatment depends on the underlying cause and the severity of dryness.  

 Causes of Dry Skin:  

  1. Weather: Cold, dry, and low humidity are common causes of dry skin. With winter months around the corner, your skin may lose its moisture without proper care.  
  2. Hot Showers and Baths: Hot baths can be very appealing, especially during the winter months. However, it is important to note that excessively hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness. It is best to take showers in lukewarm water and to try and shorten the length of your shower time.
  3. Dehydration: Another leading cause of dry skin is due to dehydration. Drinking enough water and staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining skin moisture.
  4. Age: Unfortunately, as people age, so does the skin. The skin produces less oil and becomes thinner, making it more susceptible to dryness.  
  5. Harsh Cleansers and Soaps: Many products contain chemicals that disrupt the skin’s natural barrier. Using harsh soaps and cleansers can lead to dry skin.
  6. Skin Conditions: Certain skin conditions cause dry skin such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
  7. Medical Conditions: Along with certain skin conditions, there are medical conditions that make individuals more prone to dry skin. These conditions include diabetes and hypothyroidism.  
  8. Medications: Dry skin can be a side effect of certain medicines.  
  9. Genetics: Unfortunately, certain individuals are genetically predisposed to having dry skin.  
  10. Exposure to Water: In addition to minimizing your time spent bathing, it is important to be mindful of your exposure to water in general. Frequently washing hands or swimming can strip the skin of its natural oils and lead to dryness.  
  11. Smoking and Alcohol: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption affects the skin’s health and can contribute to dryness.  
  12. Lack of Nutrients: A diet that is deficient in essential nutrients can lead to dry skin.  
  13. Stress: Chronic stress can take a toll on our bodies in many ways. It can not only cause dryness but other skin related issues.  
  14. Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormones can negatively impact the skin’s moisture levels. Pregnancy, menopause, or taking birth control pills can affect the bodies hormones.  

Preventions and Treatments:  

Fortunately, there are ways to treat dry skin or prevent the likelihood or severity of it. It is important to take the following tips into consideration to maintain healthy looking skin and prolong aging.  

  1. Moisture: One of the best ways to help or aid dry skin is by moisturizing. It is important to choose a good quality, fragrance free moisturizer to lock in moisture. Lotion should be applied after bathing to seal in water and prevent evaporation. It is recommended to moisturize twice a day, but individuals with medical conditions or excessively dry skin may need to apply it more often.  
  2. Limit Hot Baths and Showers: As stated previously, showering with excessively hot water can deplete the skin’s natural oils and moisture. It is beneficial to limit shower and bath time to 10-15 minutes and use lukewarm water.  
  3. Hydrate: Hydration is key to maintaining skin health. You should aim for a minimum of 8 glasses of water each day.  
  4. Humidifier: A humidifier can be beneficial in dry environments. It can add moisture to the air and prevent the skin from drying out.  
  5. Protect Your Skin: It is essential to protect your skin with sunscreen. This can not only help prevent sun damage but can also help with dryness. You should use appropriate clothing to shield your skin from harsh weather conditions- whether that be hot or cold.  
  6. Choose Skin-Friendly Fabrics: It is important to opt for fabrics that allow the skin to breathe and minimize irritation.  
  7. Avoid Irritants: Alcohol based products that are full of fragrance and chemicals are irritants to the skin. You should be mindful of the products you use for skin care and for laundry. 
  8. Regular Exfoliation: You should gently exfoliate your skin once or twice a week. This helps remove any dead skin cells, which allows moisturizers to work more effectively by easily penetrating the skin.  
  9. Prescription Medications: Special creams and ointment are available for individuals who suffer from severe dry skin.  
  10. Diet: Diets that contain foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants are beneficial for your skin health and appearance.  

If you notice that your skin is persistent or severely dry, it is essential to consult a dermatologist. Particularly if your dry skin is accompanied by other symptoms. An expert can provide the proper diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your particular case. Additionally, it is beneficial to determine the underlying cause of your dry skin to provide targeted solutions moving forward.  

If you or someone you know is suffering from dry skin, contact our office today. Dr. Gurgen is an award-winning dermatologist in the Villages, Florida. He offers specialized care and treatments to his patients in the Villages and Leesburg, Florida. Whether it is time for your annual appointment, or you have any skin-related concerns, we can help.