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Dry Skin: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Remedies

Dry skin is a common condition that affects all age groups, both men and women, and all races. It's important to know the signs of dry skin so you can prevent it from getting worse.



a man' face in his 40s with dry skin
My Dry Skin Journey


Symptoms of Dry Skin


Dry skin is not a specific medical term; it refers to any skin that does not produce enough oil or water to remain healthy. Dry skin can be itchy, flaky and scaly, or have no symptoms at all. Dry patches of skin appear most commonly on the lower legs, arms and hands in the winter months when humidity levels are low. However anyone can experience dryness anywhere on their body, including the face, at any time of year if they don't take care of their skin properly.


What Causes Dry Skin?


The first step in treating dry skin is understanding what causes it. Dry skin can be caused by any of these factors:


Genetics


Your skin type and the way it naturally produces oil can be inherited from your parents. This means that if both of your parents had dry skin, you may be more likely to develop a similar condition. Certain genetic predispositions can make a person more likely to develop dry skin or other skin conditions. For example, people with eczema, which is a condition that causes dry, itchy skin, often have a family history of the condition. Additionally, certain genetic makeups have been associated with an increased risk of dry skin.


Environment


Dry air, harsh soaps, cold weather and low humidity can all contribute to an overly parched complexion. The sun's UV rays can also damage the top layer of your epidermis (the part we see) which makes it look dull and wrinkly over time. Without the protection of sunscreen or clothing such as gloves or hats your skin can get sunburn.


When the top layer of your epidermis is damaged, it can cause dryness and flaking on your skin. Exposure to harsh chemicals or detergents can also cause damage that results in dryness. And we must not forget about the side effects of certain medications. They can also cause dry, scaly skin.


Age-related changes


Ageing can contribute to the development of a dry skin condition in several ways. As we age, our skin naturally becomes thinner and loses its natural moisture and elasticity. This can make the skin more prone to dryness and irritation.


Ageing can also cause a decrease in the production of natural oils in the skin, which can further contribute to dryness. Additionally, older skin is more susceptible to environmental damage from factors such as sun exposure and pollution, which can also lead to dryness and other skin issues.


To help prevent or manage a dry skin condition as we age, it is important to take good care of our skin by using moisturising products, protecting the skin from the sun, and avoiding harsh or drying chemicals such as big brand shaving products, soaps, shower gels, etc.


Dehydration


This is because the body uses water to help digest food and carry nutrients around your body. If you don’t drink enough water, your body can’t get all of the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy.


Diet


Diet plays a significant role in the health and appearance of our skin. Consuming a healthy, balanced diet can help to keep our skin looking radiant and youthful. On the other hand, a diet that is high in processed foods, sugary beverages, and unhealthy fats can contribute to a range of skin issues, such as acne, dullness, and premature ageing.


Additionally, certain nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, are essential for maintaining healthy skin. These vitamins help to boost collagen production, protect the skin from damaging free radicals, and support the skin's natural healing process.


Ensuring that our diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods can help to provide our skin with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and glowing.


Mental Health


Our skin's health goes beyond just our bodies and is also influenced by mental factors. The state of our mental health can have a significant impact on the appearance and overall health of our skin. Stress and anxiety, for example, can lead to a range of skin issues, such as acne, eczema, and rosacea. These conditions can not only affect the appearance of our skin, but they can also cause discomfort and low self-esteem.


On the other hand, when we feel good about ourselves and are able to manage our stress levels, our skin can reflect this positive state of mind with a healthy glow. Therefore, it is important to take care of both our physical and mental health in order to maintain healthy, radiant skin.



Can Dermatologists Help?


You should see a dermatologist if:

  • Your skin is severely dry.

  • You have related symptoms, such as itching and cracking.

  • You're not sure what's causing the problem.

