dry skin 101

Dry Skin 101: Learn How to Banish Dry Skin With Our Expert Insights!

Categories : Skincare

For those suffering from dry skin, we know how annoying and distressing it can be! Though dry skin isn’t usually serious it can be very annoying! But don’t worry, even if you have naturally dry skin there are so many things you can do to improve your skin condition. Beauty Insider Malaysia did all the research for you and gathered the ultimate dry skin 101 that can provide you with all the information you need to tackle dry skin issues!

What is Dry Skin? 

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Let’s start off our dry skin 101 with some basic definition. Dry skin is a very common skin condition that occurs due to the lack amount of water in the epidermis, the most superficial layer of the skin.  Medically, this situation is known as xerosis. Both males and females are equally prone to dry skin issues. Old people, in particular, have a higher risk of developing dry skin as their skin tend to have diminished amounts of natural skin oils and lubricants.

Some of the areas that are most commonly affected by dryness are the arms, hands, and particularly lower legs. In some case, environmental factors like humidity and temperature, have a profound effect on the amount of water retained within the skin. That said simple prevention and treatment measures are very effective in the treatment of dry skin.

What Causes Dry Skin? 

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Well, there is no one single cause of dry skin and the causes can be classified as external and internal. In general, the external factors are the most common underlying cause and are the easiest to address. We have addressed both the causes of dry skin along with the in-depth explanations of how it affects the skin. 

The external factors that cause dry skin:

  • Over-washing with harsh soaps
  • Lack of moisture
  • Cold temperature
  • Low humidity

The types of soap you use affect your skin more than you know. If your skin feels overly tight after bathing it indicated that the soap you use removed excess water and natural skin oils, which ultimately results in drier skin. In fact, excessive use of soaps can worsen dry skin.

Yes, you can cure this with loading your skin with moisturisers but be wary because dry skin may persist or worsen if you use the wrong moisturisers. Apart from external factors, dry skin can also be caused by internal factors.

The internal factors that cause dry skin:

  • Overtaking some medicines
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Ageing
  • Diseases like eczema, psoriasis, diabetes, hypothyroidism
  • Malnutrition

Sometimes, taking too many medicines can result in dehydration which leads to dry skin.  The most common skin drying medications include those of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, allergy, and acne medications. Apart from the reasons above, ageing can also make one prone to dry skin because as you as, your skin starts to lose collagen which essentially keeps the skin healthy in the first place. In addition, diseases like eczema, psoriasis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and malnutrition are all associated with dry skin.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Skin?

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Next, in our dry 101 is the symptoms of dry skin. The most common symptom is irresistible itchiness. Some of the other symptoms include the skin feeling tight and dry. Severe dryness can lead to red patches on the skin. Typically, you can sense these symptoms on areas like the arms, hands, lower legs, abdomen, and areas of friction such as ankles and soles. If you leave those dry skin untreated, it can become more severe and lead to cracks and fissures! 

These are the key symptoms of dry skin: 

  1. Itching
  2. Rough dry skin
  3. Red plaques of eczematous skin (nummular eczema)

The itchiness may worsen depending on the severity of dry skin. Constant scratching and rubbing the skin may cause the skin to become tight and leathery. In fact, harsh scratching can lead to wounds and infections. 

What Are the Best Treatments for Dry Skin?

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Any skin care expert would agree, that the best treatment for dry skin is to pamper your skin with enough moisture! When you are picking a moisturiser for yourself go for those that are emollient base. Emollient is a substance that inhibits the evaporation of water. Also, stay hydrated by drinking lots of water because ultimately the main goal of any dry treatments are to stop the itching, prevent loss of water, and restore skin hydration.

Key ingredients you should look for in dry skin products: 

  • Hydrocortisone 
  • Pramosone 
  • Triamcinolone 
  • Fluocinonide 

Do take note, that not all of these ingredients are suitable for the face and they should be only used in an appropriate amount! For example, mild corticosteroid creams like hydrocortisone can be used on the face, underarm, and groin areas but strong corticosteroid creams like fluocinonide can cause serious adverse effects like skin thinning, stretch marks, and skin breakdown.

Another treatment for dry skin is consuming oral medications. You can also opt for medication like antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), hydroxyzine (Vistaril, Atarax), and cetirizine (Zyrtec)  which can provide faster and quicker relief. These medications can alleviate itchiness and give you better sleep at night. If you are going to start on medication it is best to consult a doctor first.  

What Are the Best Home Remedies for Dry Skin?

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This is the interesting part of the dry skin 101 where we talk about solutions. There are a variety of home remedies you can do to get permanent relief from dry skin woes! Below we have gathered the best five home remedies for dry skin and backed it up with some scientific evidence on why these remedies are effective!

