If you have a dry skin type, you might be wondering if your skin is healthy. You might also be searching for the causes and treatments for this pesky skin issue.
All skin types have weak points, which can lead to additional skin problems and make our daily life more uncomfortable if left untreated.
But don't worry!
Each skin type needs to be nourished properly. Understanding your skin type can give you all the tools you need to get the flawless skin you've 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 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. Check out our article with all the skin types explained.
If you fall into the dry skin type club, this is what it means.
The word “dry” describes a skin type that produces less natural oils than normal skin. The more scientific word is “xerosis.” The more scientific explanation is a skin type that lacks the lipids it requires to preserve moisture and form a protective shield against external forces.
Xerosis, or dry skin, is characterized by skin dehydration of the epidermis. This layer is composed of fats or lipids and protein. The lipids in the epidermis, alongside some proteins, are responsible for maintaining water and preventing dehydration. But, when the body is deficient in lipids or protein, water can evaporate from the skin cells more easily.
Without water, the skin becomes dry and loses its protective barrier against external influences, which can damage it more easily and cause rashes and even scales.
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.
Knowing all this, how is dry skin treated? And are you at risk of developing dry skin?
The good news is that people with a 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 become dermatitis, the medical term for extremely dry skin.
There are three types of dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis is a condition that occurs after the skin comes into contact with an allergen. This is why experts divide contact dermatitis into two categories.
Irritant contact dermatitis - This 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 - This occurs after the skin is exposed to a substance you're 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're 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.
This is just another name for eczema. This chronic skin condition is very common and characterized by itchy skin that often appears with a red rash.
Atopic dermatitis is the most common and chronic type of eczema, while eczema 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 type of severe dry skin. It’s crucial to seek professional help as soon as possible to avoid making the condition worse.
This is another big scientific name for a very familiar condition - dandruff. This skin condition causes rough, scaly skin on the scalp and face.
Although dandruff appears on the scalp, it’s not uncommon for this condition to develop on other body parts. It’s recognized by itchy patches of scaly skin that may look a little greasy. It can flake, especially if you scratch or rub the skin.
Treatments can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Many over-the-counter products and skincare products promise relief. However, in some people, dandruff clears up on its own.
One of the most common reasons people have dry skin is their bathing habits. And, no - not because you have bad hygiene! It’s because you might bathe too frequently, for too long, and most likely with water that's too hot.
Frequent hot showers on cold days are probably the worst thing you can do to your skin. With every shower you take, you're stripping your skin away from its protective layer. This also goes for frequent hand washing.
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.
Go as naturally as possible, always read labels, and take them seriously. Know what ingredients to look for according to your skin type. For example, hyaluronic acid is always a good choice for dry and itchy skin.
Avoid using soap every time you wash your face and instead opt for a gentle cleanser - like the Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser. People say less is more, meaning lukewarm water and a moisturizer afterward can go a long way to improve dry skin.
Cold air, wind, and low humidity can dry your skin out, make it rough and red, and contribute to signs of early aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines. Protecting the skin from harsh environmental conditions and temperature extremes is essential. Never leave the house without moisturizing your skin, using lip balms, and wearing protective clothing.
Contact dermatitis is a strong, acute skin reaction to irritating substances. 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.
Always check the products you use on a small area of your skin to see how you will react. If something isn't right for you, stay away from it. You might think dry skin is not a big problem, but it can lead to more serious skin conditions.
Other medical treatments, like radiation therapy, dialysis, or chemotherapy, can also cause you to develop dry skin.
Some medications that control blood pressure, known as diuretics, also dry out the skin.
Some diseases and conditions are associated with severely dry skin. For example, people suffering from eczema, psoriasis, diabetes, kidney disease, or hypothyroidism are more prone to a dry skin type.
Malnutrition can also cause dryness, so check out the best vegetables for healthy skin and consider some diet changes. Stay away from alcohol and cigarettes, as they also dry out the skin.
Every skin becomes drier as it ages; it’s a known fact. The skin loses water and produces less natural oil, leading to a rough texture. This means that some elderly people will have drier skin than others.
See a doctor or dermatologist if you have symptoms of severe dry skin. They'll be able to diagnose dry skin and devise a treatment plan to keep your skin soft.
