Dry skin occurs when the upper layer of the skin (epidermis) loses its ability to regulate its own moisture. Having dry skin can lead to uncomfortable/irritated skin, itching, and flaking. In some cases, tiny cracks in the skin’s surface can occur.
Multiple layers make up the skin. The top layer, the epidermis, is a protective barrier. The epidermis’ primary role is to prevent water loss from the body as water in the skin helps keep it soft and flexible.
A variety of oils in the skin help to maintain normal hydration and skin also contains a number of substances that help draw in moisture from the air. The epidermis is continually being shed and replaced with fresh, new skin and when the water content of the skin drops too low, this normal shedding slows down leading to dry skin. Some known causes of dry skin are:
- Low humidity during winter months
- Frequent use of harsh soaps or household cleansers
- Excessive unprotected sun exposure
- Old age
- Significant exposure to irritating chemicals in the workplace or home
- Exposure to cold, dry air (indoor or outdoor)
If you are prone to dry skin there are several things you can do to help. Try to avoid long hot baths and showers, instead use warm water. also, try to use gentle soap-free cleansers.
Limit sun exposure and make sure when it is inevitable that you protect your skin. Secondly, keep well hydrated and eat a high-quality diet. Regularly use a moisturiser containing Glycerine. Glycerine is used in products to help relieve dry skin because it has excellent humectant properties. This means after it is applied it draws water from the deeper layers of the skin up to the top layers – the stratum corneum – which results in hydration of the top layers of the skin.