A well moisturized and hydrated skin is a thumb rule for a healthy skin. Dry and flaky skin is not only discomforting and unpleasant to look but is also prone to many skin problems. Dry skin or xerosis dermatitis is more common among elderly. Dry skin can cause the skin to crack making it susceptible to infections. Constant scratching of dry skin due to itching is further harmful and can cause thickening and darkening of the skin. Extreme temperature especially winter with cold, dry and chilly winds can be harsh on the skin and disturb its pH level, thus causing skin problems.
Apart from external factors, internal factors such as hypothyroidism, psoriasis and type 2 diabetes can also cause dry skin.
One of the most common skin problems from dry skin is Eczema. Eczema, generally acquired in childhood is an inflammatory reaction of the skin causing the skin to become red and itchy followed by crusting and scaling. Treatment of eczema is usually a combination of creams and drugs. However, eczema does not go away that easily and its relapse rate remains quite high.
Exposure to sun for long hours can also lead to drying of the skin. Apart from this use of harsh soaps and chemical based products or prolonged use of cosmetics on the skin can inhibit the ability of skin to retain moisture.
Dry skin tends to age faster as it is prone to wrinkles. A wrinkled skin loses its charm and elasticity. The whole concept of anti ageing revolves around keeping the sun hydrated and moisturized.
Many skin problems can be prevented only by following a good skin care routine. Others may require a long-term medical treatment. Let’s look at some simple and useful ways to prevent and manage dry skin:
Water: Water is not only a natural cleanser for the skin but helps in maintaining an optimum moisture level of the skin. Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water every day.
Steam baths: A warm water bath or a steam bath can help relieve skin of dryness.
Oiling of the skin: People with dry skin benefit more from oiling than the use of regular moisturizers. Oiling creates a protective layer on the skin preventing it from drying for longer hours. Use of almond, olive or coconut oil is effective is treating dry skin problems.
Prolonged use of room heaters: Heaters snatch moisture from the surrounding environment including your skin leaving it dull and dry. Thus sitting in heated rooms for long can dehydrate skin and must be avoided as far as possible.
Water-rich fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables, especially, water-rich like watermelon, bottle gourd etc. can help replenish moisture. Eat plenty of those to fight dryness.