I know my skin gets dry when it feels tight and when it flakes, rough patches start to pop up on my chin and cheeks. The reuse of moisturizer will quickly happen after realizing this.
While I consider myself to be pretty good at identifying my dry skin symptoms, I sometimes have a harder time figuring out exactly what’s causing my dryness.
I know I’m not alone, so to learn more about dry skin in general and clarify the often-discussed causes behind it, I reached out to Tracy Evans, MD, MPH, dermatologist board certified and medical director of Pacific Skin. and Cosmetic Dermatology.
Dr. Evans told me: “Dry skin is caused by transepidermal water loss in the skin. In other words, water is escaping from the skin.
As Dr. Evans explains, this water loss can occur due to disruptions in the skin’s acidic layer or in the outermost layer of the skin – and various genetic and environmental factors can contribute to these symptoms. This disruption, then leads to dryness.
Here are a few things I asked her:
The aging process
Yes, the aging process can contribute to the development of dry skin. As we age, Dr. Evans said we have decreased hormones that keep skin elastic, as well as less natural oils. Sun damage over time can also contribute to this problem.
Sorry, I don’t want this to be true, but alas – Dr. Evans insists that long, burning hot showers are not good for your skin.
“Hot water causes the skin to strip away more oil and moisture,” says Dr. Evans. “The longer and hotter the bath or shower, the more aggravated this process becomes.”
Over-exfoliating with ingredients like salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, and beta hydroxy acids, can strip the outer layer of the skin’s moisture barrier, according to Dr. Evans. She further explains: “When the acid mantle breaks down, transepidermal water loss occurs and your skin becomes dry, dull, and inflamed.
That’s right, you can really blame heaters and even cold winter weather for dry patches on your skin. “Dry air also causes an increase in transepidermal water loss through the skin’s natural moisture barrier,” I say.
Remember, because there are many different causes behind dry skin (these are just a few I asked Dr. Evans!), you should contact your dermatologist for help determining the cause. cause behind your dry skin symptoms.
The good news is that there are things we can all do to help prevent problems as we head into winter – Dr. Evans particularly recommends using gentle cleansers, creams containing ceramides, and acid-based serums. hyaluronic acid to re-hydrate the skin.