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Health and Medical

10 Surprising Causes of Dry Skin

If you’re struggling with itchy, dry skin, chances are one of these notorious dehydrators is to blame.

The general cause of itchy and dry skin may seem obvious: it’s a lack of moisture. But where does this lack of humidity come from? “Dry skin is caused by an impaired skin barrier and dysfunction or lack of necessary healthy fats in the top layer of the skin,” says Shari Marchbein, MD, board-certified dermatologist of Downtown Dermatology in New York City. Normally, the top layer of the skin is made up of dead cells and natural oils, which help lock in moisture to keep skin soft and smooth, according to University of Iowa hospitals and clinics. But if there isn’t enough water in this top layer of cells, which can happen if the protective oils are decreased, dry skin could result.

In most cases, dry skin or rash is not a big deal. According to MedlinePlus, it is extremely common, can occur in people of all ages, and can appear anywhere on the body, from the hands and face to the legs and stomach. Dr. Marchbein says dryness can make the skin red, scaly, or itchy, which can be uncomfortable, but beyond that, there’s usually not much to worry about.

But sometimes the dryness will be severe and may indicate a skin problem or underlying health condition (more information below). If the dryness is so severe that it interferes with your ability to work or sleep, if the skin cracks or bleeds, or if it does not seem to respond to prescription treatment, be sure to see your primary care physician. or a board-certified dermatologist, suggests Harvard Health.

Your first thought when experiencing dry skin may be to pile on a moisturizer. And while it helps, and you’ll likely see changes within a few minutes, it’s a temporary fix. It may be more beneficial to get to the bottom of what is causing the drought in the first place. You might be surprised at what you find – some skin dehydrators hide in surprising places.

If you’re looking for remedies for dry skin, check out this list first to find out if any of these offenders may be to blame, and find out how the experts suggest you tackle these dehydrators. You should see improvements within a week or two of taking good care of your skin, according to Harvard Health.

  1. Scent has the potential to cause skin irritation

“Scent tends to irritate dry skin or make it worse, so avoid deodorants and goat milk products that are filled with fragrance,” says Amy Forman Taub, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern. Medicine in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Indeed, perfume is a common source of allergic contact dermatitis. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it could take multiple exposures for the skin to react, or you could see a reaction the very first time around.

Check the ingredient list for the word “fragrance,” and remember that “fragrance-free” is your friend. Body lotions and creams can do more harm than good when filled with perfumes. Read the labels carefully.

Soap can leave moisture in the skin and scalp

“Many soaps, detergents, and shampoos remove moisture from your skin and scalp because they are formulated to remove oil,” says Gretchen Frieling, MD, a certified dermatopathologist in Newton, Massachusetts. It is important to carefully choose facial cleansers, body cleansers, and laundry detergents. Using only a hydrating body wash is better than hard bar soap, says Jeffrey Benabio, MD, a dermatologist at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. Joel Schlessinger, MD, a dermatologist in Omaha, Nebraska, warns against harsh detergents – and even fabric softeners – if you have dry skin. Instead, look for mild laundry soaps like Seventh Generation Free and Clear.

  1. Genetics can affect your risk of dry skin

Add to that one more thing you can blame for your mom and dad: Researchers say dry skin can be inherited. According to a study, mutations in the genes that control the production of the protein filaggrin, which plays a role in the formation and hydration of the skin barrier, can cause several skin conditions. People with these mutations, estimated at around 10% of the population, suffer from drier skin and are more likely to develop eczema. Atopic dermatitis is a common type of eczema.

