Dry and Sensitive Skin
Dry skin can be caused by several factors that either decrease the moisture level in the skin’s epidermal layer or inhibits the skin’s oil production. When skin lacks moisture it looks dull and feels dry and is unable to work effectively as a barrier, protecting our bodies from external irritants. It becomes sensitive as a result.
Symptoms Of Dry Skin
A common and often painful problem associated with dry skin due to lost of moisture in the epidermal layer of the skin. This symptom is intensified if there is lower sebum oil production to help maintain the skin’s elasticity.
Dry skin increases the speed in which skin cells die off. Some of the cells slough off in odd patches or accumulate into thicker layers. This causes the skin to feel rough to the touch.
Poor oil production can accelerate the speed the skin cells die off. Sometimes these cells die off in clumps and often peel off together in large scales that resemble fine dust or dandruff.
Dry skin is frequently accompanied with an uncomfortable itching sensation on the skin’s surface. This discomfort can feel worse when the skin starts to flake and peel.
Dry skin can lead to inflammation in the dermis level of the skin. This inflammation can increase symptoms like itching and flaking. Scratching at the areas aggravates the skin, which increases the inflammation, and causes the redness to worsen.
Causes Of Dry Skin On The Face
Environmental and lifestyle factors can contribute to the development of dry skin on the face.
- Cold weather
- Dry air
- Exposure to harsh chemicals in soaps or other products
- Washing the skin excessively
- Unbalanced skin pH
- Skin conditions (I.e. atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis)
- Spending too much time in direct sunlight
People can treat dry skin using several different methods depending on the cause of someone’s dry skin and its severity.
Moisturizers, ointments, and creams containing beneficial ingredients (i.e. hyaluronic acid, ceramides, colloidal oatmeal, aloe vera, natural oils) improve the skin’s natural barrier function, which promotes water retention. Moisturizing overnight can provide extra benefits.
Use a gentle cleanser
Soaps that contain fragrances, colours, and other chemicals can irritate and dry out the skin. It is generally better to opt for mild, fragrance-free cleansers or facial soaps and to avoid products that contain SLS, parabens, paraffin, alcohols, artificial colours, and plastics.
Exfoliate to remove excess dry skin
Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells, which can reduce dry patches and improve the skin’s overall texture. Exfoliators can be either mechanical or chemical.
- Mechanical exfoliators work by physically removing dead cells from the surface of the skin (i.e. cleansing brushes, exfoliating washcloths, facial scrubs)
- Chemical exfoliators such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) may sound harsh but many people consider them to be gentle alternatives to mechanical exfoliators. AHAs dissolve dead cells on the surface of the skin while BHAs penetrate the deeper layers of the skin to remove dead cells from pores. Both AHAs and BHAs increase cellular turnover, which helps keep the skin soft and supple.
Practice better bathing habits
It is best to use warm water when bathing or washing the face. Hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils. After which, immediately apply a moisturizer to help lock in moisture.
Use a humidifier
Constantly running air conditioning (AC) and central heating units indoors removes moisture from the air and the skin. Start using a humidifier to add some moisture to the air indoors.
A skincare specialist/dermatologist may prescribe a topical ointment or cream for people who have skin conditions or those who have dehydrated skin that does not respond to conventional treatments.
Tips to Prevent Dry Skin on the Face
- Wash the face daily with a gentle cleanser
- Wear sunscreen every day
- Apply moisturizer after bathing or washing the face
- Use warm, not hot, water when washing the face and bathing
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- Limit caffeine intake
- Limit time in direct sunlight
- Avoid artificial tanning
- Use a humidifier
- Quit smoking, if necessary