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What Happens When Your Skin Is Really Dry?

By Kristeen Cherney ; Updated July 18, 2017

Proper hydration is the key to balancing naturally occurring oils in your skin. Dryness can occasionally occur even if you don’t normally have dry skin. Signs of dry skin vary depending on its severity. Preventing excess dryness is important, but some cases require more than the moisturizer you have in your medicine cabinet.

Dry Patches From Lack of Moisture

Often the first sign of dry skin presents itself in the form of dry, rough patches along otherwise healthy-looking skin. The surface of your skin can also appear scaly with white patches. Dry skin patches occur when moisture is removed from the skin. Cleansing more than twice a day, as well as the over use of harsh chemicals are among the causes. Dry skin patches can also occur when you don’t use the right moisturizer tailored for your skin type.

Peeling Dry Skin

The epidermis, or outer layer of your skin, sheds about once a month as your skin cells cycle. This event is normal and often unnoticeable. When the epidermis of the skin is extremely dry and damaged, it can peel off prematurely in flakes. Skin damaged by excessive sun exposure and chemical peels can also cause your skin to peel off in layers. Unfortunately, you can’t prevent peeling after your skin is damaged. You can, however, apply ample moisturizer to protect your skin from further dryness.

Redness and Swelling

Dry skin accompanied by redness and swelling usually indicates more than just lack of moisture. With such symptoms, you may experience scales and cracks within red and irritated skin that worsen over time. The patches are prone to bleeding and infection. Using a petroleum-based moisturizer can act as a barrier to prevent further skin damage. However, you should consider seeing a dermatologist for further treatment.

Seasonal Dry Skin

Winter can mean more than bitter cold, especially when it comes to your skin. Dry air and low humidity are characteristics of the winter months, both of which are among the most common causes of dry skin. This makes your skin lose moisture at a rapid rate. Other winter habits like heaters and hot water accentuate the damage. Even oily skin may be susceptible to seasonal dryness. The best way to combat this problem is to use a thick moisturizer during the winter. If you have dry skin, use a thick cream to seal in moisture. Combination and oily skin may also benefit from a thick lotion, rather than an oil-controlling version.

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