1. Apply Coconut Oil On the Dry Patches

Coconut oil is the best home remedy for treating dry skin. It was found to significantly improve skin hydration and increase the number of lipids (fats) on the surface of the skin. Plus, coconut oil also contains saturated fatty acids that have emollient properties which act as a moisturiser by filling in gaps in dry skin, making it smooth.

2. Drink One Glass of Milk Everyday

Another common ingredient that can help heal dry skin significantly is milk. A research from 2015 suggests that milk could improve dry skin because milk contains a fat called phospholipid, which can improve the skin barrier. 

3. Run an Oatmeal Bath Once a Week

We know, you are like what?! But trust us oatmeal is another natural ingredient that can help treat dry skin big time. A study found that anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of oatmeal can help treat dry skin. Just, next time you taking a shower just add some powdered oatmeal as it can help to relieve dry skin.

4. Eat Foods That Are Rich in Antioxidants

There are some foods which can reduce inflammation and dryness. In general, foods that are rich in antioxidants can minimize damage from toxins and help your body make healthy cells. 

Some of the best foods for dry skin include:

  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Red beans
  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Salmon
  • Cucumber

5. Make a DIY Face Mask Using Avocado 

Avocado is another natural way to soothe dry skin. Just blend avocado and mixing it with a teaspoon of olive oil and honey. Apply the mask to your face, leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, and then wash it off. To finish it off, apply your regular moisturiser. Do this 2-3 a week and watch your skin transform in no time. 

 What Are The Best Skincare Products for Dry Skin?

Next in line in our dry skin 101, is products for dry skin! We know, with so many dry skin products in the market, you can get lost on finding the one that works for you. To help you out, below we have handpicked four of the staples dry skin products available in Malaysia that you should add to your beauty bag now!

1. Best Cleanser- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser

Mild and light, this facial cleanser can thoroughly cleanse your skin without over-drying or stripping skin of its natural oils. It is also effective in removing makeup, excess oil, dirt, and debris.

Price: RM97.00

Where to Buy: Kiehl’s Malaysia

2. Best Toner-  Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner

Infused with real rose petals, the Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner can help softens the skin and refines the appearance of pores. The gentle formula can deeply cleanse the skin as well help clear any form of residual impurities. It can leave your skin feeling refreshed and hydrated all day long.

Price: RM107.00

Where to Buy: Sephora Malaysia

3. Best Moisturiser- Body Shop Vitamin E Moisturizer

This lightweight moisturiser can help protect and lock in moisture for all-day hydration. It will leave skin your feeling fresh, silky-soft and looking more radiant. Packed with plumping hyaluronic acid and wheat germ oil, this moisturiser can help ward off dryness in no time. 

Price: RM70.00

Where to Buy: The Body Shop Malaysia

4. Best Face Mask- Avene Soothing Moisture Mask 

The Avene Soothing Moisture Mask is a can help nourish your skin with an ample amount of moisture. Rich In Avène Thermal Spring Water, this mask can restore hydration back into your skin. Use it 2-3 times a week and watch your skin be replenished and looking healthy and radiant.

Price: RM80.75

Where to Buy: Watsons Malaysia

How to Treat/ Prevent Dry Skin?

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In this section of our dry skin 101, is prevention methods of dry skin. There are so many simple things you can do to prevent your skin from drying out. From decreasing your bathing time to avoiding strong soaps, all you have to do is a little more hardworking in taking good care of your skin. 

Try these tips to keep skin from getting excessively dry:

  1. Use lots of moisturisers to seal water in skin from escaping.
  2. Keep shower time to 10 minutes or less.
  3. Shower in lukewarm water and avoid using hot water.
  4. Opt for mild and gentle cleansers with added moisturizers.
  5. Pat your wet skin with a soft towel, don’t rub!!!
  6. Avoid itching or scrubbing dry skin patches.
  7. Most importantly drink plenty of water.

As we said, it is super simple to prevent and treat dry skin.  Using simple lifestyle changes and equipping yourself with good dry skin products, you can prevent dry skin from occurring!  Remember, if left untreated, dry skin can get worse. So, lower your risk of complications, and start on dry skincare regime now. 

When to See a Doctor? 

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Lastly, in our dry skin 101 let’s talk a look at when is it the best time to visit a doctor in regards to dry skin issues. Well, in most cases, dry skin responds well to all the above lifestyle, home remedies and products. However, if the conditions persist or get worse, visit a doctor immediately. Large areas of scaling or peeling skin is a sign that you need immediate medical attention so don’t wait!