top 5 causes of dry skin

So what causes dry skin?

Lack of moisture, right? Possibly.

But there could also be other factors which may be contributing to your itchy, red, dry skin.

Discovering and removing these factors from your daily routine, may begin to alleviate your skin.

Cause 1: Soap

Did you know that most soaps as they tend to be drying on the skin?

You could find it’s better to wash with a non-soap cleanser, ideally one that contains moisturising ingredients such as oils. And if you see Sodium lauryl sulfate or Sodium laureth sulfate listed on the ingredients label, it might be an idea to choose another brand as this ingredient can be quite abrasive on your skin.

After you come out of the shower, gently pat your skin dry. Don’t vigorously rub it. By gently patting it, any oils that are on your skin as a result of the shower product you used will remain on your skin where they’ll be absorbed and help keep your skin moisturised.

If you naturally have dry skin, which can become even more dry in the Winter, you might consider showering less frequently as showering only contributes to drying skin. Alternatively, don’t cleanse your whole body every day.

Cause 2: Dry Air

Especially in Winter, you crank up the central heating to keep the Winter chills outside. But did you know that central heating can dry the air inside your home? And it can draw the moisture out of your skin?

To combat this use a humidifier, a gadget that adds moisture to the air to reduce and prevent dryness.

The ideal humidity level in your home should be between 40 and 60. Measurements below 40 are too low and the air will become too dry, in turn drying out your skin.

Personally I try to keep the humidity as close to 60 as possible.

Remember: when using a humidifier please carefully read the instruction and care manuals.

Cause 3: Hard Water

Hard water is tap water which has a high concentration of minerals such as zinc, magnesium or lead.

According to Dermatologist, Dennis Gross MD, the minerals in hard water turn the oils on your skin into a “thick substance that plugs, aggravates conditions like acne and rosacea, and prevents moisturisers from being absorbed into the skin”.

You can very easily determine if your tap water is hard. Fill a bottle three-quarters full of tap water and add a few drops of detergent. Put the cap on the bottle and shake. If there’s not much foam, you have hard water. You can further check if you have hard water by simply looking into your kitchen kettle. If white scale gathers in it periodically, then you have hard water – the scale is the residue left behind from hard water.

To soften your water, attach a filtration system in your home. This will reduce the mineral content of the water that comes out of the tap.

Cause 4: Over-washing & Over-cleansing

Quite often people who show signs of dry skin, particularly on their hands, are washing their hands constantly. And they tend to use hot water. To reduce the effects of over-washing, use tepid water instead of hot and an oil-based cleanser rather than soap. And after washing your hands, immediately apply a moisturiser.

When it comes to your body, again, reduce the temperature of the water. So shower on bathe in tepid water and reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower or bath. This is particularly important in Winter. According to dermatologist Bruce Robinson, MD, “Overwashing, especially long hot showers, is the number one reason for dry skin”.

And after you leave the shower or bath, pat your skin dry and apply a moisturiser.

Cause 5: DNA

Scientists now believe that dry skin can be passed down from earlier generations. Indeed, experts at the University of Dundee found that mutations in the genes that control filaggrin can induce several dry skin conditions such eczema. Filaggrin is a protein in our bodies which helps keep our skin barrier hydrated.

Does dry skin run in your family?

If you are prone to dry skin as a result of your DNA, be diligent with your daily moisturising routine.