At times, the skin can suffer from an excessive loss of moisture content, leading to dry skin. It is referred to as xeroderma in medical terms. Dry skin causes irritable itching. The condition becomes worse in fall and in the relative humidity during winter seasons. It can also be caused due to loss of protective skin oils (Sebum) and lubricants. That is why elderly people often suffer from this condition. Much of dry skin problems can be prevented by following certain simple steps.
Bathing and Soaps
Excessive or prolonged bathing and usage of harsh soaps or bubble baths will remove the much essential natural oils from your skin. This oil is helpful in reducing the loss of water from the skin. Thus, when the oil is removed excessively, it leads to increased evaporation, which results in dry skin. So, use mild cleansing agents and warm water to wash your body and do not bath or swim for longer periods of time, especially during winters. Additionally, you can use mild unscented bathing oil to retain the moisture of your skin. You should also avoid scrubbing with pads and rubbing with a towel to prevent dry skin.
Moisturizing the Skin
Pat dry your skin with a soft towel and then apply a moisturizing cream or lotion on the slightly wet skin in order to lock in the residual moisture. Moisturizers prevent the water evaporation. Moisturizers with urea, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, glycerin and dimethicone are found to be very effective in preventing scaling due to the dryness of skin. When this is followed regularly, it can result in soft, smooth skin throughout the season. If you are in a job where you have to wash your hands frequently, moisturize your hands and palms with a mild moisturizing lotion.
Dealing with Extremes of Weather
Sunlight exposes the lower layers of skin and damages the collagen and elastin fibers, and as a result, you will get dry skin and wrinkles, and the skin will start to droop. Hence, protect your skin with sunscreens and moisturizers whenever you go out in the sun. During winter or cold months, it is advisable to protect your skin with a petroleum jelly. If the relative humidity of your home is too low, then use a humidifier to have an optimum relative humidity.
Things to Avoid
Avoid beverages like alcohol or coffee, which have diuretic properties. Drink sufficient quantity of water and have more of omega-3 fatty acid-containing food items such as walnuts and flax seeds. Use less antiperspirants and perfumes. Wearing non-irritating natural fabrics like silk or cotton will also help to prevent dry skin.
The above simple-to-follow preventive methods can be helpful in treating dry skin. Most of these steps aim at controlling itching and also restoring the hydration of skin by preventing water loss. However, if you feel that your dry skin condition is not improving with these methods, then you have to contact a dermatologist immediately.