Several factors can cause dry skin. For many people, it’s a genetic roll of the dice. Some are predisposed to the condition, while others inherit sensitivities that can cause an allergic reaction. But anyone can develop dry skin on occasion (with the exception of Aquaman, for obvious reasons.)
Sufferers can develop dry patches of skin anywhere on their body, but the most common locations are the arms, legs, and hands. Since we all can’t be Aquaman, it’s worth identifying where dry skin comes from and how we can prevent it from impacting our lives.
Who’s Most at Risk?
If you’re genetically predisposed, you’re likely to find dry patches of skin on occasion no matter what you do, though you can work to limit them. Other groups that tend to have problems are:
- People that live in cold areas or places with low humidity.
- Older individuals — your risk goes up at 40 and continues to climb as you age.
- People whose parents suffer from allergies.
- Professionals like nurses or dishwashers — careers that require you to soak your hands in water frequently.
- People that spend a lot of time in the pool — again Aquaman not included.
What Are The Most Common Causes of Dry Skin?
Dry patches of skin, characterized by scaling, itching, or cracking, have environmental, seasonal, chemical, genetic, and physiological causes. You know what? Let’s throw in behavioral drivers, too, because the situation doesn’t seem bleak enough. There’s a chance you’ll face an attack of dry skin if:
- You’re sensitive to some of the harsh chemicals found in many soaps, shampoos, and skincare products.
- You or your parents suffer from allergies.
- You bathe in very hot water or take frequent or extended showers or baths.
- It’s the fall or winter when temperatures and humidity drop.
- The air in your home is hot and dry — often caused by overzealous climate control.
Got It. Being Human Causes Dry Skin. So How Do I Treat It?
If you can become a demigod from the island of Atlantis, do that (can you believe how much value we squeezed from this Aquaman bit?!) If that’s out of the question, try these simple interventions:
- Use a moisturizing cream for dry skin that’s free of fragrances, dyes, and other harsh chemicals.
- Bathe in lukewarm water and limit the duration and frequency. Pat dry instead of rubbing patches of dry skin. Apply moisturizer immediately after toweling off to trap moisture.
- Switch out your chemical-heavy soaps and shampoos for a hypoallergenic body wash for dry skin.
- Use a humidifier to add extra humidity into the air.
- In cold weather conditions, cover as much skin as possible. Suit up with gloves, scarves, hats, and facemasks if you have them.
- Wear rubber gloves if you have to immerse your hands in water frequently.
If these don’t help, or if your situation worsens, see your doctor. They may recommend over-the-counter or prescription ointments to help drive moisture back into your angry skin. There’s hope for dry skin. All it takes is determination, quality skincare products, and a lifetime membership in the Justice League. Aquaman for the win!