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What is dry skin and what causes it?

Individuals can suffer from dry skin at any time of their lives. Naturally if you take the time to apply moisturiser on a regular basis your unlikely to suffer from this unsightly and sometimes distressing condition.

The outside layer of your skin is called the epidermis and actually sheds itself once a month. This is completely normal and often you don't even notice this is happening. Sometimes when your epidermis is very dry, it can peel off prematurely in flakes. In this case the surface of your skin can appear scaly with patches of ash-like specks. You can see this process in action if you’ve ever been sunburnt and your skin starts peeling off.

What causes dry skin?

If your skin is fully hydrated it will not show any signs of dryness and this means that you have the amount of natural oils in your skin about right. However this delicate balance can be affected by many factors and it is important to know what is causing your dry skin before beginning treatment.

Winter weather – dry air is caused when the temperature and humidity levels drop.

Steaming hot showers can dry out the naturally occurring oils in your skin too quickly.

Using the wrong type of soap - some are very harsh and reduce your skins natural moisture barrier. Check ph levels and ingredients.

Over scrubbing your skin to it clean it.

Drying your skin too thoroughly and quickly after a shower or bath which doesn’t leave enough time for your skin to absorb moisture from the water.

Ageing. Sorry folks, your hormone levels change as you advanced in years and your skin becomes thinner and more susceptible to dryness.

Washing your clothes in detergents and fabric softener containing skin-irritating ingredients.

Something more serious. If your dry skin keeps coming back, get checked by your doctor or dermatologist to see whether you may have dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema or in some cases, dry skin is a symptom of diabetes or an under active thyroid gland.

Now you know the possible causes of your flaky epidermis, it’s time to decide how best to treat your dry skin.