Now the heating season in homes is in full swing and more and more people are faced with the problem of dry skin on the body. Today we will look at the reasons for this phenomenon and figure out how to protect it from drying out.
Causes of dry skin
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Our skin is designed in such a way that the transport of various substances through it is quite difficult. This is due to the presence of skin defense lines against bacteria, allergens and other irritating substances.
The first thing that protects us from harmful substances is the acidic mantle of the skin – a thin film on the surface of the skin, consisting of the secretion of the sebaceous and sweat glands.
Then the structure of the most superficial layer of the skin – the stratum corneum, like a brick wall, where the cells of corneocytes (horny scales) are “bricks”, and the lipid layer between the cells is “cement”.
Accordingly, such a barrier provides us with good protection from environmental factors and from increased moisture loss from the skin surface.
But, under certain conditions, the level of lipids (fats) of the stratum corneum may decrease in the skin. Consequently, the skin begins to cope worse with the barrier function and the evaporation of water from its surface increases, and the “gates” for allergens and bacteria are also opened. This condition is manifested by dryness, peeling, irritation and itching of the skin.
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Insufficiency of stratum corneum lipids can be caused by both internal and external factors.
- Insufficient intake of clean drinking water. Remember that the skin receives water from deep layers (dermis). In case of water deficiency, enzymes that help horny scales to exfoliate from the surface of the skin in time work worse.
Scales accumulate on the surface of the skin, and visually this is manifested by uneven peeling, dryness of the skin. Therefore, it is important to drink enough clean water.
- Malnutrition can lead to the development of deficiencies of macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates), vitamins, trace elements, and also affect the activity of the sebaceous glands.
- The presence of a deficiency of vitamins and minerals leads to metabolic disorders in the body, and in the skin in particular. Do not forget that nutrients enter the skin on a residual basis.
- Skin diseases in which the skin is dry (sebum deficient) initially. For example, atopic dermatitis.
- Diseases of the digestive system are accompanied by impaired absorption of nutrients, and pathologies of the endocrine and nervous systems can contribute to the disruption of the sebaceous glands.
- Diseases and impaired renal function can be accompanied by the accumulation of toxic metabolic products.
- Smoking – nicotine destroys hyaluronic acid, which, like a sponge, retains moisture in the skin.
- Dry air or prolonged exposure to air-conditioned rooms – stimulates the evaporation of water from the skin surface.
- Increased sun exposure, visiting a solarium, as well as other environmental factors: wind, frost, reduce moisture reserves in the skin.
- Improper skin care (aggressive skin cleansers).
- Frequent contact with detergents and water without gloves is detrimental to the skin of the hands – it destroys the acid mantle of the skin.
- Dry skin can be general, for example, with various diseases or vitamin deficiencies, or local, for example, dry skin of the hands in contact with water and detergents or dry skin of the face with improperly selected cosmetics.
How to deal with dry skin on the body?
First, you need to determine the causes of dryness and try to reduce their impact.
Rules to help prevent dry skin:
- Observe the drinking regime, use clean water (tea, juice, coffee and other drinks are not included in this list).
- Install a humidifier in the room where you are most of the time. It is also obligatory in the bedroom.
- Introduce foods rich in vitamins and fatty acids into the menu.
- Undergo examination and treat all diseases with specialized doctors. For chronic diseases – go into permanent remission.
Get tested for vitamin deficiencies (ideally), if this is not possible, then below I will tell you which vitamins, trace elements and dietary supplements will help fight dry skin safely for the body!
Do not forget that any medications (even vitamins) are a load on the detoxification system (liver), therefore I do not recommend taking large amounts of vitamins uncontrollably, only after consulting a doctor.
Help in the fight against dry skin:
- vitamin E (short course for 1 month);
- B vitamins (short course 1 month);
- omega-3 fatty acids (can be taken for a long time at 1000 mg per day, this dosage is considered basic and safe for humans).
These same vitamins and fatty acids can be obtained by increasing your intake of foods such as:
- sea fat fish (mackerel, tuna, salmon trout);
- flax and sunflower seeds;
- linseed, camelina and vegetable oils;
- Brussels sprouts;
- Pine nuts;
It is also necessary to choose a care cream that will maintain the acid mantle, restore lipid levels in the skin and moisturize.
Such body cosmetics contain the following ingredients:
- components of a natural moisturizing factor;
Emollients – these are substances that soften the skin, make it more pliable, and the stratum corneum retains moisture in the skin for a longer time. The essence of the work of emollients is to create an occlusive layer on the surface of the skin and thereby reduce the evaporation of water from the surface.
Emollients are not physiological and physiological. All modern, high-quality cosmetic products include physiological emollients – substances that are naturally present in the skin, for example, squalene, triglycerides, cholesterol. Separately, I will highlight ceramides.
Ceramides – These are lipids (fats) that are present in the lipid layer of the stratum corneum of the skin. Their content in healthy skin reaches 40% of all lipids in the skin.
Ceramides in the skin are a kind of emulsifiers, they do not allow the fats in the lipid layer of the stratum corneum to “clump” (they are responsible for the fluidity of fats in the skin and uniform distribution), and at the same time maintain the water balance in the skin.
For the normal synthesis of ceramides, omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids are necessary, therefore they are included in cosmetics to combat dry skin.
Body moisturizers can contain vitamins:
- Vitamin E or tocopherol is a fat-soluble vitamin. It has a powerful antioxidant effect and softens the skin, therefore it is found in cosmetics for dry skin.
- Nicotinic acid, B3 or niacinamide in cosmetics is often used to strengthen the skin’s barrier function. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps in renewing the top layer of the skin.
- Pantothenic acid, B5 or in cosmetics panthenol (a precursor of vitamin B5). After being applied to the skin, panthenol turns into pantothenic acid and promotes wound healing, skin hydration, therefore it is used in cosmetics for the care of dry, damaged, sensitive skin of children and adults.
- Vitamin F or a complex of essential fatty acids in cosmetics helps to restore the barrier function of the skin and reduce water loss. Makes the skin soft and elastic, eliminates the symptoms of dryness, tightness and flaking.
I recommend choosing professional or pharmacy brands (dermatocosmetics) for dry skin care. In particular, the Lipikar line from LaRoshe-Posay, Cerave, Atoverol proved to be excellent in my practical work.
And taking into account the variety of choice of cosmetics, you can always find working formulations to maintain the health of the skin of the body.
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