You do everything right. You sip on water all day long to keep yourself hydrated. You use gentle moisturizers to prevent your skin from drying out. And yet you still suffer from patches of mildly dry skin. Despite your best efforts to keep your skin healthy and hydrated, your environment, your activities and your habits can sabotage even a stellar skincare routine.
Xerosis, the medical term for abnormally dry skin, can be caused by all sorts of day-to-day things. By learning to recognize the everyday situations that can contribute to dry skin, you might be able to stop it in its tracks.
Sure they smell fantastic, but often the delicious, intoxicating fragrances added to cosmetic and skincare products are the culprits behind unexpected dry skin. According to a study published in the American Journal of Contact Dermatitis, fragrance ingredients are a leading cause of contact dermatitis and the itchy, dry, red and often painful skin that comes with it. The study suggests that companies limit the concentration of fragrance in products to reduce the risk of contact dermatitis. Choosing a product with a light, natural fragrance can put control of that risk into your hands.
It’s hard to believe, but winter is already right around the corner and with it can come seasonal dry skin. The cause of winter xerosis is primarily environmental. As the humidity of the summer months wanes away through fall, winter’s dry conditions can impact our skin. One study published in Skin Research & Technology states that even a short exposure to a low-humidity environment can spark changes in the moisture content of skin’s outermost layer and its surface pattern. Research says it’s safe to assume that this dry environment can lead to fine wrinkles related to lack of water in the skin’s surface.
Clean skin is healthy skin, but skin stripped of its natural oils is dry skin. Harsh soaps and detergents can remove a lot more than dirt from your hands and face. A study of surfactants published in
Dermatologic Therapy showed that harsh cleansers can damage proteins and lipids in skin, leading to dryness, tightness, itching and damage to the skin’s natural barrier.
Harsh soaps can also do damage to our skin’s delicate pH balance. A dissolution of fat from the acid mantle due to that pH increase could result in dry, scaly skin. The greatest increase in pH occurs after washing with alkaline soap, according to a study published in Dermatology. And that increase spells bad news for the protective acid mantle and the composition of healthy bacterial flora and enzyme activity on our skin.
Just like harsh soaps, super hot showers, as good as they might feel on a cold winter morning, can be damaging and drying to skin. Taking a steamy shower or scorching soak can inflame skin and disrupt the natural balance of oils that keep skin soft and healthy. Showering too often or with water that’s too hot can cause inflammation, redness, itching and even peeling that mimics that of a sunburn. That dry skin can actually lead of an overproduction of oils as your body tries to compensate for what’s been lost. So turn down the hot tap and take cooler showers a few times a week to prevent hot water from stripping your skin. Afterwards, slather on a gentle humectant moisturizer, like the Fulom Hydrating Lotion to maintain healthy moisture.
Indoor Heating And Cooling
Just like the dry winter air, blasting heat or AC in your car, home or office can reduce humidity in the air and cause skin to dry out as well. Instead of reaching for the thermostat, throw on a sweatshirt to combat the cold or pour yourself a lemonade to beat the heat. Using forced air as a last resort to temperature control might save your skin – and your electric bill.
Airplane travel is stressful as it is, with crowded jets, long security lines and the threat of lost luggage. You can add dry skin to the list of things to worry about on an airplane. A study in Skin Research & Technology revealed that the relative humidity of an airplane cabin drops to levels below 10 percent within just two hours of takeoff and stayed that low throughout the flight. The ability of the skin to conduct electricity decreased rapidly on passengers, with the greatest difference of up to 37 percent on the cheeks. Researchers concluded that during long distance flights, the aircraft environment leads to a steep decrease in the hydration of the outer layer of the skin.