Extremely Dry Skin
Exposure to dry weather conditions, hot water, and certain chemicals can cause your skin to dry out. Dry skin can also result from underlying medical conditions. Dermatitis is the medical term for extremely dry skin. There are several different types of dermatitis, including: irritant contact allergic contact seborrheic atopic Contact dermatitis develops when your skin reacts to something it touches, causing localized inflammation. Irritant contact dermatitis can occur when your skin is exposed to an irritating chemical agent, such as bleach. Allergic contact dermatitis can develop when your skin is exposed to a substance you’re allergic to, such as nickel. Seborrheic dermatitis occurs when your skin produces too much oil. It results in a red and scaly rash, usually on your scalp. This type of dermatitis is common in infants. Atopic dermatitis is also known as eczema. It’s a chronic skin condition that causes dry scaly patches to appear on your skin. It’s common among young children. Other conditions, such as psoriasis and type 2 diabetes, can also cause your skin to dry out.
Extremely Dry Skin
Dry skin may be a mild, temporary condition lasting a few days to weeks. Dry skin may also become a more severe, long-term skin problem for some. Symptoms of dry skin include discomfort from skin tightness and itching. In addition, external factors such as weather can affect the severity of skin dryness. For example, cold or dry air and winter weather can worsen dry skin. Individuals whose occupations require more frequent hand-washing and sanitizing may experience dry skin more often. Dry skin may also be a side effect of some medications.
Extremely Dry Skin
Dry skin is a very common skin condition characterized by a lack of the appropriate amount of water in the most superficial layer of the skin, the epidermis. While dry skin tends to affect males and females equally, older individuals are typically much more prone to dry skin. The skin in elderly individuals tends to have diminished amounts of natural skin oils and lubricants. Areas such as the arms, hands, and particularly lower legs tend to be more affected by dry skin. Dryness of the skin is affected by the amount of water vapor in the surrounding air, the humidity. Dry skin is also known as xeroderma or (xerosic dermatitis).
Simple lifestyle changes can help prevent and relieve dry skin. Try to: avoid using hot water to bathe or shower shower every other day instead of every day keep your shower time to less than 10 minutes use a moisturizing soap when you bathe or shower apply moisturizer immediately after bathing or showering pat, rather than rub, wet skin dry with a soft towel avoid itching or scrubbing dry skin patches use a humidifier in your home drink plenty of water It’s also important to choose the right kind of moisturizer for your skin type. If your skin is extremely dry, look for a petrolatum-based product. You might consider switching to a lighter, water-based lotion during the summer months if your skin becomes less dry then. Lotions that contain grape seed oil and antioxidants can also help trap water in your skin.
The epidermis is normally composed of fat (lipid) and protein. The lipid portion of the epidermis helps prevent skin dehydration. When the skin's fatty oils are removed, the skin loses its protection and loses moisture more easily. As skin becomes dry, it also may become more sensitive and prone to rashes and skin breakdown. This condition is sometimes referred to as xerosis. Dry skin may be an entirely invisible skin condition, or may cause a fine dry powder-like appearance of the skin. Untreated, dry skin may become irritated and result in a red rash (xerodermatitis).
Applying moisturizer to dry skin creates a seal that prevents moisture from escaping. Try an oil-based moisturizer, such as baby oil, for extremely dry skin because it lasts longer than other types of moisturizers. Natural oils, including avocado, jojoba and almond, also help keep dry skin hydrated. For best results, apply oil to your skin immediately after bathing. Pat your skin dry with a towel, but allow some moisture to remain on the surface. Apply oil generously, trapping moisture in and preventing your skin from drying out too quickly.
Dry skin isn’t usually serious, but it can be uncomfortable and unsightly. Serious dry skin conditions — an inherited group of disorders called ichthyosis — can sometimes be disfiguring and upsetting. Fortunately, most dry skin is caused by environmental factors that can be at least partially controlled. These factors include hot or cold weather, low humidity, 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. Chronic or severe dry skin problems may require evaluation by a doctor who specializes in skin (dermatologist).
Simple prevention and treatment measures are very effective in the treatment of dry skin. Basic dry skin prevention steps include avoidance of harsh soaps and chemical cleansers. Treatment generally requires more frequent and regular applications of bland emollients and moisturizers. Untreated, dry skin may result in complications, including, eczema, secondary bacterial infections, cellulitis, and skin discoloration. Fortunately, dry skin is usually mild and can be easily remedied.
Dryness occurs when the skin loses moisture or cannot retain it. Heated air indoors during winter, bathing too often and using harsh soaps can contribute to dry skin. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that dry skin occurs most frequently on the lower legs, sides of the abdomen and thighs, although the condition may appear anywhere on the body. Extremely dry skin can lead to scaling, cracking, flaking and irritation. Natural remedies can typically resolve the problem. However, consult your doctor if dryness and itching interfere with your sleep–or if home treatment does not improve your condition.
Dry AirSometimes the air inside can be as punishing on your skin as the air outside. Forced air, especially heat, can draw humidity levels down into the single digits — making skin feel dry and itchy. A humidifier can help restore moisture to the air in your house. “Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep a mild — 1 percent — hydrocortisone cream on hand. Use it early if you see signs of chapped or dry skin,” says Schlessinger. Hydrocortisone is an anti-inflammatory that helps heal and soothe dry, chapped skin and speed its healing.
GeneticsChalk it up to another thing you can blame on your mom and dad: Researchers now say that dry skin can be inherited. Experts at the University of Dundee, in Scotland, have found that mutations in genes that control the production of the protein filaggrin, which plays a role in forming and hydrating the skin barrier, can cause several skin conditions. People with these mutations suffer drier skin and have a greater chance of developing eczema.If you’ve always had dry skin, or if it runs in your family, it’s essential that you’re diligent with daily moisturization. “Look for ceramides and lipids in moisturizers, which help build and reinforce the skin barrier,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
Honey tightens, softens and moisturizes dry skin. Brigitte Mars, author of “Beauty By Nature,” suggests applying pure honey directly to extremely dry skin, and tapping the area lightly with your fingertips for about 2 minutes. This increases circulation at the site, and encourages deeper moisturizing action. Rinse well with warm water, and apply moisturizer afterward. Repeat the honey treatment at least once a day to help soothe your dry skin.
Sea salt can hydrate even the driest skin when used in a bath or as a salt scrub. In the book “1,801 Home Remedies: Trustworthy Treatments for Everyday Health Problems,” the Reader’s Digest Association suggests adding a cup of sea salt to a tub of warm water and soaking for at least 20 minutes to nourish extremely dry skin. Combine 1 cup coarse sea salt with 1/4 cup vegetable glycerin to create a nourishing salt scrub for dry skin. Rub the mixture over your skin in a circular motion, and rinse with warm water. Follow with an oil-based moisturizer for best results. Do not use sea salt if you have open wounds, however, as you may experience painful burning.
Aloe vera gel has soothing, healing and moisturizing properties when used topically on extremely dry skin, according to Phyllis A. Balch in “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” It works especially well on flaky skin, as it gently sloughs away the top layer of dead skin cells. Apply a thin layer of 100 percent pure aloe vera gel to affected areas. If your skin absorbs the gel, you don’t need to rinse. If any of the gel remains on your skin after about 20 minutes, however, rinse with warm water. Repeat the process once or twice daily, or simply replace your regular moisturizer with aloe gel.
Gallery of: Extremely Dry Skin
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