Dry skin has a low level of sebum and can be prone to sensitivity. The skin has a parched look caused by its inability to retain moisture. It usually feels "tight" and uncomfortable after washing unless some type of moisturizer or skin cream is applied. Chapping and cracking are signs of extremely dry, dehydrated skin.
Dryness is exacerbated by wind, extremes of temperature and air-conditioning, all of which cause the skin to flake, chap and feel tight. This type of skin is tightly drawn over bones. It looks dull, especially on the cheeks and around the eyes. There may be tiny expression lines on these spots and at the comers of the mouth.
The oil glands do not supply enough lubrication to the skin. As a result, the skin becomes dehydrated.
Skin gets exposed to the elements especially in winter.
Dry skin could be due to a genetic condition.
Poor diet. Nutritional deficiencies, especially deficiencies of vitamin A and the B vitamins, can also contribute to dry skin.
Environmental factors such as exposure to sun, wind, cold, chemicals, or cosmetics, or excessive bathing with harsh soaps.
Conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, or seborrhea.
How to Care for Dry Skin
Remember the basics: Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to keep your skin well hydrated; eat a high-quality diet rich in fruits and vegetables; and limit sun exposure.
Wash your face no more than twice a day with a gentle cleanser formulated for dry skin. Washing more often can dry your skin.
Take short baths or showers and use warm rather than hot water. Try to limit showers and baths to one per day. Use soap only where you need it, such as on your underarms and groin.
Add a few teaspoons of olive oil or lavender-scented oil to your bath.
Pat your skin dry after washing. Avoid rubbing yourself dry with a towel, which can whisk away essential oils needed for moisture.
Apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp. Heed the advice of many experts in choosing a moisturizer'less is more when it comes to the ingredient list.
Understand that moisturizers contain barriers, which keep water on the skin, and water binders, which whisk moisture from the inner layer of skin to the top layer. Look for ingredients such as glycerin, alpha hydroxy acids, urea and lactic acids (binders), combined with petrolatum, lanolin or silicone derivatives (barriers). You have a choice of hundreds of products. A dermatologist or other skin care expert may be able to advise you on your specific needs, but trial and error will probably be your best bet in finding the product that's right for you.
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