WHAT CAUSES DRY SKIN?
Why do dry, itchy patches of skin appear?
Dry skin occurs on the face or body when our skin loses its ability to protect itself – when its “skin barrier function”, or protective layer, has been weakened. Fewer and fewer lipids (oily substances) are produced at the skin’s surface. Skin cells lose their capacity to retain water, which then evaporates.
Different factors can cause skin to become dry and itchy:
- Genetics (dry skin may run in your family)
- Very cold temperatures and wind
- A hot and dry climate
- Central heating and variations in indoor and outdoor temperatures
- Sunshine (UV light)
- Harsh products such as astringent (or skin-drying) soap
- Fragrances and other additives in unsuitable cosmetics
How to tell if you have dry skinTo work out if you have dry skin, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the skin rough to the touch?
- Does it feel “tight” like it’s a size too small?
- Can you see surface cracks, chapping or flaking?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you probably have dry skin. If, on top of these signs, your main symptom is intense itching, you are more likely to have atopic eczema. Click HERE to find out more about the difference between dry skin and atopic eczema.