What Defines Dry Skin?


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Dry skin type is a condition characterised by itching, scaling and cracking skin, especially at the juncture of seasonal change. It can be due to several health reasons or by birth. In some other cases, if your skin is oily, you too, can develop dry skin at times. Dry skin can happen in any body part.

But it is most common around the arms, legs, and hands. Most of the time, over-the-counter medications, skin products and dietary changes are sufficient to treat the condition. Below we discuss some of the symptoms, types and reasons for dry skin. What ingredients should you keep an eye out for when shopping for skin products to reduce dryness?

Causes of Dry Skin:

  • Old age
  • Side effects of medications
  • Vitamin deficiency, such as vitamin D
  • Chemotherapy
  • Anorexia
  • Diabetes, kidney disorder or thyroid disorder
  • Taking frequent baths or using too much hand sanitiser can cause dry skin
  • Taking your bath in very hot water can also cause skin dryness and itchiness

Symptoms of Dry Skin

  • Excessive itchiness
  • Peeling skin
  • Flakiness and roughness
  • Skin burns and stings
  • Infections

Ingredients for Dry Skin

If you suffer from general dryness that is not attributed to a skin or health disorder, you can use beauty products that are widely available in the market. When you are purchasing cream, lotions or moisturisers, make sure to spot one or all of these ingredients as the key features.

Shea butter

Shea butter is extracted from the oil of the shea tree native to Central America. Shea butter works like an emollient and coats rough skin with healthy oils. It softens dry skin and can even reduce skin swelling noticed with certain skin conditions like eczema.

Jojoba Oil

The oil and wax obtained from the jojoba shrub is extremely effective for moisturising dry and tough skin. You can apply the jojoba body oil directly or look for moisturisers that contain either natural ingredients or synthetic versions that are just as effective.


Glycerine obtained from plants is a humectant that draws hydration to the skin. Glycerine is easy to apply and spreads like butter easily. When added as an ingredient in skin care products, it moisturises the skin by drawing water from the atmosphere.

Salicylic Acid

People with dry skin should steer clear of cleansers containing alcohol which can strip the skin of moisture. It has a similar effect to sanitisers. Such cleansers will increase itchiness, soreness and flakiness. Look for moisturisers or creams with the ingredient salicylic acid that dissolves oil and dirt and maintains skin moisture at the same time.

Hyaluronic Acid

Another ingredient that is nowadays commonly found in skin care products is hyaluronic acid. It interacts with water to swell and maintain skin moisture. Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide found naturally occurring in the skin and hair.

Tips to Prevent Skin Dryness

  • Shower once a day
  • Avoid hot water when bathing
  • Use a moisturising soap or shower gel at the time of bathing
  • Pat your skin dry with a soft towel
  • Do not itch dry patches
  • Drink plenty of water or liquids throughout the day
  • Try using a humidifier in the room
  • Apply a moisturiser or body oil immediately after your bath
  • Sleep for 7 hours daily

Consume fruits high in water content like coconut water, watermelon and oranges


Skin dryness is a common skin type amongst men and women. Lack of proper skin care, dehydration, sleep deficiency, diet and too much bathing are factors that can aggravate dryness. If you find that using skin care products hasn’t solved your problem you should consult a dermatologist. You could be suffering from skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis, which will require prescription medication for resolution.