Life on dry land requires the presence of a barrier to water loss to prevent complete dehydration. In humans, this barrier is the skin, or more specifically the top layer of the skin called the stratum corneum (SC).
The skin not only helps control the movement of water into and out of the body, but it also presents a physical barrier to harmful external chemicals and germs. That is why keeping your skin well hydrated and healthy is essential.
Why your skin dries out
Unfortunately, our skin is subjected to environmental factors that dry it out every day such as:
- Cold, dry, windy climates
- UV sun rays
- Frequent and/or long hot baths and showers
- Conventional soaps and detergents
- Dry heat from fires and heaters
A lack of water in your SC will lead to dry skin which can be roughened, flaky or scaly skin that may even be itchy. As the dryness worsens, the skin may lose its flexibility and become ‘tight’ and cracked, and more susceptible to irritation and/or infection.
Top tips to soothe and protect your facial and body skin
Luckily, you can prevent and relieve everyday dry skin by following a few simple recommendations:
- Apply sunscreen daily, especially when going outdoors
- Take short baths or showers with warm – not hot – water
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in the home
- Wear cotton or soft fabrics against your skin to prevent irritation
- Stay hydrated by drinking eight glasses of water daily
- Moisturising your skin is essential for maintaining its appearance, water content and barrier function. Moisturise both your facial and body’s skin daily with a dependable moisturiser that hydrates and protects your skin, particularly in winter when you may need to invest in a more intense moisturiser. For maximum effect, moisturisers should be applied within three minutes of getting out of the bath or shower.
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