Many people are familiar with the problem of having dry skin. The causes are manifold. Heating, aggressive cleansing agents, incorrect skincare and pre-existing conditions such as psoriasis are only some of them. If the skin is not sufficiently moisturized, it itches, cracks and can no longer fulfill its protective function. If the skin is dry, this is much more than a purely cosmetic problem. But what are the causes and what can you do about it? Find all the information below.
What is dry skin actually?
The phenomenon of dry skin is something that affects many people. The skin is not sufficiently moisturized. Dry and brittle spots form. In particularly severe cases, the skin tears, eczema occurs and inflammation develops.
Symptoms of dry skin
Severe itching is the most common symptom of dry skin. The skin is sensitive and reacts more strongly to external stimuli.
The typical symptoms are
- Rough and scaly skin
- Reddened skin
These symptoms often occur particularly strongly with extremely dry skin. If the skin is very dry, the affected areas can tear open and bacteria can enter the wound. Inflammation and eczema can be the result.
What body parts are most susceptible?
Skin lacking in moisture can occur all over the body. However, some parts of the body are more susceptible than the rest of the body.
Frequently affected by dryness:
- Lower leg
- Parts of the body exposed to friction (such as the wrists or soles of the feet)
Depending on care, living conditions and disposition, the dryness can be concentrated on one part of the body or it can affect several parts.
What causes dry skin?
There is no single cause for dry skin. The triggers are different and individual. Basically, a distinction is made between internal and external influencing factors. External factors can often be remedied with simple means. Internal triggers are often somewhat more complex.
External triggers for dry skin include:
- Low humidity and low temperatures (winter weather)
- Dry air (for example due to heating, or also in summer)
- Washing the skin too often
- Overly aggressive soaps and detergents
- Frequent use of disinfectants, fat solvents and cleaning agents containing alcohol
- Frequent showering and bathing
- Insufficient skincare
- Certain clothing fibers (such as wool and synthetic fibers) can strengthen dry skin.
Among the internal triggers for dry skin are:
- The general state of health
- Other diseases such as psoriasis, neurodermatitis and diseases of the thyroid gland
- Taking medication (such as high blood pressure medication)
- Hormonal changes (for example during menopause)
Who is frequently affected by dry skin?
Skin lacking in moisture is something that can affect everyone. Most of us will have to deal with dry skin at least once in our lives. This condition affects men, women, children and elderly people alike.
Nevertheless, there are some groups who have to struggle with dry skin more often.
The production of the sebaceous glands decreases with age. The skin therefore loses the ability to supply itself with sufficient moisture. Therefore, older people often suffer from dry and sensitive areas of skin.
Some diseases are often accompanied by dry skin. These include psoriasis, diabetes, an underactive thyroid gland, chronic intestinal diseases, neurodermatitis, allergies and celiac disease. Irradiation in the course of a cancer disease also removes moisture from the skin.
Taking medication can also dry out the skin. This often occurs with drugs to lower blood pressure, cortisone, retinoids, allergy drugs and chemotherapeutic drugs.
Some occupational groups are particularly exposed to skin irritation. Therefore, they tend to have drier skin. These include cleaning staff, hairdressers, catering staff, people in educational professions and health care workers.
Is dry skin only a cosmetic problem?
At first glance, dry skin is not a serious problem. Nevertheless, the consequences go far beyond a little itching.
The skin is the largest organ in the human body. It carries out a multitude of functions. Its resistance contributes significantly to our health. If our skin is affected, this can have various consequences.
Effects of dry skin
The protective function of the skin is lost. Pathogens can enter the body unhindered.
The protection against mechanical injuries (such as friction) and UV radiation decreases.
The skin regulates our body temperature and water balance. This works through sweating, dilation and constriction of the blood vessels. If the skin is damaged, it can no longer perform this task completely. Damaged skin areas lose their sensitivity. As a result, temperature stimuli, pain or touch can no longer be adequately perceived.
Furthermore, our skin plays a major role in human interaction. We communicate by blushing or going pale. Healthy skin radiates vitality and health. Damaged skin can therefore impair self-confidence.
What can I do if I have dry skin?
The causes of dehydrated skin are manifold. Therefore, treatment methods are also individual. It is best to try out different methods.
Use the right products
Everyone’s skin reacts differently. You should invest some time and patience to find the right products for you. It doesn’t matter whether you buy your creams and ointments from the pharmacy or use over-the-counter creams. Homemade care can also help.
The right products for your skin type are the core of your care. But the care itself also plays an important role. So gently cleanse your skin and moisturize regularly. Make sure you make enough time for the care. In this way, you can help your skin to remain supple and resistant.
