A Beginner's Guide To Identifying And Treating Dryness On The Skin

Written by Lynda Ndubuaku

10/15/2021 4:45 PM

The first skin tip to fixing any skin condition is by understanding your skin type. The good news is that you do not need a dermatologist to know your skin type. One of the easiest skin types to dictate is dry skin; on the outside, it looks everything like what the name is, “dry”. If you constantly have flaky, itchy or red skin, then this guide is for you. Get comfortable while I take you through the journey of identifying dryness on the skin and, of course, treating it. 


 

What is dry skin? 

Having dry skin does not mean you have an underlying disease. There are four popular types of skin, oily, dry, normal or combination skin. There are external and internal factors that are responsible for your skin type. Dry skin is a skin type that produces less natural oil than a normal skin type. Unlike other skin types, dry skin lacks lipids. Lipids are responsible for retaining moisture in the skin. The skin changes with the season, and there can also be a switch depending on your lifestyle. Half the time, dry skin is genetic, and other times, it results from a lack of necessary healthy fats at the top layer of the skin. People experience dry skin on their legs, hands, face and stomach. Sometimes the skin gets so dry, it cracks, and when this happens, it can lead to a bacterial infection on the skin. 


 

DIY dry skin test 


 

As I said earlier, you don’t necessarily have to visit a dermatologist to determine your skin type. You can do an easy test for your skin by following these steps.


 

Use a gentle cleanser or mild soap to wash your face, rinse with warm water and pat your face dry with your hands. 

Let your face be without any product for at least an hour 

If at the end of an hour, your face feels tight, flaky or scaly, then you have dry skin

 

Causes of dry skin 

No need to fret; you can fix your dry skin or manage it using the right products. These are some factors responsible for your dry skin. 

Hot baths

The best solution to a long day might be to soak yourself in a hot bath or have a hot shower. Well, long hot showers are also the reason for your dry skin, and it dries off the moisture in the skin. 


Alcohol consumption

No liquid has the same healthy effect on the body as water. Whatever we drink replenishes the body from inside and shows on the outside. Alcohol consumption causes dryness on the skin because it absorbs the healthy minerals and nutrients responsible for moisturizing the body with natural oils. Also, note that dehydrated skin is different from dry skin. Dehydrated skin is not a symptom of natural dry skin but causes dryness of the skin. 


Harsh soap or shampoo

Soap strips the body of its natural oils because they are formulated for that purpose. When the body is stripped of its natural oil, it is flaky and becomes itchy. The excessive use of soap can cause dry skin. 


Weather 

The skin extracts moisture from the atmosphere. When the air is cold or hot, humidity drops, affecting dry skin, making it even drier. Also, using an air conditioner reduces the humidity in an environment leading to dry skin. 


Lack of sleep

Yes, your sleeping pattern plays a significant role in your skin; the skin ages due to lack of sleep. An average human should sleep at least 8-9 hours a day. When you sleep, the body’s pH level is balanced, and lack of sleep causes it to lower. The body produces extra perspiration while we sleep and also rebalances hydration levels. Lack of sleep affects the moisture level of the body and causes dry skin. 


Vitamin D deficiency 

Dry skin is also a result of a lack of vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, helps protect the skin and keep it from losing its natural oils. 


Genetics 

I saved the best for the last. It is genetic if you have been practising good skincare routines and living a healthy lifestyle but still have dry skin. It’s a good day to look around your family and figure if your dry skin is from your mum or dad. Dry skin is genetic and can be inherited. 


 

Treatment for dry skin 


 

There’s a solution to every problem, and your dry skin is not left out of it. Here are quick tips for switching up your skin type. 


 

Moisturise 

You should moisturise during your morning and nighttime routine. Ensure your moisturiser is rich in emollients and ceramides. Ceramides contain lipids that retain the moisture or natural oils in your skin. 


 

Exfoliate 

It is best to exfoliate your skin once a week. Exfoliation gets rid of dead skin cells at the surface of your skin, allowing other skincare products to penetrate into it. Use a mild exfoliant and be gentle while exfoliating. You can use a physical or chemical exfoliator because it hydrates and moisturises the skin. 


 

Stay hydrated 

You need to stay constantly hydrated on WATER, not energy drinks, not a smoothie or orange juice. Water helps you have glowing skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Reduce your intake of unhealthy drinks and make water your best friend. 


 

Avoid using the wrong products. 

To be safe, it is best to understand your skin type before using a product. Most products have drying effects, and it damages your dry skin. You don’t have to buy into the hype! If you are confused about products to use, consult a dermatologist. 


Get a humidifier 

The fix is not a skincare product; it is as simple as using a humidifier. If you must use an air conditioner, you need a humidifier to retain the moisture in the air. It helps to increase the air humidity and keeps your skin’s natural oils in check. 


My advice to people trying to switch up their skin game is to be patient with their journey. Also, one word you would always hear from me is “consistency”; it’s the key to effective results. 

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