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Last updated July 18, 2016 (originally published June 20, 2013)

By Louise Carr,  Associate Editor and Featured Columnist



Whether it’s scaly feet, a flaky face or scratchy patches on
the legs, most of us will experience days when our skin
feels too dry. Sometimes the skin over your entire body
feels irritated and tight while at other times selected areas
are lacking moisture.

Dry skin is not normally a medical emergency but it is
uncomfortable and can take the shine off the day. Dry skin
may also look unsightly and make you feel unattractive and
self-conscious. When your skin is dry you are more likely to
notice fine lines and wrinkles. What are the simple ways to
prevent and treat dry skin? Is there anything you can do at
home to boost your moisture levels?

Around 30 to 75 percent of us suffer from "xerosis", or dry
skin, according to medical surveys (2011, Hebrew Senior
Life Department of Medicine, Boston and 2011, Paul
Sabatier University and Department of Dermatology, Hôpital
Larrey, France) although most of us don’t visit the doctor
or dermatologist, preferring to self-treat.

You can do a lot to improve your skin with natural remedies
although severe dry skin benefits most from a trip to the
dermatologist.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Skin?

Signs and symptoms of dry skin differ from person to
person and depend on your location, your health, your age
and the amount of time you spend in the sun, as well as the
cause of the dry skin. With dry skin you may feel a
tightness in your skin and/or itching.

Your skin appears dehydrated or rough and you may see
flakes or scales, fine lines, cracks or redness. Dry skin can
be a temporary or seasonal occurrence or may exist year-
round.

What Causes Dry Skin?




























In most cases dry skin is caused by some environmental
factor although certain diseases and conditions can also
cause your skin to lose moisture.

The weather is a common culprit. You probably find your
skin is drier in winter when the temperature and the
humidity levels are low. Central heating, which further
reduces humidity, can dry your skin. In the summer, air
conditioning is drying and exposure to the sun can also
cause dryness.

If you like to take long, hot baths or showers you could
have a dryness problem as the temperature and the water
break down protective barriers on your skin. Harsh soaps
or detergents can also cause skin damage and dryness.

Medical Conditions That Cause Dry Skin

Common conditions that cause your skin to be dry include
atopic
dermatitis, a form of eczema that mainly affects the
face and the folds of skin at the knees, ankles, wrists and
elbows. Psoriasis and , more rarely,
Sjogren's disease, can
also cause dry skin.

Psoriasis also causes a buildup of dry skin cells and
hypothyroidism, a condition where you produce too few
thyroid hormones, leads to dry and rough skin.

Type 2 diabetes often causes dry skin, especially on the
shins and feet, according to a 2013 study from the
University of Liege, in Belgium.

Whether the cause of your skin dryness is environmental or
medical, what can you do to ease the discomfort and
increase the moisture? We looked at recent scientific
studies to see which natural remedies and home treatments
help combat the dry skin problem.

1.
Use the Right Moisturizer to Combat Dry Skin

Moisturizer has got to be good for dry skin, right? It’s true
that moisturizers create a barrier or seal over your skin and
this stops valuable water from escaping but you need to be
careful which moisturizer you choose.

A 2003 study from ACO Hud AB, Stockholm, Sweden
demonstrated the numerous differences between
emollients and moisturizing creams to treat dry skin. Try a
thicker moisturizer if you have dry skin, or an oil like baby
oil which prevents water from evaporating from your skin
after a bath or shower. Leave some moisture on your skin
after bathing by patting yourself dry and immediately apply
moisturizer so you help trap more water in the surface skin
cells.

[Update:

A cream containing 10% urea and lactic acid (4%
concentration) is effective in treating xerosis caused by
diabetes, according to a 2002 study conducted jointly by
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical
School.]

2.
Bathing Tips for Dry Skin

Showering and bathing can be problematic if your skin is
dry, stripping oils from the surface cells. A 2012 article
from Southwestern Oklahoma State University states dry
skin sufferers should bathe every second or third day, or if
this is not desirable then to limit bath time to 10 minutes a
time and avoid hot water – your shower or bath should be
warm, not hot.

3.
What Soap Should I Use for Dry Skin?

Using soap on dry skin worsens the condition by stripping
away natural lubricants, according to a 2011 study from
the Hebrew Senior Life Department of Medicine, Boston.
Use mild cleansers, non-scented soaps, or bars and soaps
specially developed for dry skin with added oils or
moisturizing fats.

A 1978 study by Boccanfuso, Cosmet, Volpe, and Bensel
showed washing twice daily with a moisturizing soap bar
resulted in less skin flaking than washing with a regular
soap bar.

4.
Humidifiers Can Help Ease Dry Skin Irritation

A lack of humidity in the air and a hot, dry atmosphere can
worsen dry skin. Put a little moisture back by using a
humidifier indoors – keep the humidifier clean and choose a
portable model so you can move it into the rooms you use
most. A 2011 study into dry skin in the elderly by
researchers at Hebrew Senior Life Department of Medicine,
Boston listed the use of humidifiers as one way of
minimizing the effect of dry skin.

5.
Cook with This  Oil to Ease Dry Skin

Continue reading  page 1  page 2
































































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