What is dry skin?
Our top layer of skin contains water which keeps our skin feeling soft and supple. To protect the skin’s surface water our skin produces sebum which is an oily substance which protects the skin from water evaporation. If the skin’s sebaceous glands don’t produce enough sebum the skin can lose moisture and feel dry. If other factors further dry out the skin such as extreme weather conditions the skin can become flaky and cracked.
Dry and dehydrated skin can appear cracked, itchy and potential scaly. Dry skin can naturally occur, it can also be caused by extreme weather, hot water, certain chemicals that react with your skin, allergies or underlying skin conditions such as contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is an inflammation or reaction that occurs when the skin is touched. You can also get seborrheic dermatitis where the skin produces too much oil or eczema which appears on the skin as scaly patches.
You can be more prone to dry skin if you have frequent hot baths or showers, as you age as your skin naturally produces less oil, lifestyle habits if you are frequently exposed to extreme weather conditions and don’t drink enough water or are using products that are too harsh or irritating for the skin, particularly harsh scrubs.
Conditions which cause dry skin can usually be treated with products that you can get over the counter. More serious conditions or issues can be treated by seeing a Skin Expert or dermatologist.