Dry or Itchy Skin? Here's Why... and How to Fix It
There are plenty of causes of dry and itchy skin, a few of which are simple mistakes you're making. But why does it happen so frequently?
Dry skin is also known as xerosis. Some factors that cause dry skin are due to the environment, while others are directly related to the individual.
Your skin is known as the epidermis, and its most outer layer is composed of dead cells called the stratum corneum, a protective layer for your living cells underneath. At its best, it should be firm yet flexible, to be a proper barrier. The epidermis is directly below that layer, and when the stratum corneum dries out, it shrinks, looking cracked. It can no longer properly do its job.
Some of the things you may be doing that causes dry skin are spending too much time in the sun, taking super hot showers, and taking long showers. Bathing too frequently and scrubbing your skin with a harsh soap or sponge will all cause dry skin. The problem is that with high heat, harsh soaps or prolonged exposure to water or the sun, you're stripping your skin of its natural oils.
When it comes to a shower, keep it just warm enough to be comfortable, and keep it to five minutes, tops. We promise your morning routine will thank you. Rather than grabbing a rough sponge for the shower, choose a soft loofah.
For your face, the key is a gentle, soap-free face wash and toner. Perhaps the most over-looked product for your face, toner helps to bind moisture, so using it twice daily will not only seal in water, but help balance the pH of your skin.
Next, be sure to use products that limit inflammation and irritation of your skin, those rich in antioxidants. Finally, help skin rebuild its barrier with products that have essential fatty acids.
Applying moisturizer to skin right after bathing -- when your skin is damp -- is best. Think of a sponge: if you put lotion on a dry sponge, it just sits on top. But if you have a wet sponge and put lotion on it, it'll drink it right up. Your skin is the same way.