Causes of Dry Skin
During the teen-age years we have excessive skin oil production that leads to acne.
But after age 40, sebum production drops, resulting in a drier skin. Dry skin is also called xerosis, or xerotic eczema (xeros is Greek for "dry").
Xerosis may occur in normal healthy skin or be caused by specific conditions in which the skin fails to secrete adequate oils such as Sjorgen's syndrome.
Generally, as we get older there is a tendency for a drier, less oily skin. When skin becomes too dry, the outer skin layers become stiff and may develop cracks. The cracks become fissures into the skin which become irritated, inflamed and itchy.
Dry skin occurs more during the fall and winter months because of low humidity and too frequent bathing.
Xerosis is often called "Winter Itch" because of its worsening in winter.
The condition is worst in areas of the body with relatively few oil glands such as the arms, legs and torso area.
Some dermatologist feel that xerosis has worsened in recent years because people take more baths and showers. Fifty years ago, most people took one or two baths per week, and the skin had a chance to replace its natural skin oils between baths.
The best cure of dry skin is keeping your skin healthy. However, dermatologists often recommend creams or lotions for the dry cracked skin.
These are products such as Aveeno Lotion, Cetaphil Cream, Curel, Dermasil, Lacticare, Moisturel, Purpose, Neutrogena, or Lubriderm. Use creams for spot treatment and lotions over extensive body areas.
We find that natural alternative oils such as emu oil or squalane.
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Cleansers for Sensitive, Dry, and Irritated Skin
Soaps, detergents and bubble baths remove dirt, body oils and bacteria, preventing odor and infection.
Their use can cause itching and irritation. Beauty bar soaps contain synthetic detergents but are generally less drying and irritating.
People with dry skin should choose a very mild soap or soapless cleanser, and use as little soap as possible.
During a episode of very dry skin, bathe/shower with cool water and minimize water contact.
Many soap and cleansers not only remove surface dirt and oils, but actually damage the skin by destroying its natural acid mantle of sebum lipids.
Removal of this protective and anti-oxidant barrier leads to the generation of more skin-damaging free radicals.
This creates a dry, flaky skin which stimulates the production of more oil. The natural acidity of skin ranges from 4.2 to 5.6, but many soaps are very alkaline at around pH 10.
Even mild soaps usually have a very alkaline pH of 9.5. Keep in mind that every change in one pH unit (a logarithmic system) increases alkalinity by 10-fold and a soap of pH 10 has 1,000 times more alkalinity than a soap at pH 7.0.
Fragile skin can literally be dissolved by strong soaps. Becareful of harsh detergents, caustics, or "flash" foaming agents. The pH of the soap is 7.0, far below the alkalinity of other soaps.
Dr. Peter Pugliese, more of the world's most innovative dermatologists, Pugliese designed a cleanser built around a ultra-light oil derived from soybean oil. This cleansing oil is formulated to dissolve makeup and dirt while leaving the skin's natural lipid barrier intact.