Flaking, roughness, cracking and itching are symptoms that may indicate xerosis, better known as dry skin.
This condition is not usually serious, but it is very annoying. Fortunately, you can combat it by incorporating a number of healthy habits.
Why does the skin get dry?
Xerosis or dry skin occurs when the skin loses too much water and oils. Although it is a condition that can affect anyone, it is most common in:
- Over 45 years old.
- People who live in areas with cold, dry or slightly humid climates.
- People who carry out activities or have jobs that require submerging or being in constant contact with water.
This condition can be temporary, although there are many cases in which it is suffered throughout life, presenting different symptoms:
- Appearance of lines or fine cracks.
- Greyish coloration of the skin.
- Flaking that can be mild or severe.
- Redness of the skin.
- Bleeding from cracks that form in the skin.
- Feeling of tightness in the skin.
Dry skin is usually a consequence of the following conditions, habits, or products:
- Very hot baths or showers.
- Heat: especially central heating, heaters or wood stoves, as they reduce humidity and dry out the skin.
- Climate: during winter the skin is more prone to drying out, as temperatures and humidity levels drop.
- Swimming in pools that have a lot of chlorine.
- Having skin problems: such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) or psoriasis.
- Using abrasive products: such as soaps, detergents and shampoos formulated to remove grease.
What to do to relieve dry skin
You can prevent or alleviate the symptoms of dry skin by following these tips:
Experts advise drinking between 2 and 2 ½ liters of water each day. This helps fight or prevent dry skin by:
- It diminishes the cracks or lines in the skin.
- Balances the sebaceous gland.
- Strengthens the skin.
- Keeps the skin hydrated.
- Oxygenates cells.
- Promotes the elimination of toxins.
You can also achieve good hydration, regularly consuming foods that are characterized by being rich in water, antioxidant compounds and vitamins beneficial for the skin, such as strawberries, mango, melon, cucumber, tomato, and watermelon.
- The most important vitamins to take care of your skin
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet is essential for all the body’s organs to remain strong and healthy, and to function properly (including the skin). Consider these options to combat dry skin:
The avocado provides more than 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, and vitamins E and B. It is also rich in minerals such as iron, phosphorus and magnesium, as well as folic acid, niacin and biotin.
These nutrients make it an excellent ally of the skin, as they help fight inflammation, irritation, pain and redness derived from xerosis.
Here we can find lemon, orange, mandarin, grapefruit, kiwi, papaya or Camu Camu (the fruit with the highest concentration of vitamin C).
Water is the main component of citrus fruits, although they are also an essential source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, minerals and flavonoids (substances with antioxidant effects).
This composition gives you different health benefits, including skin care, keeping it shiny and hydrated, while stimulating collagen production.
This group shares a common trait: less than half of its composition is made up of water. Nuts are almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts or peanuts, chestnuts, walnuts (already common, Pecan or Macadamia, among others), pistachios, and even seeds, such as sunflower or pumpkin.
The available scientific evidence shows that consuming them regularly helps to hydrate and soften the skin, while protecting it against toxins and chemicals, thanks to the fact that they are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.
Historically, green tea has been associated with great antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and rejuvenating power. This combination of benefits is perfect for maintaining good skin health and preventing cracking, flaking, redness, and pain from dry skin.
Carrots are recognized for their important antioxidant properties, as they have compounds called flavonoids and a significant concentration of vitamins A, B and C.
Therefore, its consumption helps to take care of skin health, since these nutrients are capable of reducing inflammation, promoting collagen production, and stimulating the elasticity and strength of the skin.
Keep in mind that the soaps you use to bathe or wash your hands can promote dry, scaly, and itchy skin. To prevent this problem, the advice of the experts is to opt for mild soaps, free of dyes and perfumes.
Another essential aspect to prevent dry skin is to avoid over washing (limit showers to once a day).
It is also important that the water is warm, not hot, since at high temperatures it can eliminate many of the substances found on the skin and help it retain moisture.
Other tips that you can keep in mind during the day to prevent dry skin are:
- Cover the skin during bad seasons, such as winter.
- Moisturize the skin regularly.
- Do not expose yourself to water for too long, either in the shower or in the pool.
- Wear rubber gloves when washing.
In some cases, the above tips may be useful in principle, but the effects of the environment end up affecting the skin. Against this situation, you can resort to a humidifier that helps increase the humidity of the environment.
Moisturizers are also effective. These work by sealing in the moisture that the skin already has, so the ideal is to use them after bathing.
Another very popular option is supplements, such as collagen. However, it is advisable to consult a health professional before using these types of products.
Natural medicine highlights the properties of different herbs, such as walnut leaf, nettle, or rose petals, to combat dry skin. To use them, you just have to prepare them in infusion, let them cool and apply to the affected area.
Do not forget to consult the dermatologist
It is important to remember that all the above tips can work as a complement to the recommendations of a health professional.
Before the appearance of symptoms of xerosis, it is important to consult a dermatologist to make a diagnosis, identify the cause and decide which is the best treatment.
Xerosis can often be due to underlying conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema, and even kidney or liver problems.
Until significant scientific evidence from human trials is available, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should exercise extreme caution.
Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.
Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.
Sources consulted: Comprehensive Natural Medicines Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.