The most wonderful time of the year is here, but winter weather can also mean some not-so-fun skin issues. One of the biggest? Dry skin (also known as xerosis, if you want to get technical). Be prepared for winter by knowing the signs and causes of dry skin so you can better fight it off (like a ninja).
Signs of Dry Skin
The good news is that dry skin is one of the (if not the) most common skin concerns. It can strike anyone at any age, and there are very clear symptoms.
- Feeling tension in the skin
- Roughness and red patches
- Lackluster appearance with an ashen hue
- Fine lines or wrinkles
Dry Skin Causes
When our skin barriers lose vital oil and water, our skin gets dehydrated or dry. And there are a myriad of factors that can cause this. In the winter, for example, a combination of low temperatures and low humidity can spell skin dryness disaster. Other main causes include:
Researchers agree that genes have a lot to do with whether or not a person suffers from chronically dry skin. Certain skin conditions with clear genetic components – like psoriasis and ichthyosis, for example – unfortunately bring dry skin along for the ride.
As we age, our metabolisms slow down – and so does how our body processes water. This makes it harder for our skin to retain moisture. Plus, aging skin cells begin renewing at a slower pace, eventually leading to thinned out skin that’s dry if not taken care of properly.
Skin Diseases & Conditions
As mentioned above, certain diseases and conditions go hand-in-hand with dry skin. Skin problems can both cause dryness and perpetuate it, making the task of keeping skin moisturized extra tricky. Atopic eczema, psoriasis and diabetes are just a few examples.
Believe it or not, a lot of medicines out there contain lipid-lowering agents, which are terrible for your skin. And I mean a lot. From antidepressants and allergy pills to skincare prescriptions like anti-acne drugs and corticosteroids, tons of unexpected medications can dry out your skin like no one’s business.
Weather & Environment
Air pollution. Hot air. Cold air. Dry air. Low humidity. They are all culprits.
Using soap will dry out your skin. Even using too much of a non-soap cleanser, cleansing too often or applying it too aggressively can harm your skin, drying it out over time.
Whether or not we have dry skin actually depends significantly on choices we make. Certain factors under our control can directly affect our skin. It is, after all, our largest organ. Smoking, not moisturizing at all, and using skincare products that are either too neutral or acidic are a few no-no’s that top this list.
If you currently have dry skin or live in an area with harsh winters and weather, check out Sebamed’s Anti-Dry line. Each Anti-Dry solution is formulated at a pH level of 5.5, which supports the skin’s natural barrier function against dryness and irritation. For some dry skin treatment and care advice, read my blog on Top Dry Skin Care Tips. Another great resource on dry skin causes is in this comprehensive overview from the American Skin Association.