But, if you have a normal dry skin type, you might want to try the treatments, remedies, tips, and lifestyle changes we advise first. A good moisturizing cream will go a long way. With discipline and a regular skin care regimen, you should notice an improvement in no time. If there’s no change, or you start experiencing some other more serious symptoms of dry skin, seek medical attention immediately.
Any discomfort you feel 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 to improve your skin condition.
For more extreme cases of dry skin, such as dermatitis, over-the-counter creams, and other prescription treatment options are also available.
Because we're 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 rough and dry skin.
Coconut oil is a highly saturated fat 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 frequent ingredient in many cosmetic products because of its antimicrobial properties and ability to reduce inflammation. This makes it a great addition to home remedies for treating dry skin.
Coconut oil is most famous for its moisturizing effect. In one study, researchers found that coconut oil is an effective and safe mineral when used as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis.
The use of coconut oil is pretty straightforward. Just buy quality extra virgin coconut oil. Clean your face with lukewarm water and gently pad it with a soft towel. Then apply a small amount of coconut oil to your face and massage for a few minutes. Leave the oil on the skin for an hour or two and then rinse with room temperature water.
Treat dry skin with olive oil. Rumor has it that olive oil achieves miracles. This is because it has a high amount of antioxidants and vitamins in its content. It's also believed that olive oil can improve the skin’s elasticity and moisturize it without making it greasy.
The benefits of olive oil depend on its quality. Beware of the brand and certifications on your olive oil bottle. Make sure you're buying pure and unrefined olive oil.
After you take this step, use the same 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, leaving you with a creamy paste. Apply the paste over the face and leave it on for half an hour to dry off. After this, wash your face with lukewarm water and pat it with a soft towel. For even greater effect, you can finish off by applying your favorite moisturizer.
Oatmeal is famously recommended for treating acne problems. This food is FDA-approved 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 acting as a natural moisturizer. It can improve a variety of skin disorders like sunburn, eczema, and poison ivy.
So, how do you make the mask?
It's very simple. 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. Clean your face and hands before applying the mask. Use your fingertips to rub the paste on your face for a few minutes. After this, you can wash off immediately or leave the mask for another 10 to 15 minutes for even greater hydration.
Do you want to know how to safely exfoliate your skin without making it even drier? Well, the answer might lie between natural moisturizing oils and sugar. Coconut oil and olive oil are top picks, but you can also use tea tree oil, castor oil, emu oil, or vitamin E oil. These oils are well known for helping naturally dry 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 swear by. The best part is you can easily grow an aloe vera plant in your home and use the natural gel directly from the plant to treat your skin concerns. Whether you use aloe vera cream from your favorite brand or cultivate it yourself, apply it daily to relieve dry skin.
Be careful, though; some people can develop allergic contact dermatitis to aloe, so you may want to perform a patch test before applying it to a large area of skin.
Lavender oil will help you get rid of dry skin once and for all. This oil moisturizes the skin and 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.
When you're using essential oils, clean your skin with lukewarm water and gently pad it 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 test the oil on a small patch of skin before applying it to 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 a carrier oil like coconut or mix it with another natural ingredient to make your own mask.
One of the best prevention measures for people with a dry skin type is to use a good moisturizer frequently. Go as natural as you can. Experiment with the products and choose the one that works best for your skin. You can always make some natural remedies at home for an even greater effect.
The best bathing tips for dry skin are to close the bathroom door, use warm water 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 will worsen dry skin.
Just as some products can make your skin oily or clog pores, some can dry out the skin. If you suffer from dry skin patches, it’s a good idea to change skincare products and see how your skin will feel. At the end of the day, it 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 your best friends in this case. They're full of vitamins and other nutrients for the skin - 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 important to moisturize your skin regularly. In the summer, always wear protection, sunscreen, glasses, and a hat.
Don’t use anything that will irritate the skin. If you notice your skin is dryer, ask yourself if you've 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.
From environmental factors to your bathing habits, there are many causes of dry skin. Dry skin may be annoying, but it means your skin isn't producing enough naturally occurring oils. To combat it, moisturize your skin, avoid drying products and harsh cleansers, and avoid hot water.
If your skin is severe or causing irritation, see a doctor to get your dry skin diagnosed properly.