Aging and Dry Skin: What’s REALLY the Problem?

Aging and Dry Skin What's REALLY the ProblemThe causes of dry skin vary widely. Dry skin can be temporary and seasonal, or more serious and in need of immediate medical attention. Dry skin also tends to become more frequent as you get older, thanks to the deterioration of oil glands and changing hormones. Because your skin also gets thinner with age, scratching dry, itchy patches can lead to bleeding and scarring, which is why it’s important not to let this skin condition go unaddressed.

Often, the cause of dry skin can be treated by simply applying a good moisturizer, but if you are suffering from an illness that causes dry skin, it may require a more specialized treatment method. The first step in healing dry, irritated skin is to know what’s causing it.

Here are a few of the most common culprits:

Diabetes: This disease can cause dry skin due to the poor circulation that the body receives, although it should be noted that diabetes, and the subsequent dry skin, can often be corrected by properly taking medication.

Diet: If you are lacking in vitamin A and vitamin D—the latter being ironic, since sun damage is one of the causes of dry skin—you should adjust your anti-aging nutrition plan or start taking appropriate supplements to add these essential vitamins to your diet, since a vitamin deficiency is one of the causes of dry skin.

Frequent hand washing: While it is recommended that you wash your hands often for health reasons, too much hand washing can dry out your hands because it strips away essential oils that keep skin supple. Using harsh soaps or cleansers is also one of the major causes of dry skin. Avoid it by moisturizing your hands after washing them to restore the lost moisture.

Aging and Dry Skin What's REALLY the ProblemHot showers: Unfortunately, those long, hot showers you enjoy every morning could be causing dry skin, since they also strip moisture from your skin. Being too vigorous about drying off with a towel is another cause of dry skin. Pat dry instead. It is recommended that you leave your skin slightly damp following a shower—your moisturizer absorbs better into damp skin, anyways.

Hypothyroidism: This is a disorder that causes your thyroid to produce too little of the thyroid hormone. It can cause dry skin by reducing the activity of your oil and sweat glands. This is a medical condition that requires professional attention and medication.

Irritants: Dry skin may be caused by something as simple as irritants in the fabric you wear, or the fabric softener and detergent you’re using. Perfumes in dryer sheets can also cause irritation, leading to dry skin.

Skin conditions: Dry skin may be an indication of a skin condition, like eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea. Symptoms of eczema are very dry, itchy, thick, and scaly patches most often found on the face, behind the knees, wrists, hands, and/or feet. In psoriasis patients, skin cells grow too quickly, resulting in a buildup of thick patches on the skin’s surface. The symptoms are usually moderate to severe rashes where the skin looks loose and scaly. Rosacea is more common in adults over 30 and is characterized by dry skin that stings or burns; redness on the nose, cheeks, and chin; and a bumpy skin texture. Eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea can all be treated with topical ointments or pills.

Smoking: The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke displaces the oxygen your skin needs to stay healthy. The toxin also reduces blood flow, which can lead to dry skin. This nasty habit is detrimental to anti-aging skin care because it depletes the nutrients that your body needs to repair and protect against further skin damage.

Sunburns: As if you didn’t need more of a reason to cover up and apply sunscreen when heading outside, sunburns are one of the leading causes of dry skin. Sunburns cause a breakdown in the connecting fibers of skin. It cannot be stressed enough that you need to wear sunscreen every day, with an SPF of at least 30. You should also be reapplying it every two hours.

Weather: Most people typically suffer from dry skin during the colder winter months because of the lack of humidity. Dry skin is also affected by going in and out between the cold outdoors and heated buildings. People who live in areas where the weather is excessively hot and arid often have dry skin as well because the air strips their skin of its natural moisture.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
“15 Ways Smoking Ruins Your Looks,” web site;, last accessed August 6, 2013.
“Psoriasis – Topic Overview,” WebMD web site;, last accessed August 6, 2013.
Rosacea – Topic Overview,” WebMD web site;, last accessed August 6, 2013.
“Skin Conditions and Eczema,” WebMD web site;, last accessed August 6, 2013.
“The Effects of Aging on Skin,” WebMD web site;, last accessed August 6, 2013.