Avoid dry air
Low humidity is one of the factors that causes dry skin. Therefore, try not to turn the heating up too high and use a humidifier if necessary. In summer, avoid strong sunlight and protect your skin sufficiently with sunscreen.
No to hot showers
When showering and bathing, you should be careful not to let the water temperature get too hot. The bathing time should not exceed 15-20 minutes. After the bath, you should moisturize!
Gentle to the skin
Moisture-deficient skin is sensitive. Therefore, take care not to stress the skin too much. Gently dabbing with a towel is a boon for stressed skin. In contrast, you should avoid rubbing skin strongly.
Dry skin loves soft materials
When you buy clothes, towels and the like, you can do something good for your skin. Avoid scratchy fabrics made of wool or coarse cotton. Use soft fibers and soft materials that are kind to your skin.
Switch to natural products
For sensitive skin, it can be worthwhile switching to natural products. In the meantime, care products, make-up and cleansing agents without chemical additives are available. Pure natural products such as almond oil, evening primrose oil and honey also help many affected persons.
No harsh detergents
Strong detergents are one of the main causes of dehydrated skin. Therefore, it is better to use gentle alternatives for soap, cleaning agents and detergents. Choose soaps specifically made for dry skin. These are gentle and moisturizing.
Extremely dry skin – what helps?
Some people suffer from extremely dry skin. In these cases, the general recommendations do not help anymore. Very dry skin needs additional support.
Very dry skin is often accompanied by severe itching. Here it is particularly important not to scratch. If you scratch the skin, pathogens can penetrate and cause inflammation. This leads to an aggravation of the itching and the appearance of the skin.
There are special products such as creams, soaps and lotions for highly stressed skin. These not only contain moisture-binding additives, but also calm the skin and help it to regenerate. It is best to get advice directly from a pharmacist.
If you suffer from extremely dry skin, there is no way around a visit to the doctor. A doctor can put together the right products for you. They can also make sure that there are no deeper causes for your irritated skin.
Dry skin and psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease. Those affected suffer from itching, scaly skin and inflammation of larger areas of skin. The disease is not contagious, but can severely restrict the lives of psoriasis patients.
Dry skin is typical for psoriasis. The dryness does not only affect the uppermost skin layer. Psoriasis is characterized by a disruption to the cell renewal process. Therefore, this disease also affects deeper skin layers. The skin is often already generally too dry. Without the right treatment and care, it continues to dry out. This forms a breeding ground for further inflammation and complaints. Therefore, it is especially important to treat dry skin areas in the case of psoriasis.
What to do with dry skin and psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a complex disease. A holistic healing approach includes the right medication, care and lifestyle. To counteract dry skin with psoriasis, you can take a number of measures.
There are special care products for the stressed skin of psoriasis patients. Make sure you use creams, shampoos, ointments and lotions that are specifically designed for use on drier psoriatic skin. Natural products such as evening primrose oil, almond oil and chamomile cream can also help.
Go to a specialist
Since dry skin and psoriasis can worsen each other, you should get help from a specialist. A specialist can work with you to choose the right therapy and recommend products that will help your skin to heal properly.
A healthy lifestyle
Psoriasis is a complex disease. Therefore, you should support your body holistically in healing. A healthy lifestyle with sufficient sleep, a balanced diet, sufficient water intake and regular exercise strengthens your body from within. You should also reduce stress.
Skin affected by psoriasis is particularly sensitive. It needs gentle treatment. This includes careful drying your skin after showering and choosing soft materials for clothing and towels. Strong rubbing of the affected skin areas should be avoided.
Dry skin is more than just a cosmetic problem
Skin with little moisture is therefore more than a purely optical or cosmetic problem. Dry skin is brittle and tears more easily. This is a real problem, especially for patients with sensitive skin or diseases like psoriasis. However, with the right care and expert support, the problem can be well managed.
Do you suffer from dry skin? What helps you?
Let us know in the comments. We are looking forward to hearing from you!
FAQ for dry skin and psoriasis
What is dry skin?
If the skin lacks moisture, it becomes rough and begins to tighten. This is not only unpleasant but also reduces the natural protective function of the skin. Elderly people, people with previous illnesses and certain occupational groups are more likely to suffer from dry skin.
What can I do to tackle dry skin?
A holistic approach works best. The right care products, avoiding aggressive cleansing agents and gentle treatment will help the skin to regenerate. In severe cases, a doctor should be consulted.
Are psoriasis and dry skin related?
People with psoriasis often suffer from dry skin. To avoid inflammation and severe itching, the skin must therefore be well cared for. Drugs, natural products and a healthy lifestyle support the body holistically in healing.
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