A dermatologist can help you manage your condition in many ways. They may prescribe topical medications for your dry skin, oral medications to treat underlying conditions, vitamin D supplements to improve epidermal barrier function, or moisturisers and other skin care products to keep your skin hydrated.


Some patients with chronic dryness may need to use these treatments indefinitely; others will find that they're able to stop using them within a few years.


But please do not forget that treating or suppressing symptoms only will not eradicate the underlying cause. Skin problems tend to originate from complex underlying issues and while medicine can give you an immediate relief from pain and discomfort it will not provide you with a long lasting treatment of the actual cause.


Can a Naturopath Help?


A naturopath can help someone with a dry skin condition by identifying and addressing the root cause of the issue. Naturopathic medicine is a holistic approach to healthcare that focuses on the whole person and their unique needs and circumstances.


A naturopath will consider a variety of factors that may be contributing to the dry skin, such as diet, lifestyle, stress, and any underlying health conditions. They may recommend dietary and lifestyle changes, herbal remedies, supplements, and other natural treatments to help alleviate the dry skin and support overall skin health.


Naturopaths can also provide education and guidance on how to properly care for dry skin, such as using nourishing skincare products and avoiding harsh or drying agents.


Natural Remedies for Dry Skin


The best way to treat dry skin topically is by keeping it moisturised. If you have dry skin, it's important that you use a moisturiser on a daily basis (especially before bed).


Use a humidifier in the winter months. During the winter months, the air tends to be very dry and this can make your skin feel tight and uncomfortable. To avoid this problem, place a humidifier in your bedroom at night before bedtime (the humidity will help keep your throat from getting too sore). You can also use one during the day if you're staying indoors or if it's especially cold outside.


Bathe with oatmeal or honey once per week: Oatmeal and honey are both good natural treatments for psoriasis so they may also help treat other types of dermatitis such as eczema and rosacea because they contain antioxidants which fight free radicals in our bodies that could otherwise damage healthy cells.


Here is a simple recipe: Just mix one cup of ground oatmeal with half a cup of honey, fill up your bathtub with warm water and add the mixture to it. Stir the water well so that your mixture is distributed evenly in the water. Soak in the bath for 20-30 minutes, allowing the oats and honey to nourish and moisturise your skin. Rinse off with warm water and pat your skin dry with a towel. You can also add other ingredients to the bath, such as essential oils or bath salts, to enhance the relaxation and skin-nourishing benefits.


Another option is to use a natural moisturiser. It can help with a dry skin condition because natural ingredients are often gentle on the skin and can provide nourishment without irritation.


Many natural moisturisers are made with ingredients such as oils, butters, and plant extracts that are rich in fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants, which can help to soothe, hydrate, and protect the skin.


Natural moisturisers may also be free from synthetic chemicals, fragrances, and other potential irritants that can further dry out or damage the skin. By using a natural moisturiser, like Shaveman’s After Shave Balm, you can help to nourish and moisturise your dry skin in a gentle and effective way.


Other factors to consider


Do your best to get the proper amount of sleep, exercise and drink lots of water.


When you sleep, your body repairs and regenerates cells, including skin cells. Adequate sleep helps to keep your skin looking fresh and healthy. Not getting enough sleep can lead to dull, dry, and lifeless skin, as well as dark circles under the eyes.


Exercise helps to increase blood flow and oxygen to the skin, which can help to improve skin health and appearance. Exercise can also help to reduce stress, which can have a negative impact on the skin.


Drinking plenty of water helps to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. When the skin is adequately hydrated, it looks plump and radiant. Dehydration can lead to dry, flaky skin and can make fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable.


And don’t forget, eating healthy foods is also important for getting all the nutrients that are needed for healthy skin.


When it's all said and done


If you have dry skin, it is important to understand that it can sometimes be caused by several underlying mental and physical conditions and to know how to properly treat it. If not treated correctly, severe cases can lead to cracked or bleeding skin, which may require medical attention from a dermatologist or other healthcare professional.



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