It happens when the fats that form the protective skin of the epidermis are reduced. The cells of the outermost layer become less cohesive and dehydration is aided
At least one in four people has to deal with dry skin, phenomenon that worsens with age and has a typical peak after the summer, thanks to the intense exposure to the sun, especially if the necessary precautions are not taken.
What are the “mechanisms” that make skin dry?
«Dry skin or cutaneous xerosis is nothing more than the consequence of aalteration of the barrier function of the skin due to a reduced or absent integrity of the hydrolipidic film, a thin film composed of water and lipids (fats, including ceramides) that lines the skin – Emanuela Passoni, medical director at the Dermatology Unit of the Irccs Policlinico di Milano -. When these lipids, for various reasons, are reduced and the cells of the most superficial layer of the skin are not well cohesive with each other, water loss is favored with consequent dehydration of the skin. The reduced integrity of the skin barrier also makes it easier for irritants to penetrate, complicating the picture. The result is dry skin that appears dull, dry, rough to the touch and has a tendency to crack and peel. Finally, the sensation of the skin that “pulls” is typical ».
What are the factors that favor skin dryness?
“Dry skin can be one constitutional feature linked to genetic factors, as happens for example in those suffering from atopic dermatitis. It is more common in old age, thanks to a gradual reduction in sebum production, and in women, especially after menopause. The decline in estrogen characteristic of this phase of women’s life has several effects on the skin, resulting in dryness, thinning, relaxation and hence the formation of deep wrinkles. But the skin barrier can also be damaged and made drier by external factors, for example, taking showers that are too hot or too long, using harsh detergents, lotions and perfumes, exposing yourself to too much sun (even more so if you do not use protective creams), having a diet low in essential nutritional elements or even smoking. Climatic factors too have a role: the cold and the reduced humidity favor the evaporation of the water present in the skin ».
What can be done to reduce dry skin?
«We must try to correct the tendency to dehydration and the reduction of skin lipids. The ideal is to use mild detergents, capable of removing impurities but without depleting the hydrolipidic film. After washing, it is useful to use a moisturizer or emollient, preferring products without preservatives, dyes and fragrances. The choice is wide: ranging from the latest moisturizers containing ceramides, to products based on emollient substances such as shea butter, vitamin “E” or containing substances that give tone to the skin such as collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin. It is also important to have a balanced and varied diet, rich in fruits and vegetables and beneficial fats such as those contained in fish, as well as drink a lot, especially if the air is very dry. «Other useful measures to reduce skin dryness are do not take showers or baths with too hot and prolonged wateri, use protective creams when exposed to the sun, avoid exfoliating treatments which risk making the skin even more dry, finally try to avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes in synthetic fabrics ».
October 23, 2021 (change October 23, 2021 | 16:16)
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