The first thing I believe someone with dry skin type should know is: your skin is healthy. Then why are we constantly searching for the causes and treatments of dry skin type?
Well, because every skin type has its weak points, which can lead to additional skin problems and make our daily life more uncomfortable if left untreated. And I'm guessing you’re already experiencing some difficulties?
No matter the skin type, every skin needs to be nourished properly. This means that understanding your skin type can give you all the tools you need to get that flawless skin you always wanted! Let’s dive in and learn everything there is about dry skin.
There are four skin types: normal, dry, oily and combination. The type of skin you end up with is regulated by factors such as genetics, age, lifestyle, and even momentary environmental conditions. This means that your skin type can vary considerably according to the many internal and external factors it’s subjected to in a given time period.
But, more on that later.
The first thing you need to do is to find out if you really have a dry skin type. You can check out our article with all the skin types explained, so you can make sure you really know your skin type.
And, if you do fall into the dry skin type club, this is what that means.
The word “dry” is used to describe a skin type which produces less sebum than normal skin. The more scientific word is “xerosis”, and the more scientific explanation is a skin type which lacks the lipids it requires to preserve moisture and form a protective shield against external forces.
Xerosis or dry skin is characterized by dehydration of the most superficial layer on the skin - the epidermis. This layer is composed of fats or lipids, and protein. The lipids in the epidermis, alongside with some proteins, are responsible for maintaining water and preventing dehydration. But, when the body is deficient in lipids or protein water can more easily evaporate from the skin’s cells. Without water, the skin becomes dry, loses its protective barrier against the external influences which can damage it more easily, cause rashes and a scaly look.
Almost all people have had dry skin at some point in their lives, This is because a lot of external factors can affect our skin condition and dry it out. Xerosis varies in terms of severity or form - which can be a little bit confusing and not always distinguishable.
The good news is that people with dry skin type usually experience mild symptoms that can be easily prevented or remedied. But, in some cases, especially if left untreated or neglected, the dryness can become more severe and turn into dermatitis, which is the medical term for extremely dry skin.
There are three types of dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis, as the name suggests, is a condition that occurs after the skin comes into contact with something irritating or an allergen. This is why experts divide contact dermatitis into two categories.
Irritant contact dermatitis - which occurs after the skin is exposed to an irritating agent such as abrasive and strong soaps, skincare products, bleach, laundry detergents, etc.
Allergic contact dermatitis - occurs after the skin is exposed to a substance you are allergic to.
Contact dermatitis develops a localized inflammation and itching, but symptoms can vary greatly depending on how sensitive your skin is to the substance you are exposed to.
Common symptoms of contact dermatitis include dry, scaly, and flaky skin, redness, a burning sensation, extreme itching, swelling, blistering, and cracking due to extreme dryness.
The name atopic dermatitis might not be familiar but, I’m sure you’ve heard about eczema by now. It’s a very common and chronic skin condition characterized by dry, itchy skin that often appears with a red rash.
Just to be completely clear here, atopic dermatitis is the most common and chronic type of eczema, while eczema itself is used as a term for the more general condition.
Symptoms of atopic dermatitis include severe itching, red or brown patches, thickened, scaly skin, and in more severe cases, crusty patches of dried yellowish ooze, or small raised bumps filled with fluid.
Over-the-counter medications and other medical treatments are available for this extreme form of dermatitis. It’s crucial to seek professional help as soon as possible, to avoid making the condition worse.
Another big scientific name, for a very familiar condition - dandruff. It’s a skin condition that causes rough, scaly skin on the scalp and face.
And, although we know dandruff appears on the scalp, it’s not uncommon for this condition to develop on other parts of the body. It’s recognized by the itchy patches of scaly skin that may look a little greasy but can flake, especially if you scratch or rub the skin.
Treatments can vary depending on the severity of the condition. There are many over-the-counter products, as well as skincare products that promise relief, even though dandruff, in some people, clears on its own.
One of the most common reasons people end up with dry skin is because of their bathing habits. And, no - it’s not because you have a bad hygiene habit, quite the contrary!
It’s because you do it too frequently, too long, and most likely with water that is too hot.
Sorry to disappoint you, but yes - frequent, long, steamy showers on cold days are probably the worst thing you can do to your skin. You are stripping your skin away from its protective layer.
Using harsh soaps, sanitizers and other abrasive skincare products, especially with lipid solvents in their formula (like alcohol), may dry out your face. Additionally, acne-products and some make-up suitable for acne-prone or oily skin can have a drying effect. Your best choice is to go as natural as you can, always read labels - and take them seriously. Know what ingredients to look for, according to your skin type.
