Dry skin can be a real annoyance. But once you know what causes dry skin, it’s much easier to heal. Here are 5 common reasons—and remedies—for dry skin.
Letting (too much) sunshine in
Time outdoors can really brighten your day. And sunblock is, of course, a necessity. But how exactly does the sun hurt your skin? Its rays penetrate deeply into the skin’s dermis layer, removing skin of its natural moisture and oils. To help guard against this, use a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, don’t stay out too long when the sun’s rays are strongest (11am-3pm) and re-apply sunscreen regularly.
That crisp winter air
So what causes very dry skin in winter? The low humidity means moisture is constantly being pulled away from your skin’s surface. Without proper care, winter dry skin can quickly escalate leaving your skin exposed to outside irritants. To help prevent winter dryness, moisturise more often, use a humidifier in your home and take shorter showers. Speaking of which…
A long shower, or relaxing bath
It’s a soothing escape, but staying in the hot water for too long is one of the most common causes of very dry skin. Too much hot water removes the natural moisturising ability of skin’s surface cells. Soaps and harsh cleansers remove protective lipids and damage skin proteins, weakening the skin’s surface and exposing deeper and deeper layers to additional moisture loss. Your skin isn’t just losing water. It’s losing the ability to retain water. So aim for a shower that’s warm (not hot), limit the length of the shower to 5-10 minutes and seek out moisturising cleansers/bodywash and shampoos.
Keeping your cool (and your heat)
When it’s cold outside, getting a comfortable indoor temperature is as easy as a few taps of the thermostat. But convenience comes with a cost for your skin. Indoor heating can cause dry skin by removing moisture from the air, and making surface cells dry out. The temperature might be agreeable, but dry skin will often follow. Restore moisture with a humidifier. And in general, aim for a temperature that’s comfortable, but not too low or too high.
Sky-high moisture loss
The air-conditioning on aeroplanes can lead to skin dryness because the pressurised air in the cabin contains less moisture than the natural environment. While you’re soaring 30,000 feet in the air, moisture is being stripped from your skin’s protective outer layer (also called the stratum corneum) which can lead to dry and uncomfortable skin. To avoid dry skin caused by flying, drink lots of water before, during and after your journey and remember to moisturise.