Dry Skin, or Xerosis, Effects Millions of People
Dry skin can feel tight, itchy, painful, and your pores are almost unnoticeable. Dry skin can be caused by several factors that either decreases the moisture level in the skin’s epidermal layer or inhibits the skin’s oil production.
Dehydration is the prevalent cause of dry skin. However, the skin’s moisture levels can also be affected by drying agents like harsh detergents, environmental factors (dry and arid conditions like deserts), and even some medications.
Dry skin can also be a result of low or depleted oil production from the skin’s sebaceous glands (oil glands). The sebaceous glands are microscopic structures that are located in the dermal layer of the skin at the base of each hair follicle. They produce a waxy substance called sebum that lubricates and moisturizes the skin’s surface. Sebum helps the skin retain its elasticity. Sebum also helps the skin maintain its moisture barrier. There are no sebaceous glands located in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. For this reason, these areas are common places to be afflicted with dry skin.
Symptoms of Dry Skin
Tightness: Tight-feeling skin is a common and often painful problem associated with dry skin. It is often caused when the epidermal layer of the skin dehydrates. The lower moisture levels cause the skin cells to condense and pull tighter across its surface. These symptoms are intensified if there is lower sebum oil production to help maintain the skin’s elasticity.
Roughness: Dry skin increases the speed in which skin cells die off. Some of the cells slough off in odd patches or accumulate into thicker layers. This causes the skin to feel rough to the touch.
Flaking: Poor oil production can accelerate the speed the skin cells die off. Sometimes these cells die off in clumps. These dead patches often peel off together in large scales that resemble fine dust or dandruff.
Itching: Dry skin is frequently accompanied with an uncomfortable itching sensation on the skin’s surface. This discomfort can feel worse when the skin starts to flake and peel. Scratching your skin can increase the flaking and inflammation to the area, which can stimulate another cycle of itching.
Redness: Dry skin can lead to inflammation in the dermis level of the skin. This inflammation can increase symptoms like itching and flaking. Scratching at the areas aggravates the skin, which increases the inflammation, and causes the redness to worsen.
What Factors Can Cause Dry Skin
Most cases of dry skin are caused by either low moisture levels in the skin or decreased sebum oil productions. However, there are ranges of other factors that can affect the overall health of the skin. Some of these factors, like environment and aging, are unavoidable, while others, like water consumption, can be improved by making informed choices. Here is a list of some of the more common causes:
Dehydration: Dehydration is one of the most common causes of dry skin. Not drinking enough water can swiftly dry out your skin’s moisture levels. Especially in circumstances where heavy consumption of alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and foods that are high in sodium are consumed. These substances draw water out of the body, and not replenish it.
A person should drink up to half their body weight of water in ounces per day to stay hydrated.
Decreased Oil Production: The production of sebum oil in the skin is needed to keep its surface moisturized, lubricated, and maintain its moisture barrier. A deficit in this oil production can lead to break down of the moisture barrier, causing the skin to dry and flake. Sunflower Dermatology offers a wide range of lotions to help replenish your skin and bolster its moisture barrier
Aging: As the body ages the number of cells in the skin does not inherently decrease, but the skin’s layers can thin. This can affect the skin’s elasticity, fluid retention, and production of sebum oil, which can make it more susceptible to become dry, flaky, and fragile.
Medications: Certain medications have side effects that are known for drying out the skin. Diuretics like hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) or furosemide (Lasix) pull out the body’s extra fluid including from the layers of the skin. Several anti-acne medications actively work to reduce sebum oil production, which can cause dry skin. *Ask your Doctor or Pharmacists if your medication has side effects that can dry out your skin.*
Medical Conditions: There are certain medical conditions that can cause dry skin. Some people with medical conditions like diabetes, hypothyroidism, atopic dermatitis (eczema), or malnutrition may experience symptoms like dry skin. Please see your doctor to discuss what you can do for your dry skin in relation to a preexisting medical condition.
Environment: The climates that your skin is exposed to can vastly affect its water retention. Hot arid air can rapidly evaporate the moisture from your skin. This can also happen in the winter months as well. Air heated in a furnace will also dry out your skin. It is important to be mindful of your water consumption during these exposures to combat any passive dehydration.
Excessive Sun Exposure: Another environmental factor that should be considered more closely is sun exposure. Over-exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light can dehydrate your skin rapidly. The UV rays infiltrate the skin’s surface drying out both its moisture and sebum oil levels. To help you be more mindful of your UV exposure Sunflower Dermatology recommends the wearable sun monitoring device by Eclipse Rx® and always wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and above.
Hard and Chemically Treated Water: The kind of water you expose your skin to can vastly affect your skin. Swimming in over-chlorinated pools, oversoaking in hot tubs, and homes with hard water can dry out your skin, wash away the oil on the skin’s surface, and deplete your oil levels.
Harsh Skin Products: Detergents, soaps, sanitizers, perfumes, and deodorants do help clean and freshen the skin. However, certain cleansers contain harsh substances that can dry out the skin and strip the sebum oil barrier. Ask your dermatologist of possible products that they would recommend helping avoid contact with such contaminants.
Treatments Available for Your Dry Skin
Sunflower Dermatology uses VISIA Skin Analysis System imaging system to provide an easy-to-understand, objective evaluation of your skin. The analysis is used to help you select the best treatments, skin care regimens, and skin care products for your individual skin care needs.
Facials are a great skin care regimen to help restore the purity and balance of your skin. This is achieved through cleansing, light exfoliating, and extractions. Facials play a vital role in helping to identify and treat specific skin conditions to help improve your skin’s texture, tone, and overall appearance.
Hydrafacials take Sunflower Dermatology’s facial care to the next level. It is a non-invasive, multistep treatment that combines the benefits of next-level hydradermabrasion, a chemical peel, and automated painless extractions. It also delivers a dose of Antioxidants, Hyaluronic Acid and Peptides to your skin. This is all done in one quick treatment that delivers real results without downtime or irritation.
Dermatology tested and approved, our skin care products can treat a variety of skin problems, including dry skin. SHOP NOW
Schedule Your Dry Skin Treatments at Sunflower Dermatology – Kansas City
Dry Skin Treatments are performed by Licensed Aestheticians overseen by Board-Certified Dermatologists at both our Riverside and St. Joseph, MO Locations.