Common Causes of Dry Skin

Jun 12, 2023 | By NuBest Beauty
Dry skin affects individuals of all ages and can be a source of discomfort and frustration. The feeling of tightness, flakiness, and itchiness associated with rough skin can impact both physical comfort and self-confidence. To address the root causes and put effective treatments in place, it is crucial to understand the common causes of dry skin. Let’s start reading now.

1. Environmental factors

Environmental factors play a significant role in causing dry skin. Cold weather, for example, usually has low humidity levels, resulting in a lack of moisture in the air. When the air is dry, it can pull moisture from the skin, leaving it dehydrated and prone to dryness. Additionally, exposure to dry air, whether from indoor heating systems or arid climates, can have a similar effect on the skin.

Low humidity can disrupt the skin's moisture balance and impair its ability to retain water, leading to dryness, flakiness, and an uncomfortable sensation. Furthermore, cold temperatures can cause constriction of blood vessels in the skin. This reduction in blood flow diminishes the delivery of essential nutrients and moisture to the skin cells.

To counter the effects of these environmental factors, you need to take proactive measures. Using a humidifier indoors can help add moisture to the air, preventing excessive dryness. Additionally, wearing appropriate clothing, such as scarves and gloves, can minimize exposure to cold and dry air. Regularly moisturizing the skin with hydrating lotions or creams can also help replenish lost moisture and create a protective barrier.


2. Hot showers and baths

Another common cause of rough skin is prolonged exposure to hot showers and baths. While hot water may feel soothing and relaxing, it can actually strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and dehydration.

When you expose your skin to hot water for extended periods, the heat can break down the lipid barriers that help retain moisture in the skin. As a result, the natural oils that keep your skin hydrated and supple are washed away.

To prevent the drying effects of hot water, opt for lukewarm water instead. This temperature is gentler on the skin and helps to preserve its natural oils. Also, try to limit your shower or bath time to around 10 minutes to minimize exposure to water and prevent excessive moisture loss.

Additionally, it is beneficial to choose mild, fragrance-free cleansers and avoid harsh soaps that can further strip the skin's natural oils. After bathing, pat your skin gently with a towel rather than rubbing vigorously to help retain some moisture on the skin's surface.

3. Harsh soaps and cleansers

Many conventional soaps and cleansers contain ingredients, such as sulfates, fragrances, and alcohol, that can strip the skin of its natural oils. These ingredients can disrupt the delicate balance of the skin's pH levels and compromise its ability to retain moisture. As a result, the skin can become dry, flaky, and more susceptible to irritation.

To prevent this from happening, opt for mild, gentle cleansers specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Consider using cleansers with moisturizing ingredients, like ceramides or glycerin, which can help replenish the skin's moisture while cleansing.

In addition to choosing the right cleansers, be mindful of the frequency of washing. Overwashing can further disrupt the skin's natural moisture balance, leading to increased dryness. Unless necessary, try to avoid excessive washing of the face or body, and instead, opt for gentle cleansing once or twice a day.

After cleansing, remember to follow up with a moisturizer suitable for your skin type. Moisturizers help to restore and seal moisture, creating a protective barrier against dryness. Look for moisturizers that are hydrating, non-comedogenic, and free from potential irritants.

4. Age

As we age, the skin naturally undergoes changes that can contribute to increased dryness. One significant factor is the decrease in oil production and the skin's ability to retain moisture. The sebaceous glands, responsible for producing the skin's natural oils, become less active over time. This reduction in oil production leads to a decreased supply of lipids that help keep the skin moisturized and protected. 

Consequently, the skin's moisture barrier weakens, making it more susceptible to dryness and moisture loss. Additionally, the skin's capacity to retain moisture diminishes as the levels of substances that help lock in moisture decrease. 

To address age-related rough skin, prioritize hydration and moisture retention. Use a gentle cleanser and incorporate moisturizers rich in hydrating ingredients that provide the skin with much-needed moisture and strengthen its protective barrier. 


5. Skin conditions

Dryness can be caused by various skin issues, such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Inflammation and damage to the skin's protective layer are symptoms of these disorders.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic condition characterized by red, itchy patches on the skin. It often affects individuals with a family history of allergies or asthma. The inflammation associated with eczema can impair the skin's ability to retain moisture, resulting in dry and sensitive skin.

Psoriasis is another chronic skin condition that causes the rapid buildup of skin cells, leading to thick, scaly patches. This excessive cell turnover can disrupt the skin's moisture balance.

Dermatitis refers to skin inflammation that can be caused by various factors relating to irritants or allergens. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when the skin reacts to a specific substance, while irritant contact dermatitis develops as a result of exposure to irritating substances, like harsh chemicals or certain fabrics. Both types of dermatitis can compromise the skin's barrier function and trigger dryness and discomfort.

Managing irritated skin associated with these conditions often involves a multifaceted approach. It typically includes gentle cleansing with mild, fragrance-free products, avoiding triggers that worsen symptoms, and using moisturizers specifically formulated for sensitive skin.

In conclusion,

Environmental factors, such as cold weather and low humidity, along with excessive bathing and the use of harsh cleansers, can contribute to dry skin. Additionally, age, certain skin conditions, underlying health conditions, medications, overwashing or over-exfoliating, and dehydration can all play a role in skin dryness. It is essential to consult a dermatologist if dry skin persists or becomes severe, as they can provide personalized advice and treatment options. With proper care and awareness, we can nurture our skin and promote a healthier, more comfortable complexion.

(*) All pictures shown are for illustration purpose only.
THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS FOR REFERENCE ONLY and shall not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or starting any medication or treatment without discussing it with a qualified health professional.