New Telegraph

February 24, 2024

Dryness of the skin

Miss LTF has had an age long struggle with dry skin. She’s a fashion freak just like her mum and acquisition of ornaments is actually her passion. There is a particular brand of lotion that’s been just fine on her skin over the years, but the fashion adventurer in her craved for something new. This craving got a push from her friend who introduced her to a ‘’much more better fragranced moisturizer which keeps the skin glowing all day’’. She started the application almost immediately and all was well until 2 months after when she started noticing dry flakes all over her body!.She discontinued the usage subsequently but the flakes have refused to disappear despite using several suggested brands, she just does not know where to turn to…

What it is

Dry skin is an uncomfortable condition marked by scaling, itching, and cracking. It can occur for a variety of reasons. One might have naturally dry skin. But even if the skin tends to be oily, you can develop dry skin from time to time. Dry skin can affect any part of the body. It commonly affects hands, arms, and legs.

Types of dry skin

Dermatitis is the medical term for extremely dry skin. There are several different types of dermatitis. Contact dermatitis Contact dermatitis develops when the skin reacts to something it touches, causing localized inflammation. Irritant contact dermatitis can occur when your skin’s 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, as seemingly simple as the common plaster that cover wounds (it contain zinc oxide).

Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis occurs when the 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 Atopic dermatitis is also known as eczema. It’s a long term skin condition that causes dry scaly patches to appear on your skin. It’s common among young children.

Causes

Dry skin often has an environmental cause. Certain diseases also can significantly affect the skin. Potential causes of dry skin include: •Weather. Skin tends to be driest during harmattan/winter, when temperatures and humidity levels plummet.

But the season may not matter as much if one lives in arid regions.

•Heat.

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) psoriasis or diabetes are prone to dry skin.

•Using the wrong moisturizer

•Other conditions, such as psoriasis and type 2 diabetes, can also cause the skin to dry out.

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. •Medical history. You’re more likely to experience eczema or allergic contact dermatitis if you have a history of these conditions or other allergic diseases in your family

•Season; Dry skin is more common during the harmattan/fall/winter months, when humidity levels are relatively low. In the summer, higher levels of humidity help stop your skin from drying out 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. •Infections. Dry skin may crack, allowing bacteria to enter, causing infections.

Treatment

This is usually done by the primary care doctor or dermatologist. It is advisable to seek help if you experience the following; •Dry skin that doesn’t respond to initial prescription treatments •Severe itching that interferes with the ability to work or sleep •Dry skin that cracks and bleeds, or becomes red, swollen and painful

Prevention

Try these tips to keep skin from getting excessively dry:

•Moisturize; Moisturizer (immediate application after bath) seals skin to keep water from escaping.

•Use a moisturizer that is good for you

•Pat, rather than rub, wet skin dry with a soft towel

•Limit water exposure. Keep bath and shower time to 10 minutes or less. Turn the dial to warm, not hot. •Skip the drying soap. Try cleansing creams, gentle skin cleansers and shower gels with added moisturizers.

•Cover as much skin as possible in cold 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.

•Avoid itching or scrubbing dry skin patches

•If you are an athlete, shower off quickly after a workout or game. Use warm water, and bring your own mild soap, since heavyduty “gym” brands may be too strong.

•Avoid overusing antiperspirants and perfumes, since these products can dry the skin.

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