Avoid using soap every time you wash your face. People say less is more, which in this case means that lukewarm water and a moisturizer afterward, can go a long way.
The cold air, wind, and low humidity can dry your skin out, make it really rough, red and contribute to signs of early aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines. This is why it's essential to protect the skin from harsh environmental conditions and temperature extremes. In this case, never leave the house without moisturizing your skin, using lip balms and protective clothes.
Contact dermatitis is a strong, acute reaction of the skin to substances that irritate it. The trigger can be skincare products, makeup, laundry detergents, or other allergens. The good news is that this reaction will go away once the irritant or allergen is no longer in contact with the skin. It’s a good idea to always check the products you are using on a small area on the skin to see how you will react. If something is not right for you, stay away from it. You might think that dry skin is not a big problem, but it can lead to more serious problems.
Some medications can have a drying effect on the skin. For example, acne treatments like retinol, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide can act as such.
Other medical treatments, like radiation therapy, dialysis or chemotherapy also have dry skin as their side-effect.
And, some medications that control blood pressure, known as diuretics, also make the skin dry.
Some diseases and conditions are associated with dry skin. For example, people suffering from eczema, psoriasis, diabetes, or hypothyroidism, are more prone to have a dry skin type.
Additionally, malnutrition can also cause dryness which is why you should check out the best vegetables for healthy skin and start thinking about some diet changes. Stay away from alcohol and cigarettes - they dry out the skin.
Every skin becomes drier as it ages, it’s a known fact. No one escapes this reality. Naturally, some elderly people will have drier skin than others, but the skin itself becomes more prone to drying with age.
In case you have a more severe condition of dry skin, you should always see a doctor or a dermatologist. But, if you have the typical dry skin type, you might first try out the treatments, remedies, tips and lifestyle changes we advise. With discipline, and a regular skincare regimen you should notice an improvement in no time. But, in case there’s no change, or you start feeling itchy or you experience some other more serious symptoms - seek medical attention immediately.
Any discomfort you are feeling is a good reason to check with your dermatologist. After all, they can examine your skin and give you more specific guidance.
The treatment itself might vary a lot, depending on the cause and severity of your dryness. For the common dry skin type, the best treatment is a lifestyle change for prevention, a good skincare regimen appropriate for your skin type and natural home remedies in order to improve the skin condition.
For more extreme cases of dry skin, such as dermatitis there are over-the-counter creams and other prescription treatment options are also available.
Because we are talking about a healthy skin type and not a disease you can use these amazing natural resources to improve your skin complexion and say goodbye to the rough and dry skin.
Coconut oil is a highly saturated fat which is made by extracting the oil from raw coconuts. Its consistency varies depending on room temperature - you can find it in solid or liquid form. It’s a very frequent ingredient in many cosmetic products because of its antimicrobial properties and the power to reduce inflammation, which is also a great addition in home remedies for acne-prone skin. But still, the skin benefit coconut oil is most famous for is the moisturizing effect coconut oil has on the skin. Science has backed up these claims as well. In one study from 2004, researchers found that coconut oil is an effective and safe mineral oil when used as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis.
The use of coconut oil is pretty straightforward and simple. Just go buy quality extra virgin coconut oil. Clean your face with lukewarm water and gently pad with a soft towel. Then with your fingertips apply a small amount of the coconut oil on the face and massage for a couple of minutes. After this leave the oil on the skin for an hour or two and then rinse off with room temperature water.
Another oil that can keep your skin soft and moisturized is olive oil. Rumor has it, olive oil does miracles since it has a high amount of antioxidants and vitamins in its content. It is also believed that olive oil has the power to improve the skin’s elasticity and moisturize it without making it greasy.
The benefits of olive oil are depended on its quality, so beware of the brand and certifications on your olive oil bottle. Make sure you are buying pure and unrefined olive oil.
After you take this step, you can repeat the procedure as with the coconut oil. Clean your face and apply a few drops of the oil directly on the face. Massage gently with your fingertips to promote better absorption into deeper skin layers. Leave the oil on the face for half an hour and then wash off with warm water.
You can soothe your dry skin by mixing together avocado and honey, to create the perfect moisturizing mask. All-natural, high in vitamins, healthy fats, and powerful antioxidants you can use this mask every day.
