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Why is my skin so dry even when I moisturize? – Heal it now!

Once you figure out the cause of your stubborn Dry skin, the condition is easily solvable.

Dry Skin

Flaky dry skin- condition is also known as Xeroderma, caused by multiple reasons mentioned below

Let’s pin down all the reasons that could be the contributing factors to your Dry Skin even after moisturizing.

Reasons for Dry Skin even when I moisturize

  • Skin type- People with Dry skin type or combination (oily T zone) skin types or skin conditions like Psoriasis, Eczema, and type-2 diabetes, are more prone to having dry skin conditions.
  • Skincare products- Over-exfoliation, harsh cleansers, too much moisturizer, using essential oils, wrong products for your skin type, harsh soaps, fragrances, sulfates, polysorbate 20 in cosmetics and alcohol-based wrong moisturizers may lead to dry problematic skin.
  • Weather- Dry air and Cold weather, a bad combination of weather in winter mostly leads to developing dehydrated skin. 
  • Hot water- Long hot water showers and chlorinated swimming pools can contribute to skin dryness and itchiness. 
  • Dehydration – not to mention, we all know drinking less water has countless drawbacks for our bodies, including chapped lips, and parched skin.
  • Allergies and cold- Allergy which can make you sneeze a lot and cold, where you wipe and rub your nose constantly, both conditions can lead to a peeled red dry nose.
  • Nutritional Deficiency- According to “The Beauty of Dirty Skin” by Dr. Whitney Bowe, a diet lacking in certain nutrients like Biotin, Zinc, protein, Omega 3-6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, B3, and B6 can lead to dry and flaky skin.
  • Age- Developing dry skin with older age can be one of the causes. Older age leads to thinner skin and no moisture. 8/10 aged people complain about having itchy flaky skin esp. in winter.
  • Medicinal side effects- Dry skin could sometimes be a side effect of a few medicines you are taking e.g., oral acne retinoid called Isotretinoin, other birth control pills, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins or blood pressure drugs known as Diuretics, etc.
  • Washing your face too much can contribute a lot towards dehydrated skin.
  • According to “Clinical Dermatology” by Thomas P. Habif, certain fabrics like wool, polyester, and synthetic fabrics don’t let the skin breathe properly and can cause skin irritation and allergies.

Tips for preventing Dry skin

  • Gentle facial cleansers- Avoid using a harsh cleanser with alcohol, fragrance, or sulfate in your skin care routine which disturbs the natural oils of the skin. For people with dry skin should wash their face once a day, preferably at night with a non-comedogenic cleanser.
  • Cold Showers- You are not going to like this tip, but it is my favorite. Take a cold shower every single day. Cold showers keep the skin hydrated for hours. Your dehydrated skin will instantly rejuvenate.
  • Moisturize- Look for ingredients like Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, shea butter, oats, and ceramides in your moisturizer for hydrated skin. Apply moisturizer or cream when the skin is a bit damp for better absorption.
  • Humidifier- If you live in a dry cold place, invest in a humidifier for moist hydrated air around you. Low humidity can increase skin dryness & make the sinus dry too.
  • Noncomedogenic makeup- Buy cosmetics that don’t block your pores or look for hypoallergenic products that are best suited for sensitive skin.
  • Increase hydration level – Have 2-3 liters of water every day. Try and sip fluids like coconut water, watermelon juice, or anything of your choice. Your body might be very dehydrated from the inside.
  • Warm showers- Not hot! Warm showers, around 5 minutes add moisture to the skin and exfoliates dead skin cells.
  • Diet – add antioxidants, omega 3, and hydrating food to your everyday diet for healthy skin. Like blueberries, all kinds of berries, oranges, watermelons, cucumbers, kidney beans, carrots, dark chocolate, pecans, kale, spinach, artichoke, etc.
  • Don’t pick the flaky skin- You’d have this utmost urge of picking your flaky dry skin, please don’t pick the skin, it will spread the fungus.
  • Natural Remedies- Choose the natural emollients of nature to cure that stubborn dryness. Coconut oil, vitamin E, mineral oil, glycerin, cica, jojoba oil, shea butter, petroleum jelly, aloe Vera, oatmeal, rosewater, honey, and avocado, all the ingredients are very nourishing and will give you instant relief from the dryness.
  • Fabric- Wear clothes made more of natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and bamboo for the skin to breathe properly.
  • Sun Block- Sun damage can make dry skin worse, always use sunscreen in your skin care routine when stepping in daylight.
  • For Oily skin type- wash your face twice a day, For Dry skin type- wash your face once a day.
  • Don’t rub your face after washing, rather gently pat it dry with facial tissues.
  • Use a small amount of petroleum jelly mixed with your moisturizer and apply it everywhere you feel dryness. This mixture is so hydrating.
  • If nothing works, you should get a blood test done- Serious nutritional deficiencies mentioned above can only be known by getting the blood work done. It is an important diagnostic tool & can lead to appropriate treatment.
  • Add a hydrating serum in your skincare routine like Hyaluronic acid to give an extra dose of hydration to the skin from the outside. 
  • Exfoliation- Don’t over-exfoliate the skin by vigorously scrubbing away dry flaky skin! Rather see the following methods to exfoliate safely.

