Very Dry Skin: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention Tips
Dry skin or Xeroderma is a type of skin that develops due to innumerable reasons including cold weather, deodorants, hot showers, meagre hydration, or harsh chemicals. The skin is unable to retain moisture and causes problems. Dry skin feels rough, flaky, itchy, and may bleed as well. Usually, dehydrated skin doesn't have any medical condition behind it, but sporadically it can be caused by a medical condition also through hypothyroidism, dermatitis, or psoriasis.
Dry skin can be dealt with by regular hydration and moisture but if the skin is itchy and bleeding, it needs special ministrations.
Causes of very dry skin
Skin loses water quickly due to harsh water or chemicals and needs moisture, this is one of the foremost causes of an excessively dry derma. The other reasons are discussed below:
- Medications: Certain medications cause very dry skin. Repetitive use of them withholds moisture. The side effects of them are long-term and severe.
- Smoking: It contains chemicals that are harmful to overall health and skin. Cigarettes contain dry skin-causing agents.
- Diabetes: Excessive sugar in the blood removes fluids from the cells to control the sugar levels which further causes parched and itchy skin.
- Kidney disease or Dialysis: Through the treatment of dialysis, the surplus water from the body is removed. It also removes the necessary fluids from the body causing very dry skin. Too much phosphorus also creates the problem of itchiness.
- Cancer treatment: The cancer is treated through chemotherapy and the person is exposed to appalling radiation which sucks the body dry and leaves it in a permanent state.
- Anorexia: Poor diet and malnourishment may cause a lack of nutrients in the body. A deficiency of nutrients and water leads to the development of dry skin.
- Old age: As we age, the skin reduces the production of sebum. Sebum keeps the skin healthy, glowing, and plump. Its reduction causes flaky and dry skin.
How to prevent very dry skin
Exposure to harsh chemicals in makeup products and chlorinated swimming pools causes the skin to lose its plumpness, texture, and moisture leaving it itchy, flaky, and bleeding. Little changes in daily lifestyle can help in retaining moisture. The following activities can help in protecting the healing the skin:
Apply moisturiser after every wash
After a shower or any skincare routine, moisturiser should be applied immediately as it helps in trapping moisture. Look for a moisturiser that is rich in glycerin, shea butter, cocoa butter, ceramides, and fatty acids that heal the skin.
Moisturiser should be applied promptly even after simply washing your hands. Don’t let the skin go dehydrated. Opt for moisturisers that are fragrant-free as products that have fragrance causes irritation, allergy, and hormone disruption.
Long-term use of fragrant products has adverse effects on the skin. It is one of the major causes of dryness and patchiness. Products containing sodium lauryl sulphate should also be avoided.
Choose a product that can be used on the face and neck simultaneously so that no residue is apparent. For ultra-dry skin, look for moisturisers including Cetaphil, petroleum jelly, and baby oil. Petroleum jelly might be applied on socks and gloves before bedtime also to lock in moisture.
Dodge away any chemicals
This might come across as something new or never heard before but detergents play an important role in the lack of moisture in the skin. Detergents contain surfactants that disrupt the natural protective barrier and cause itchy, flaky, and irritant skin. They are the genesis of the skin disease called contact dermatitis for sensitive skin.
When the skin comes in contact with these detergent-washed clothes, they may cause damage to sensitive skin. Switch them with light, fabric softener, and soothing detergents. Choose detergents that are ‘hypoallergenic’.
Along with short 5-10 min baths, it is essential to minimise the use of soap bars. Certain soap bars act against the skin, so use soaps that are high in glycerin, Cetaphil, milk, etc. Soap containing alcohol or perfumed soaps should also be avoided at all costs. While discussing soap bars, it is indispensable to know that sponges and wash clothes are also harsh on the skin. They peel away the protective barrier of the skin leaving it exposed. Use a soft towel or mild sponge and avoid over-scrubbing.
Add moisture to the air
In extremely cold weather, the skin is exposed and left to bear the brunt. In these circumstances, there is an urgent need to add some moisture to the air surrounding you. If you have the provision, this can be done by lighting a small fire in the fireplace and cozying beside this. Fireplace is less drying to your skin than an air conditioner.
Plugging a humidifier in your home also provides moisture in the home. Sitting in a warm place will help in locking up the moisturise. Although we can’t control the weather and these systems are necessary for survival, adding a humidifier is good for extremely dry skin.
It restores the moisture in the atmosphere and retains the hydration. However, it is important to note that merely plugging in the humidifier won’t help alone. A hydrating skincare routine should be followed religiously every single day to battle extremely dehydrated skin.
Reduce the shower timing
Overbathing is also one of the reasons for having very dry skin. In the winter season, people tend to enjoy long hot baths. These baths strip away the natural oil of the skin.
Human skin is naturally enriched with natural oil and moisture which the body produces itself. Hence, it is important to reduce the time limit of the baths. Hot water is another reason behind an intensely parched derma. Swap it with lukewarm water. Hot water is abrasive on the skin which is a big no-no.
A pro tip: Don’t scratch your skin with your nails or any material. The itchiness can be taken care of by a plain layer of moisturiser. So, resist the temptation.
