Top 10 Things That Cause Dry Skin

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Your skin is your body’s largest, living organ; it that acts as a barrier between delicate nerve endings and outside forces – making it incredibly sensitive to environmental changes.dry skin

1. Dehydration

The culprit behind dehydrated skin? Lack of water. Without proper hydration, skin appears dull and sunken, accentuating fine lines, wrinkles, dry patches, and areas of hyperpigmentation.

Your solution: Drink your water and eat it too – which means drinking plenty of water throughout the day and keeping your body hydrated by eating fresh fruits and veggies.

2. Weather

There are a few factors at play that wreak havoc on our complexions:

• Low humidity levels. When temperature drops, humidity levels do too. Dry air leaves skin feeling tight and looking parched.

• Indoor heating or Air Conditioning. Cranking up the heat or A/C strips the skin of moisture.

• Windy, cold weather. Cold air dries out skin as wind leaves you feeling dry, flaky, and chapped.

Your solution: Invest in a humidifier and set it at an ideal of 45% to 55% humidity. Have lip balm and hand cream with you at all times (in a handbag, in your car, at work), and be sure to never leave the house without properly moisturizing.

3. Sun exposure

Prolonged exposure to dangerous UV rays can also strip your skin of essential moisture: skin feels dry and tight at best, and burnt at worst. You’re irritating your skin and putting yourself at risk for photoaging and skin cancer.

Your solution: You know the drill – protect with a broad spectrum SPF moisturizer from head to toe, making sure not to forget the neck, chest, hands, and feet (if they’re exposed). Re-apply often while you’re out and about.

Post sun, rehydrate from tip to toe with a highly emollient moisturizer.

4. Licking your lips

Without oil glands to help protect the thin, outer layer of skin, lips are easily prone to feeling dry and chapped. Licking your lips won’t do any good; enzymes in saliva can actually dry out and break down the skin’s outermost protective barrier as it evaporates.

Your solution: Stash every bag, car, drawer, bathroom countertop, and bedside table with your favorite lip balm.

5. Hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer and frequent hand-washing is a must. Unfortunately, keeping germ-free has its costs. Alcohol content in sanitizers can dry out your hands and make nails brittle, and most hand soaps can leave skin parched.

Your solution: Switch out your current soap for something milder. A gentle formula – like this one that’s designed with sensitive skin in mind – can thoroughly cleanse without drying out skin. After sanitizing or cleansing, rehydrate with a hand cream to restore and lock in moisture.

6. Hot water

We get it: few things feel better than a long, hot shower. But when it comes down to business, hot showers just aren’t good for you. It strips skin of natural protective oils, leaving it tight and dry. Couple hot water with winter air and indoor heating, and you’ll be left feeling uncomfortable and irritated.

Your solution: Resist the urge. Always shower with lukewarm water to help prevent drying out or exacerbating irritated, flaky skin. Keep your showers short – five to 10 minutes is all you need to thoroughly cleanse without overdrying skin – and be sure to moisturize from tip to toe immediately. Creams and body lotions are most effective when applied to damp, warm skin.

7. Bar soaps & high-lathering soaps

Bar soaps and high-lathering soaps often disrupt the pH levels of skin, stripping the skin of essential moisture and natural oils.

Read more about bar soap here.

Your solution: Skip the bar soap and instead, choose a cleanser designated for your skin type.  (Not sure where to start? Take a look at our ‘Cleanser Breakdown’ to help choose your perfect product!)

8. Smoking

There’s no doubt that smoking wreaks havoc on skin: the pollution breaks down Vitamin A (necessary for repairing damaged skin tissues), depletes collagen in skin, encourages premature aging, etc.

Your solution: Don’t smoke – or try quitting. If not for your health, do it for your skin.

9. Aging

Skin produces less oil as we get older; it’s a natural phenomenon to experience drier, thinner skin over time.

Your solution: Be diligent with your daily skin care regimen. At the crux of it all, moisturizing is the most important step in effective anti-aging care: invest in moisturizers, protective creams, night creams, and serums to help relieve dryness, smooth fine lines, and plump skin for a more radiant, youthful-looking complexion.

10. Irritants

Dry, irritated skin may be the result of direct contact with heavily-fragranced body products, perfumes, detergent, fabric softener, and other household products.

Your solution: A product clean-out might be just what you need. Re-evaluate your product (personal and household) labels and if necessary, swap them for milder, gentler, fragrance/detergent/chemical-free formulas.

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Author: Kimberly Yang

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that skin care is paramount, green tea is everything, and the Internet rules all (typical Gen-Y philosophy; if it wasn't 'grammed, it never happened). Also pertinent: writer, content creator, national sales director at Mario Badescu. For more about me, visit my Google+ page.

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