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Caring for Dry Skin

Whether dry skin is your normal skin type or the result of seasonal changes, there are several steps you can take to get it under control.

Whether dry skin is your normal skin type or the result of seasonal changes, there are several steps you can take to get it under control. Start building your beauty arsenal with an effective skin moisturizer.

Understanding Dry Skin

The outer layers of your skin are put together in a type of brick-and-mortar system. Healthy skin cells are stacked with oils and other substances that keep skin moist. When those substances are lost, skin cells can crumble away, which leads to dry skin.

Itching is a primary symptom of dry skin. Your skin may look dull and flaky, which can progress to skin being scaly or cracked. In the worst-case scenario, skin will become thick and leather.

Conditions Causing Dry Skin

Although, due to medical conditions, some people are more prone to dry skin than other it can affect anyone, even for people with normal skin, when exposed to climates with low humidity, or during winter months when low humidity and indoor heat affect the natural balance of healthy skin.

Keratosis pilaris. As many as 40 percent of people have an inherited dry skin condition called keratosis pilaris. More common in children and adolescents, the condition causes tiny red or flesh-colored bumps on the skin, particularly on their upper arms and thighs or on the cheeks in children. The bumps are dead skin cells and make skin feel rough, like sandpaper. Skin may also itch during the winter or in low humidity.

Atopic dermatitis. Affects up to 20 percent of people around the world, a common type of eczema in which itchy patches of skin form. When the skin is scratched, it may become red and swollen and could crack, weep fluid, or scale. This type of eczema often occurs in people who also have asthma or hay fever.

Hormonal changes. When your body is going through hormonal changes, you may notice dry or flaky skin cropping up. It’s something that happens even in babies. Newborns commonly develop cradle cap — flaky, scaly skin on the scalp — as a result of being exposed to mother’s hormones in the uterus.

Thyroid disease. One of the early symptoms of hypothyroidism (when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone) is dry skin.

Diabetes or kidney disease. People with diabetes or kidney disease may notice dry, itchy skin on their legs due to poor blood circulation.

From Dry Skin to Healthy Skin

Hydration is the key to reversing the effects of dry skin. Applying a moisturising cream to affected areas of your body and face at least once a day, when the skin is damp. In the summer, a thinner lotion may do the job, but in the winter when skin becomes drier, use a thicker cream or ointment.

For those with keratosis pilaris, moisturizing with creams that have urea or lactic acid helps the itch, but doesn’t necessarily smooth the skin. However, mild chemical peels or topical retinoids may soften the skin.

People who have eczema may find relief with a skin moisturizer and can also use special hydrating treatements and masks on a regular basis. Other dry skin treatments include:

· Taking short, warm (instead of hot) showers

· Using a moisturizing body wash

· Placing a humidifier in your home to add moisture to the air

The addition healthy oils into your diet through foods like olive oil, nuts, and avocados may also have a positive effect.

With the right tender, loving care (and regular moisturizing and hydrating treatments, you can restore a healthy luster to dry skin.

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