2 kinds of exfoliation- Manual & Chemical Exfoliation, to add to your skincare routine.

Manual Exfoliation Uses a tool, brush, or scrub to remove dead cells physically.

  • Washcloth- Very safe method esp. for delicate skin types. Use a muslin or a cotton cloth, dip it in warm water, and gently wipe your face in small circles to remove the dead skin cells. Keep the strokes light and gentle. 
  • Charcoal or a natural sponge- Dip it in warm water and light strokes on your face in a circular motion. It will loosen up all the dirt, dead skin cells, and clogged pores. Don’t put too much pressure on the skin.
  • Physical Face Scrubs- There are scrubs containing microbeads that are too damaging and can cause micro tears on the skin surface which weakens the skin barrier and invites more skin troubles. Common culprits are fruit pit scrubs, like the apricot ones we all have used! Ugh, grain and gritty materials like grounded nuts. Personal suggestion- stay away from physical scrubs.

Chemical Exfoliation- Exfoliates by dissolving the bonds between skin cells, revealing fresh, smooth skin cells underneath. Oily skin type can take the maximum benefits from this exfoliant. These are the few chemical exfoliators.

  • AHA’s- Best for Dry skin. These alpha hydroxy acids like Glycolic acid, Lactic acid & Mandelic acid are amazing exfoliators. The most popular is Glycolic acid. They come in peels, face washes & masks. They dissolve the top layer of the skin containing all the debris & reveal young skin cells underneath. AHAs have shown beautiful results.
  • BHA’s- Best for Oily skin. Salicylic acid is the most common form of Beta hydroxy acids. It penetrates the pores, breaks all the blockages & unclogs the pores.
  • Retinol– Best for Mature skin. Derivative of Vitamin A, Retinol is a strong exfoliator that can penetrate deep within the layers of the skin, exfoliates the dead skin cells, and generates new ones. It is not for people with Rosacea, eczema conditions, or hyper-reactive skin type.
  • PHA’s- Best for sensitive skin types. Polyhydroxy acids are the mildest form of chemical exfoliation. Exfoliates the same way as AHA, just less irritating and does not increase the photosensitivity of the skin, unlike AHA & BHA, and Retinol.

How much time does it take to treat Dry Skin conditions?

Everybody has different types of skin and conditions. Results vary from person to person but should be started seeing in less than 2 weeks. If your Dry skin condition is too persistent even after following everything, you should see your Board-certified Dermatologist to check if there are any underlying causes.

Some lesser-known facts about Dry Skin

1. According to “The Physiology and Pathophysiology of the Skin” by A Jarrett, some people have low sebum production by genetics which can lead to constant stages of dryness on the skin.

2. In Rare cases, Dry skin can be one of the symptoms of an underlying medical condition. According to the book ” Dermatology Essentials” by Jean L. Bolognia, persistently dry skin can be a cause of the condition called Hypothyroidism. It’s a medical condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. Psoriasis, Eczema, and Ichthyosis can also be the reasons for Dehydrated skin.

3. Our skin is home to a complex ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that help maintain its health. According to the “Microbiome Solution” by Dr. Robynne Chutkan, any imbalance like the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the skin’s ecosystem can damage the skin’s natural barrier, cause inflammation, and often can contribute to a lot of skin issues including dryness.

What are the symptoms of Dry Skin?

