Have you been having dry skin or just recently noticed your skin is becoming dry, and you’re wondering if it’s normal or not?
Here’s a brief explanation of what you need to know about dry skin.
Dry skin is a condition characterised by roughness and dryness of the skin. It may also involve peeling, cracking, and sometimes, itching of the skin.
Some people naturally have dry skin while for others, it can be due to an underlying cause, such as exposure to harsh weather, use of harsh soaps and skin products, etc.
Dry skin can be seasonal i.e during certain weather like the dry season in some parts of Africa and winter.
Causes of dry skin
Dry skin occurs when your skin loses water too quickly and therefore becomes dehydrated. It can also be seen when your body produces less oil than normal, as seen in:
- Ageing process.
- Frequent washing of hands.
- Bathing habits, eg, long hot showers, frequent use of hot water for bathing, etc
- Frequent swimming in chlorinated water
- Seasons eg dry season, winter
- Long-term use of certain drugs (eg. anticancer drugs)
- Use of harsh skincare products
- Excess Dehydration
Signs and symptoms of dry skin
Below are some signs that you will see in dry skin:
- Rough or flaky texture of the skin
- Skin burns
- Peeling skin
- Cracking: This breaks the skin barrier and makes one prone to infections
Certain measures can be done to get rid of dry skin. They include:
- Use moisturizers (hand and body cream) after bathing/washing your hands. Your moisturizer should have at least one of these as its active ingredient; glycerin, petroleum jelly, coconut oil, almond oil, ceramides, or sorbitol.
- Use warm water, not hot water, for bathing
- Reducing shower time
- Use a milder towel to dry your body after a bath
- Drinking enough water
- Lotions containing antioxidants which fight the free radicals on your skin
When to see the doctor
Doctors responsible for treating skin conditions are called Dermatologists. You need to see a dermatologist when:
- There’s severe itching
- Redness of the skin
- Excessive cracking
- Inflammation/open sores from scratching
- There’s no improvement after about a few weeks of taking some self-care measures
- The signs and symptoms worsen with time
Dry skin can be natural which means you were born with it. However, certain factors can cause it e.g. exposure to harsh weather, use of harsh skincare products, long hot showers, long-term use of certain drugs, etc.
Some self-care measures can be taken to manage/get rid of dry skin. Some are the use of moisturizers, adequate hydration, reducing shower time, etc. When these measures prove futile, it’s advisable to see a dermatologist for adequate care.