What Causes Dry Skin, and How Can I Manage It?
Whether it’s dry skin or itchy skin that you’re experiencing, this is one of the most common skin conditions. Many people develop dry skin in their lifetime, and there are a number of ways you can treat it. To soothe dry skin, you can start by understanding the common symptoms and triggers. Read on to find out the most common treatment options for dry skin.
What is dry skin?
Dry skin is a common problem that can affect any part of the body but is usually found on the lower legs, arms, hands and scalp. Dry skin occurs as a result of water loss, where the skin doesn’t retain enough moisture. Your skin’s outer layer (the epidermis) generally reflects your weather conditions, which is why dry skin often results in dry hot or cold weather.
Symptoms of dry skin
When you have dry skin:
- Your skin may look and feel dry, chapped and rough
- Small splits or cracks can start to appear as the skin loses its suppleness
- Flaky/scaly patches may occur and the skin may begin to peel
- Red and/or itchy skin
- The skin may bleed.
Causes of dry skin
Dry skin can be caused by a range of different factors including:
- Increasing age
- Skin conditions such as eczema
- Certain medications
- Use of harsh soaps
- Indoor heating or fireplaces
- The weather (low humidity: dry hot or cold wind conditions)
- Staying too long in hot showers or baths, and overzealous hand washing.
How to manage dry skin?
The primary way to care for dry skin is to keep moisturising the affected skin areas throughout the day. This can help improve the barrier function of the skin which in turn helps reduce moisture loss, it can also help reduce any itchiness and sensitive skin. Treatment can also make your skin feel more comfortable and prevent future symptoms from developing.
Dry skin may only be a temporary problem or it can be a condition that stays with you for a long time — but it can be improved by avoiding any triggering factors and being vigilant in applying moisturisers. Whether you can treat dry skin at home or with the help of a GP will depend on the severity of symptoms when you develop dry skin.
Treatment for extremely dry skin
If you have persistent or severe dry skin, a dermatologist can provide medical advice and help you diagnose the cause of your symptoms. A dermatologist can advise on a treatment plan to help you control and relieve your dry skin.
A dermatologist can also help you if you’re having difficulty refraining from scratching; this can worsen dry skin symptoms.
At-home dry skin remedies
With the appropriate self-care, most people with dry skin will see an improvement within 2 weeks. Here are a few of the ways you can maintain your skin’s natural oils and reduce the symptoms of dry skin at home:
- Introduce Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel into your skin care routine. Following the same skin care routine year-round may not be effective in managing dry skin, as seasonal factors can affect symptoms. Generally, creams and ointments are more effective in managing dry skin than lotions, as well as being less irritating and holding more moisture in your skin.
- Only use gentle skin care products and cleansers that are free of fragrances, deodorant soaps, and alcohol.
- Limit your time in the bath or shower to 5-10 minutes daily, and close the bathroom door. Use warm rather than hot water to maintain your skin’s natural oils, and only apply enough cleanser that you remove dirt and oil rather than building a thick lather. It’s best to avoid using bath sponges, brushes and washcloths. After bathing, showering or washing your hands, dry your skin gently with a towel and apply moisturiser immediately, while your skin is still damp.
- Avoid clothing that is rough on the skin, and choose a hypoallergenic laundry detergent.
- Use a humidifier in the winter.
If your dry skin continues or worsens, speak to your GP or a dermatologist as it may be the result of certain triggers or underlying factors.
How can Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel help?
Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel is specifically designed for dry skin with the moisturising benefits of an oil and the light and easy absorption of a gel and includes:
- Occlusive ingredients that help form a layer on top of the skin to prevent moisture being lost.
- Humectants that help attract and hold water in the outer layer of the skin.
When using Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel you only need to apply a small amount to dry skin (avoiding any broken skin) and then re-apply as required.