What is Dry Skin?
These lectures are not meant to replace your physician and are simply provided as a free educational service to all our visitors. If you feel that you have a skin problem, please see your doctor.
A frequent problem which brings a patient to a dermatologist is dry skin. Often, the tendency toward dry skin in inherited. It is also frequently noted that an individual with an inherited tendency for dry skin may not be affected until environmental conditions, aging changes, improper bathing techniques or nutritional problems stress the skin.
When a sponge is soaked in water, it can easily be bent without cracking. A dry sponge, on the other hand is brittle and will crack if you attempt to bend it. When a sponge has dried out, even if it is coated with the best grease made, it is still dry and brittle on the inside. But if you coat a wet sponge with a grease, it will continue to hold water and remain supple!
Skin is very much like that sponge. When it is moist, it is supple and can be easily bent without cracking. But when skin loses its moisture, it shrinks, and like the sponge, becomes dry and cracks readily on bending.
In the process of bathing, hot water and soap take oil off the surface of the skin. It is that surface oil which holds in the natural moisture. In a short period of time after bathing, the skin will lose its moisture to the air in the room. This moisture is lost more rapidly from skin where rooms are dry due to low relative humidity. Forced hot air heat in winter and the dehumidifying effect of an air conditioner in summer make the air in many homes as dry as a desert!
Older people who make less protective skin oil and young children who do not as yet have active oil gland function until adolescence are often troubled by the condition.
The treatment of dry skin is chronic and requires an excellent, emollient moisturizer, such as LactiCare Lotion. It provides for both removal of dry rough skin as well as moisturizing lotion that minimizes the development of continued dryness. LactiCare Lotion should be part of your regime used to battle the chronic problem of dry skin.
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