  • Peeled skin
  • Flaky skin
  • Skin feels tight
  • Cracked skin
  • Skin burns
  • Itchy skin
  • Rough texture

Is Dry Skin a serious symptom?

Apart from looking physically unaesthetic or dry feeling with mild irritation or pain, Dry skin condition is rarely serious. Excess dryness can sometimes cause the skin’s surface to crack and bleed, but that’s not something to worry about. Your skin will be healed in a few weeks, just follow the above-mentioned tips. 

In rare cases though, if you’re not able to solve this condition even after following all these tips and trying for months, you should consult a board-certified dermatologist 

Natural face masks for Dry Skin

Face mask for Dry Skin

Natural Hydrating Face Masks for Dry Skin to Incorporate into the skincare routine

  • Almond face mask- make a paste of soaked almonds, yogurt, honey, and oats. Apply and keep it on for 20 mins on the face. Wash it off with lukewarm water, pat your skin dry, and spray some hydrating toner e.g., pure rose water. This face mask is very hydrating and gentle on the skin. You can do it 4 times a week.
  • Gram flour face mask- mix gram flour and yogurt. Apply and keep it on for 15 min. Wash it off. It is a gentle and brightening treatment for your skin. You can even use it every day.
  • Neem face mask- mix neem powder (or best if you have fresh neem paste) and turmeric. The mask is loaded with antibacterial and anti-microbial properties and will leave your skin fresh and clean.
  • Avocado face Mask- Avocados are one of the very hydrating natural ingredients to treat dry and flaky skin. Take ½ avocado, 1 tsp honey & some yogurt, mix them and apply. It’s a pure hydration bomb for your skin & will relax your itchy skin.
  • Oatmeal- Oatmeal is very moisturizing. You can make a face mask of it by simply mixing it with rosewater. You can also put some oat powder in the bathtub and soak your body in it completely for 20 minutes. Then Pat dry and apply a hypoallergenic moisturizer. If you’re low on time, just buy organic oatmeal soap.
  • Tea tree face mask- a few drops of tea tree oil, rose water, and fuller’s earth. Apply for 20 mins and rinse. Tea tree oil is anti-bacterial, rose water will hydrate your skin & fuller’s earth will clean the pores beautifully.
  • Banana face mask- Add ½ banana mashed, 2 tablespoons of plain cottage cheese, and 1 t-spoon of honey. It’s a very creamy hydrating mask. Works wonders for rough skin and sensitive skin.
  • Wheatgrass mask- It’s a cooling hydrating mask, add ¼ cup plain yogurt with 3 tsp of aloe vera gel and 2 tsp of wheatgrass juice. Mix them together and leave it on for 20 mins. Rinse off with warm water.

Types of Dry Skin

Extremely Dry skin is medically termed DermatitisThere are several types of Dermatitis:

Seborrheic Dermatitis

  • Seborrheic Dermatitis-It is a chronic skin condition when the skin produces excess oil. It primarily affects the scalp but it can also occur on other oily areas of the body like the face, nose, eyebrows, and ears. It’s characterized by flaking, itchiness, redness on the face, and white-yellowish greasy scales forming on sebaceous glands. There is no cure for this condition but it can be managed by using topical anti-fungal creams or using medicated shampoos like Ketoconazole as a face wash prescribed by a board-certified dermatologist.
  • Atopic Dermatitis- Known as Eczema, it’s a chronic skin condition causing dry and scaly patches on the skin.
  • Contact Dermatitis- It happens when your skin reacts to something it touches, resulting in inflammation. There are 2 types
    1.  Irritant Contact Dermatitis- When skin gets irritated from chemical agents like Bleach, detergents, soaps, solvents, and acids.
    2. Allergic Contact Dermatitis Itchy rash develops when you are in contact with a substance, you’re allergic to things like nickel, metal, latex, fragrances, junk jewelry, and plants (poison ivy).

A Few Products Suggestions for Dry and Dehydrated skin

Hope you get some relief from the dry skin. Love ~ Beauty Stroll

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By Aayushi S
By Aayushi S
Aayushi is a New York based freelance writer and a content strategist. She is a computer science graduate, a health and skincare fanatic and is also the founder of “Beauty Stroll “. She aims to make science-backed skincare easy to understand for her readers.

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