If you have always had dry skin or it is runny in your family, you must be diligent with daily hydration. “Look for ceramides and lipids in moisturizers, which help build and strengthen the skin barrier,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

  1. Hard water can prevent moisturizers from absorbing

When tap water contains a high concentration of minerals like magnesium and calcium, it is known as hard water, according to the US Geological Survey. These minerals can leave a film on the skin which causes dryness. “Heavy metals turn oils on the skin into a thick substance that clogs the glands, worsens conditions like acne and rosacea, and prevents moisturizers from being absorbed through the skin,” says Dennis Gross, MD, dermatologist and certified dermatologist surgeon in New York City. Investing in a home filtration system, whether it’s a whole-house treatment or a system that attaches to the faucet, can help, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  1. Medication for acne and rate of skin cell turnover, which causes dryness

Salicylic acid can be great for treating acne. But it can also dry out your skin when you first start using it. According to MedlinePlus. Dryness is also a common side effect of retinol. And this happens because retinol loosens the connection between cells on the skin’s surface. According to a study published in August 2017 in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. The good news is. That you don’t have to give up on these skincare savers. Although reducing their use can lead to irritation-free results. “Reduce the frequency of use from every day to every other day or so. Make sure you choose a gentle cleanser that doesn’t complicate the problem and ask your dermatologist for a less drying prescription if necessary”,

The best frequency will depend on your specific skin type, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Take the burning, peeling, and peeling as signs you need to stop using the product, says Dr. Frieling. “It’s not something to play guessing games and use trial and error,” she notes. Make an appointment with your dermatologist and bring the product with you so the doctor can evaluate it and make sure it is suitable for your skin.

  1. Dry air, indoors or outdoors, can increase the symptoms of dry skin.

Sometimes the air inside can be as painful on your skin as the air outside. Forced air, especially heat, can lower humidity levels, making the skin dry and itchy, says Frieling. Fortunately, you don’t need to suffer from dry, itchy skin all winter long – a humidifier can help restore air to your home. It’s best to set yours to between 30 and 50 percent humidity, according to the Cleveland Clinic. “Plus, it’s a good idea to keep a mild hydrocortisone cream – 1 percent on hand. Use it as soon as you see signs of chapped or dry skin, ”says Dr. Schlessinger. Hydrocortisone, which sometimes requires a prescription, reduces swelling,

  1. Zealous handwashing can lead to redness and irritation.

“Some people with dry skin wash their hands all the time,” says Forman Taub. According to Piedmont Healthcare, this won’t help dryness, as excessive washing can lead to dry, cracked skin. This can be a big deal for people who work in industries that require frequent hand washing, such as healthcare. To lessen the drying effects of your sanitary habit, use lukewarm water (hot water removes moisture from your skin), avoid alcohol-based soaps, and use goat milk soap. And dry your hands instead of rubbing them with a towel. in the paper, according to EveryNurse. Ointments tend to be thicker than moisturizers, so keep an ointment (like Aquaphor) on hand and apply after each wash.

  1. Long hot showers can contribute to dehydration of the skin.

It can be tempting to stay under hot steaming water for an extended period, especially during the cold months. But the practice could end up creating problems with your skin. “Taking long, steaming showers or baths can dry out the moisture in your skin,” says Frieling. Marchbein says to limit showers to no more than five minutes and to keep the water temperature hot, not hot. Then apply a moisturizer within a minute of getting out of the shower, Marchbein adds. Moisturizers work best on damp skin, according to MedlinePlus.

  1. Aging can increase skin dryness

Dry skin tends to become more of a problem with age. The Mayo Clinic notes that adults aged 40 or older have an increased risk of developing dry skin. And this affects about half of people in that age group. “As we age, our skin produces less oil and dries up,” says Frieling. For women, it could also be due to hormonal changes associated with menopause, according to Penn Medicine. The solution? Moisturize every day (or multiple times a day if necessary), recommends the American Academy of Dermatology. Marchbein says to look for a moisturizer that contains ceramides, humectants (such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin), and petrolatum. These ingredients help replenish lost moisture and quickly repair the skin barrier, she says.

  1. Certain medical conditions can cause dry skin

Skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema can make your skin more prone to dryness, says Frieling. But dry skin could also indicate something seemingly unrelated. Like diabetes, hypothyroidism, malnutrition, kidney failure, or Sjögren syndrome. According to Harvard Health and Penn Medicine. So how can you tell if drought is the result of something mundane like the weather or something more serious? Frieling says he’s on the lookout for inflamed areas. Scabs, intense itching, hyperpigmentation, and rough, scaly, or scaly patches on the skin. And takes this as a clue that it’s time to see a doctor. Once you have resolved the root cause of the drought,


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