Dry skin is one of several main skin types and many people have it. It is usually not a serious thing and presents more a cosmetic issue or a mild nuisance. However, there are also more serious skin conditions that involve dry skin, such as ichthyosis, which is a group of disorders that can be disfiguring and become a source of major psychological distress. Fortunately, this skin condition is not very common.
Dry skin, characterized by the lack of moisture, feeling of tightness, flaking and susceptibility to fine lines and wrinkles, usually results from a combination of inherited and environmental factors. Nutrition and hydration also play a role in the degree of moisture in the skin.
People who have naturally dry skin need to take special care of it so their skin can be nice, smooth and subtle.
Treatments and drugs
Mild or moderately dry skin does not require any special treatment and can be managed with lifestyle and home remedies. However, very dry skin that is also sensitive, itchy and very flaky or scaly may require a more serious approach, with the help of a specialist. Most doctors recommend over-the-counter topical medications for dry skin, which contain various active ingredients, like urea and lactic acid.
For more serious skin disorders, such as atopic dermatitis, ichthyosis or psoriasis, the doctor may prescribe stronger topical medications or even oral drugs. Very dry skin that becomes inflamed, red and very itchy is usually treated with Hydrocortisone. If the skin cracks due to dryness, it may be required to wear medicated bandages with astringent or antibiotic properties.
Lifestyle and home remedies
There are many ways to prevent the skin from drying and to keep it moisturized and smooth. It is important to take care of the skin both from the outside and from the inside.
Improper hydration is one of major causes of dry skin and it is therefore essential to always keep hydrated. This can be achieved by drinking at least eight glasses of water and other natural beverages a day. Eating a well-balanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and dairy products is also important because the skin needs all the essential nutrients in order to stay healthy and beautiful.
In order to prevent dryness, it is recommended to avoid taking long showers and baths and to use lukewarm water instead of hot, to use mild soaps and to avoid harsh cosmetics and household cleaners. The skin should be protected from the cold, hot and dry weather, from the wind and from too much direct sunlight, since these are all factors known for aggravating the dryness.
Also, the skin must always be well-moisturized, best if using high quality over-the-counter moisturizing lotions and creams. Moisturizing is necessary after bathing and showering. During summer, it is recommended to always apply sunscreen with high sun protection factor.