Be gentle with your face
Some people have the urge to wash their face every time they come back home. This can be very drying for the skin. Limit the use of mild face wash or cleansers up to twice a day only and use products having shea butter or argan oil.
Excessive cleansing of the face and not applying moisturiser after it leaves a person with very dry, rash, and itchy skin. Look for products that have hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, lanolin, petroleum, lactic acid, mineral oil, and jojoba oil in them.
Skincare routine for dehydrated skin
A skincare routine is a range of self-care to enhance, protect, and heal the skin. The following steps can be followed:
- Cleanser: A skincare routine followed at night is more enriching and healing. So, before bedtime cleanse your face with a mild cleanser. Cleanser cleans away all the dirt, makeup, and oil stuck. It is essential as not cleaning the face with a cleanser will clog the pores. A hydrating, cream, or oil-based cleanser is beneficial for the skin and it doesn’t strip away the natural oil of the skin also.
- Toner: Toner although is not necessary but if you want to achieve healthy skin where the pores are not visible, it is highly recommended. It removes the excessive grim and hydrates and nourishes the skin. Choose a toner that is infused with hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, etc.
- Serum: No opportunity shall be missed especially at night time when the skin heals itself. Choose DRSQ’s Radiance 3D serum rich in glycerin, rose water, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide in the morning. This serum repairs and heals dry, wounded, and irritated skin at night. Serums infused with glycolic and lactic acid are also recommended as they remove the dead skin layer and pave the way for smooth skin.
- Retinol: Retinol increases the production of collagen which reduces clogged pores and heals skin texture. It may cause some initial irritation and should be introduced slowly after doing a test patch.
- Moisturiser: The all-time favourite step of every person with rough skin. It helps the skin retain moisture in the skin and heals it. It is best applied twice a day. Opt for DRSQ Hydrafusion moisturiser in the daytime and DRSQ Advanced Repair Night cream for the nighttime. For extra dry skin, try DRSQ Collagen Boost morning and night. (product features)
Home remedies to combat very dry skin
People love to treat themselves at home with their mothers' long-knowing home remedies, which are not only easy to adopt but act as magic on the skin too. We have some secrets to share that will help with your parched skin at home.
Let’s take a look:
- Petroleum Jelly: Mother’s favourite petroleum jelly is amazing for your skin. It is also known as mineral oil and provides a protective layer to your skin. It traps the moisture in the body. Sometimes, the very dry skin or the chapped lips start bleeding, and the wound needs a moist place to heal so, using petroleum jelly on slight wounds is highly recommended. Using it is also easy peasy, apply a healthy layer of petroleum jelly on the skin evenly at night before your bedtime. Don’t forget the lips!
- Oatmeal baths: Oatmeal baths are the all-time favourites of grandmothers. Oatmeal has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which soothe flaky, irritated skin. It is very easy to make it at home, just blend the oatmeal in the blender and mix it with warm water in the tub and you are good to go. After an oatmeal bath, it is essential to lock in the moisturiser with a good cream or lotion.
- Gloves and Socks: When skin is exposed directly to the environment, it causes more damage to it. Wear gloves and socks in the winter season to protect the skin from harsh weather, chemicals, detergents, etc. Insulated gloves are also extremely helpful while doing chores. Wearing gloves while doing the dishes can protect the skin from ruthless chemicals.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil is a household favourite and it has emollient properties that fill the space between the cells and create a smooth surface for you. It has saturated fatty acids as well which hydrates the skin. It can be used directly on the skin and is good for very dry skin.
- Foods rich in omega-3s: Wearing the right moisturiser and avoiding harsh products is important but eating healthy is also crucial to maintain hydrated and plump skin. Intake of foods rich in omega-3s and antioxidants can make your skin look healthier and soft. Foods rich in antioxidants that should be included in the diet are lentils, carrots, blueberries, peas, and beans. Foods rich in omega-3s are salmon, mackerel, and sardines among others.
- Milk: Milk has lactic acid and is a natural exfoliator. It has natural anti-inflammatory properties as well. Using milk on the skin not only hydrates it but removes the dead skin too. Bathing in milk or applying a milk mask to your face will make your skin glow and hydrated. Milk is one thing that is safe for all skin types. To be precise, dip a cotton pad or a cloth in cold milk and place it over the dry, flaky, and patchy skin for 5-10 mins will work wonders.
These home remedies are easily available at home, cost-efficient, and of course, work amazingly on desiccated skin. To battle it, a lot of patience is required along with the right products. Home remedies are the safest things to try your hands on and leave behind mesmerising results.
Very dry skin or xeroderma develops when skin is frequently exposed to harsh and cold weather, wet environments, and the chemical industry. The skin gets irritated, rough, flaky, patchy, red, and even bleed.
Xeroderma needs a lot of help and caution as the matter can get worse anytime. Moisturising is the key to protecting your skin. Keep your skin and air hydrated all the time and never forget to apply a healthy layer of moisturiser or lotion to your skin after every bath or bedtime.
Don’t be harsh on your skin. Look for fragrant-free, deodorant-free soaps and skincare products as they irritate, and add supplements to your diet to achieve the glow you have always wanted.