Dry skin is a prevalent condition. Aging, exposure to cold weather, and the action of external irritants are some of the causes. Find out more in this article. Dehydrated skin, or xerosis, is a common dermatosis that can strike at any age and in various body parts. The skin requires a water content of 10 to 15% to remain flexible and intact.
Lower values compromise its elasticity. Dry skin is accompanied by an itchy sensation and can generate cracks at risk of infection. The effect can be minimized by increasing the humidity of the rooms, controlling personal hygiene products, and using emollients to integrate the lipid components.
Dehydrated Skin, How Does It Manifest Itself?
Dehydrated skin has lost moisture, becoming dry. Signs and symptoms, include:
- Dryness with more noticeable fine lines
- Itching or irritation
- Subtle flaking
- Roughness to the touch
It can affect any part of the body, most often the hands, arms, and legs. The purpose of dermatological hydration is not only aesthetic but also to improve the functions of the skin as it is an extended organ with multiple tasks.
What Are The Causes Of Xerosis?
Xerosis, or very dry skin, is a condition common to millions of people. It can occur chronically or acutely in response to the season, skincare, age, or certain diseases. It may be based on exogenous or endogenous factors. Let’s see the most frequent and known ones.
Diabetes, thyroid and kidney disease, contact, and atopic dermatitis can explain dehydrated skin. Although in different ways, these conditions alter the degree of hydration of the stratum corneum and the dermis. The main symptom is usually incessant itching. Those affected by these pathologies must preserve the skin barrier by applying emollient substances.
In cold countries, dry outdoor air and indoor heating cause blood to escape from the dermis, especially in the winter months. With air conditioning evaporating the skin’s water, dry and hot weather is also a predisposing factor. In this context, the time spent in the shower should be reduced, and lukewarm water should be used. In the end, it is convenient to apply an emollient product.
Too Many Showers
Too many showers can dry out the skin. Many bubble baths contain surfactants that draw lipids from the skin surface and between cells and emulsify them. In the medium term, this damages the skin barrier. The protective lipid layer is lost, and, in this way, external agents can penetrate deeper.
Aging And Dehydrated Skin
The prevalence of xerosis increases with age due to changes in the keratinization process and the lipid composition of the stratum corneum. Older people are more likely to have dehydrated skin. With age, the dermis produces less sebum, which is the fat responsible for keeping the skin soft.
This lower production leaves a feeling of dryness and prevents adequate protection from irritants. At age 40, the amount of sebum produced by the body decreases dramatically and then decreases over time. Xerosis is, therefore, a common condition but more common among the elderly population.
Cigarettes contain harmful chemicals that accelerate skin aging and make it drier. Smokers have dry, grayish facial skin with typical wrinkles around the mouth. Smoking increases the degradation of collagen and elastin fibers that form the basic structure of the dermis. Natural aging is thus accelerated.
What Is pH, And How Does It Relate To Dry Skin?
The top layer of the skin has a pH between 4 and 6, which indicates the degree of acidity. These values denote a slight bite of the cell layer under the action of amino acids, fatty acids, and sebum. All of these substances are acidic, and when they are present in the skin simultaneously, they create a barrier against bacteria. Next to it, the lipid barrier, composed of free fatty acids and ceramides, acts as a water repellent.
The acidic pH of healthy skin inhibits most pathogenic bacteria. However, when the skin is injured or dehydrated, this shield is altered. The tissue under the skin, on the other hand, has a physiological pH of 7.4, which favors the proliferation of bacteria when the barriers fail. This means that xerosis represents a risk factor for infectious dermatitis.
Moisturize Dry Skin
The ideal treatment for dehydrated skin involves short showers or baths with lukewarm water, followed by moisturizers. This is, in fact, the moment when the skin is most receptive. When itching, which is one of the characteristic symptoms, is felt, the skin is considered dehydrated and needs care.
Also Read: Importance Of Enzymes For Your Skin