Sunday, December 18, 2016
Just like any other part of your body, your skin needs to be looked after too. It’s this outer layer that protects your body against the elements, continuously working to keep you healthy. However, this can take its toll causing the skin to dry out. In the UK, around 47% of the population are thought to suffer from a dry skin condition, but only around 28% of these people are aware of the issue and are seeking the right treatment for their skin to resolve dry skin concerns.
Part of this could be that many people aren’t actually aware of what constitutes as dry skin or that if left untreated, it could become a more serious skin condition. Creating more awareness and education surrounding dry skin and the most effective treatments is key to tackling the problem.
When you think of dry skin, you may only think of extreme cases such as eczema or psoriasis. However, other forms of skin dermatitis are very common and can have less severe and obvious symptoms. Whatever kind of dry skin condition you have, be it chronic eczema or small patches of dry skin, these should all be treated accordingly. Skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis can have very severe symptoms and have a drastic effect on a person’s self-confidence, esteem, and general well-being.
Dry skin can happen for various reasons and can develop at any time. Some people are naturally born with dry skin, making them more susceptible to dry skin conditions, Due to this, they will need to use a more intense, oil rich moisturiser to keep it feeling smooth and supple. However, this isn’t always the case, so you should be able to recognise when you have a dry skin condition to seek the right treatment. If your skin begins to feel tight, itchy, dry and in some cases red and inflamed, this is a sign that you might have a dry skin problem. These symptoms can appear in isolated areas in patches on the body or be an overall feeling of dry, flaky skin.
With all dry skin conditions, certain triggers can cause flare-ups, although some conditions such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema show evidence that there is a hereditary link.
However, these dry skin conditions can also be triggered by allergens such as pet fur, pollen, and foods, environmental factors like the weather, as well as stress and hormonal changes.
Some will show severe symptoms with large red, flaky and itchy skin patches, whilst others can display milder symptoms periodically or as a one off allergic reaction.
One of the major factors that can cause dry skin conditions is the weather, with many dry skin conditions appearing or worsening in the colder months. The decreasing temperatures and drier air can cause the skin to severely dry out, so you need to make sure you give your skin extra moisture.
Also, the use of heavily perfumed or alcohol based soaps, cosmetics and detergents can have a big effect on the moisture levels of our skin, stripping them of their natural oils that keep the skin soft and smooth. If you have particularly dry or sensitive skin, take care with the products that your skin comes in contact with.
Whatever symptoms you’re showing, the good news is that there is a wide assortment of treatments for various dry skin conditions available to help you manage your condition.
One of the more common treatments are emollients, which are oil based ointments, lotions, creams and gels that are applied onto the skin to seal in the moisture with a protective layer. These come in various forms and concentrations with ointments having the highest concentration of oil for use on extremely dry skin, to bath lotions and soaps for milder cases.
In addition to emollients, you can also speak to your doctor or pharmacist about topical corticosteroids. These can also be applied to the skin as ointments, gels or creams to help reduce the inflammation, soreness and relieve itching.
For more extreme skin conditions such as psoriasis, there are also phototherapy treatments available that use ultraviolet light on the skin, as well as stronger oral and injected medicinal solutions that treat the whole body.
If you think you’re suffering from any kind of dry skin condition, it’s worth seeking medical advice from a doctor, practice nurse or pharmacist. They can help you identify the problem and triggers and give you the best possible treatment for managing it.