Firstly, dry skin isn't usually serious. In most cases it's caused by factors like hot or cold weather, low moisture in the air, and soaking in hot water.
You can do a lot on your own to improve your skin, including using moisturizers and avoiding harsh, drying soaps. But sometimes dry skin happens often or is severe.
Dry skin is often temporary — you get it only in winter, for example — but it may be a lifelong condition. Signs and symptoms of dry skin depend on your age, your health, where you live, time spent outdoors and the cause of the problem. Dry skin is likely to cause one or more of the following:
- A feeling of skin tightness, especially after showering, bathing or swimming
- Skin that feels and looks rough
- Itching (pruritus)
- Slight to severe flaking, scaling or peeling
- Fine lines or cracks
- Gray, ashy skin
- Deep cracks that may bleed
Dry skin (xerosis) often has an environmental cause. Certain diseases also can significantly affect your skin. Potential causes of dry skin include:
- Skin tends to be driest in winter, when temperatures and humidity levels plummet. But the season may not matter as much if you live in desert regions.
- Central heating, wood-burning stoves, space heaters and fireplaces all reduce humidity and dry your skin.
- Hot baths and showers.Taking long, hot showers or baths can dry your skin. So can frequent swimming, particularly in heavily chlorinated pools.
- Harsh soaps and detergents.Many popular soaps, detergents and shampoos strip moisture from your skin as they are formulated to remove oil.
- Other skin conditions.People with skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) or psoriasis are prone to dry skin.
Risk factors:Anyone can develop dry skin. But you may be more likely to develop the condition if you:
- Are in your 40s or older. The risk increases with age — more than 50 percent of older adults have dry skin.
- Live in dry, cold or low-humidity climates.
- Have a job that requires you to immerse your skin in water, such as nursing and hairstyling.
- Swim frequently in chlorinated pools.
Complications:Dry skin is usually harmless. But when it's not cared for, dry skin may lead to:
- Atopic dermatitis (eczema).If you're prone to develop this condition,excessive dryness can lead to activation of the disease, causing redness, cracking and inflammation.
- Dry skin may crack, allowing bacteria to enter, causing infections.
Prevention:Try these tips to keep skin from getting excessively dry:
- Moisturizer seals skin to keep water from escaping.
- Limit water exposure.Keep bath and shower time to 10 minutes or less. Turn the dial to warm, not hot. Try to bathe no more than once a day.
- Skip the drying soap.Try cleansing creams, gentle skin cleansers and shower gels with added moisturizers.
- Cover as much skin as possible in cold or windy weather.Winter can be especially drying to skin, so be sure to wear a scarf, hat and gloves when you go out.
- Wear rubber gloves.If you have to immerse your hands in water or are using harsh cleansers, wearing gloves can help protect your skin.
What to eat:
Water : We need to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day ,If your skin is not getting the sufficient amount of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning your skin dry, tight and flaky. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling
- Sweet potatoes: The humble tuber is a winter favourite and comes loaded with vitamin A, essential for skin repair, and beta-carotene which helps shield the skin against winter woes.
- Nuts and seeds: Need we say more? These are loaded with antioxidants, vitamin E and essential fatty acids that play a pivotal role in nourishing the body from within. Regular nut consumption helps in staving off and repairing skin cell damage from free radicals and accelerates the process of skin cell repair and regeneration. You will feel your skin getting smoother and more supple after introducing these to your daily diet, just a handful a day is enough. Almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds top the list of vitamin-e enriched items.
- Spinach:This seasonal delight needs no introduction. It comes packed with a bevy of nutrients, vitamins and minerals like iron and the skin-friendly vitamin E. Vitamin A and C present in this leafy vegetable initiates and maintains skin repair process. Spinach is also loaded with antioxidants and H20, for that extra dose of hydration.
- Avocados:Avocados come with a buttery texture and a nutty aroma that makes it quite a hit with people. It also comes packed with staggering skin-benefiting properties. A rich source of antioxidants, beta-carotene, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C and E, avocados can go a long way in giving your skin that extra dose of nourishment this winter and keep dryness at bay. Avocados are nutrient dense are popularly known as 'nature's butter'.
- Fish:Let us reiterate that essential fatty acids work wonders for your skin and hair health. Fish is one of the richest sources of omega 3. If you plan to include fish in your diet ensure cooking it the healthy way - steaming, grilling, poaching, baking - over deep frying it. Fish consumption has also been tied to fighting inflammation. Some of your best bets for the season would include Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines among others.
What you eat certainly reflects on your face and the way you look. Regular consumption of a healthy diet will definitely lend a healthy glow to your skin. Get in touch with a certified diet expert to know more about including skin friendly foods in your diet and how to battle dryness this season.