Dry skin can be a sign of various health problems right from dehydration to diabetes. And it is wise to not ignore dry skin as it can be a sign of an underlying disease and help you in the early diagnosis. However, what you need to know is that dry skin which is quite common during summers and winters can also be due to some common everyday habits. Yes, you could be unknowingly harming your skin on a regular basis which may be the reason for dry skin. Wondering how? Well, in this article, we list down some of the common habits that can harm your skin and lead to dry skin.
5 Everyday Habits That Can Cause Dry Skin
It is commonly known that exposure to summer heat can cause the skin to become dry. Moreover, the dry air during winters is one of the reasons for the skin to be dry and itchy. There are known reasons for dry skin and there are ways to prevent dry skin during these seasons and environmental conditions. However, here are some of the common habits that could be causing dry skin. These include:
1. Hot Showers
A hot water bath after a tiring day at work can provide you the much-needed relief from both physical and mental stress. Moreover, a hot water bath during winters is all you need to beat the chills. But it may not be a good idea to take hot showers, especially for long hours, as it can leave you with dry skin in the long run. This is because excessive exposure to hot water can strip off the natural oils and moisture of the skin and disrupt the skin barrier, increasing the risk of dry skin.
According to the American Dermatology Association, one should keep their shower time not more than 10 minutes. Also, it is wise to use lukewarm or cold water for showers as hot water can up the risk of dry skin. So check how hot your bathing water is before you head straight to take a bath.
2. Harsh Soaps
The next one on the list that can lead to dry skin is the use of harsh soaps. These are packed with strong smell and harsh chemicals which can take a toll on the skin. Most traditional bath soaps contain ingredients known as surfactants which are alkaline in nature. This can disrupt the natural skin barrier and make the skin vulnerable to various skin problems including dry skin. The chemicals present in these soaps can also cause irritation of the skin and make you prone to skin infections due to change in the pH of the skin.
The best way to prevent dry skin is to avoid the use of harsh soaps and those loaded with scents or fragrances. Instead, use the one which is gentle on the skin and does not contain any fragrances or scents. You can opt for herbal soaps which are known to contain fewer chemicals.
Exfoliation is undoubtedly one of the best ways to keep your skin healthy and glowing. The main aim of exfoliation is to remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface thus causing your skin to radiate and glow. So if you do not exfoliate on a regular basis, the dead skin cells get accumulated over the skin surface which can cause darkening of the skin and risk of skin problems such as acne. So exfoliation is needed to keep the skin clean. But if you over exfoliate your skin, then it can increase the risk of dry skin. Exfoliating too much can rip off the protective skin layer which can lead to inflammation, redness, peeling, and drying of the skin.
Have you ever read the instructions at the back of an exfoliating scrub? Well, it is important because most face scrubs recommend to not use an exfoliating scrub more than one to two times a week. Also, check for ingredients such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid in these scrubs as these are known to gently exfoliate the dead cells from the skin.
4. Wrong Moisturisers
Applying a good amount of moisturizer on your face and body is not a bad idea to retain moisture and prevent dry skin. But if you use the wrong moisturizer or use one in a wrong way, it may not serve the purpose. Most moisturizing lotions are water-based which contain less oil content. So when you apply these on the skin, it gets quickly evaporated and is not easily absorbed by the skin. So choosing the right moisturizer is the key to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.
According to the American Dermatology Association, ointments and creams are better than using a lotion. This is because these type of moisturizers are not only effective but are less irritating as compared to lotions. You can look for ingredients such as jojoba oil, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or lactic acid. Also, always apply a moisturizer immediately after washing your face or hands and drying off after a shower as it helps to lock in existing moisture present in the skin.
5. Not Staying Hydrated
Yes, the most common mistake that can significantly up your risk of dry skin as well as dehydration, especially during the summer, is not drinking enough water. Lack of hydration can cause your skin to become dry and irritated. It can also make your skin look tired and dull. So do increase your water intake on a daily basis and check for yourself how it affects your skin’s health.
Ideally, it is advised to drink around 2-3 liters of water every day. You can even take fluids such as fruit juices and soups to increase your overall water content through diet. But avoid carbonated drinks and sweetened beverages as it can impact your skin along with other organs in the long run.
Fix these simple everyday mistakes that could be causing dry skin and see how it can benefit your skin. Also, follow a proper skin care routine along with a proper diet to beat this skin problem. If you experience any other symptoms along with dry skin, then do consult your doctor to know the exact cause of dry skin.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)
Dermatologists’ top tips for relieving dry skin. The American Academy Of Dermatology (AAD).