Are you suffering from dry skin? Some of us are born with a tendency toward dryer skin, but there are also a number of environmental factors that can contribute to the problem. If your skin is dry, tight, itchy, flaky, or developing tiny lines, you might want to find the source of the problem so you can spend less time slathering moisturizer on your skin. Here are some of the top culprits that can dry out skin.
Image via Flickr by karolinamis
Scientists are now in agreement that the sun’s rays are the cause of most of your skin’s signs of aging and damage, including dryness. The sun’s ultraviolet radiation “cooks” the collagen and elastin that make youthful skin vibrant and smooth. Protect yourself with daily sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat, and by staying out of the sun whenever possible. Lasers and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) administered by a board-certified dermatologist can reverse some signs of sun damage.
If you’re taking antihistamines, anticholinergics, diuretics, chemo drugs, or tamoxifen, among others, your medication could be robbing your skin of moisture. Of course, you shouldn’t stop taking the medications you need. But you might want to switch to a richer moisturizer and protect your skin from sun exposure while you’re taking the meds. If you are on a long-term medication that’s causing severe dryness, talk to your doctor about trying an alternative.
Poor Air Quality
Your indoor air quality can have a big impact on your skin. Indoor air that is dry or full of pollutants can disrupt your skin’s moisture balance. To improve your indoor air quality, stock your home with houseplants, change your HVAC filters often, and consider using a humidifier or whole-house air purifier as needed. Vacuum often with a HEPA-filter vacuum, wipe down dust with a damp cloth instead of stirring it up with a dry one, and switch to natural indoor cleaners instead of using products that contain chemicals that are bad for you and your skin.
Can water cause dry skin? It may seem counterintuitive, but the answer is yes. If you use very hot water in the shower or bath, you could be drying out your skin. Swimming is also a culprit, as both chlorine and salt are very drying. Protect your skin by bathing or washing your face and hands in water that is warm, not hot. Shower thoroughly immediately after swimming, and apply lotion as necessary.
All alcohol is drying to the skin. The alcohol you drink could be leaving your skin less firm and plump, and if you drink alcohol regularly, the effects can be long-lasting. You may also be applying alcohol to your skin if you use hand sanitizers, cleansing wipes, or alcohol-based toners. Switch to alcohol-free products and avoid drinking alcohol if you want your skin to look its best.
If you’re struggling with dry, tight, itchy, or flaky skin, consider your environment. Are you taking medications, drinking alcohol, or exposing your skin to poor-quality air or overheated water? Eliminating these environmental factors could help tremendously in your battle against dry skin.