Cut one avocado in half and put it in a bowl. Mash it well until you get a smooth paste and then add one tbsp of honey and a few drops of olive oil. Stir until the ingredients blend well and you are left with a creamy paste. Apply the paste all over the face and leave it on for half an hour to dry off. After this wash your face with lukewarm water and a pat with a soft towel. For even greater effect, you can finish off with applying your favorite moisturizer.
Oatmeal is famously being recommended for treating acne problems, but don’t let that fool you. This food is FDA approved to and recognized to treat various skin conditions. Among other benefits, oatmeal contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it’s rich in zinc, and absorbs excess oil from the skin, while still acting as a natural moisturizer. It can improve a variety of skin disorders like sunburns, eczema, and poison ivy.
How to make the mask?
Very simple. Just mix 2 tbsp of oats with a tablespoon of honey and a dash of water. Stir until the ingredients blend and then heat the paste, just enough to make it warm. Don’t cook it at high temperature. Clean your face and hands before applying the mask. Use your fingertips to rub the paste on your face for a couple of minutes. After this, you can wash off immediately, or you can leave the mask for another 10 to 15 minutes for even greater hydration.
Want to know how you can exfoliate your skin safely without making it even drier? Well, the answer might lie between natural moisturizing oils and sugar. Coconut oil and olive oil are one of the top picks, but you can also use tea tree oil, castor oil, emu oil or even vitamin E oil. All of these oils are well known for helping the skin stay soft and moisturized without making it greasy.
To make the scrub combine a half cup of sugar with 2 tbsp of the oil of your choice and then gently rub it on your face. Don’t use too much pressure as the sugar is rough and can irritate the skin. Use a light touch and after five to ten minutes wash your face with lukewarm water. Finish off with your favorite moisturizer.
Aloe vera is used in cosmetics for almost every skin problem and condition. It’s a miracle plant that people are swearing by. The best part of all is you can easily grow an aloe vera plant in your own home and use the natural gel directly from the plant to treat your skin concerns. I guess it’s a character’s thing - buying aloe vera cream from your favorite brand or cultivating it yourself, the point is to make sure you use it on a daily basis as a remedy against dry skin.
Be careful though, some people can develop allergic contact dermatitis to aloe, so you may want to perform a patch test first before applying it to a large area of skin.
Lavender oil is the best example in this group of oils that help you get rid of dry skin once and for all. This oil not only moisturizes the skin but it also has powerful antibacterial properties, meaning it can kill the bacteria residing in your pores. It’s said that it has a calming effect on the nervous system and it’s effective in treating eczema and dermatitis.
To use essential oils first, clean your skin with lukewarm water and gently pad with a soft towel. Then apply a few drops of the essential oil on your fingertips and massage it gently into the dry areas for a couple of minutes. Be careful - some essential oils are strong and can cause an allergic reaction. It’s best to first test the oil on how it will react on a small patch of skin before applying it on a large area. If your skin is sensitive, or you want to be extra safe, the best option is to dilute the essential oil with other carrier oil like coconut or mix it with some other natural ingredient to make your own mask.
For people with the dry skin type, one of the best prevention measures is to use a good moisturizer frequently. The best option is to go as natural as you can. Experiment with the products and choose the one that works best for your skin. And even more, you can always make some natural remedies at home for even greater effect.
The best bathing tips for dry skin relief we can give you include to always close the bathroom door, use warm water temperature instead of hot, and don’t spend more than 5-10 minutes under the shower. Don’t use sponges or other materials designed to rub the skin - this would make dry skin even worse. Your hands should be more than sufficient.
Just as some products can make your skin oily or clog the pores, some of them can dry out the skin. You might not be aware of this, but if nothing works, it’s a good idea to change skincare products and see how your skin will feel. At the end of the day, if surly doesn’t hurt to have fun and try out other products.
Water! Water! And more water. Drink plenty of water. It’s not just good for the skin, but also for your overall health. It will boost your energy and make your skin younger and glowing. Fruits are also a gal best friends in this case - full with vitamins good for the skin, and other nutrients, as well as plenty of water - this type of food, can change everything.
Never leave the house without a scarf, a hat or a lip balm. Keep yourself warm and don’t let the cold damage your skin. In winter it's really important that you moisturize your skin regularly. In the summer, always wear protection, sunscreen, glasses, and a hat should be your best friends.
Don’t use anything that can irritate the skin. If you notice that your skin is dryer, try to think if you have recently changed your detergent or bought a new piece of clothing. Experiment and try softer products meant for sensitive skin.
One thing we can’t control is the quality of the air we breathe in the environment we live - but, you can always make little adjustments to change the quality of the air in your own home.