Dry Skin: 4 Little Known Culprits

Do you struggle with skin that is dry, tight, flaky, dull, or aging prematurely? Your dry skin could be genetic, but there might be other factors dehydrating your skin that are within your control. Along with a good skincare routine and regular moisturizing, see if you need to eliminate any of the skin-parching environmental factors on this list. 

Photo Credit: Webmd

Soaps & Detergents

Harsh soaps and body washes could be damaging your skin. Read ingredients carefully and choose gentle products without harsh ingredients or added fragrances. Your laundry soap could be turning your clothes, sheets, and towels into irritants as well; choose laundry detergents that are free of fragrances and bleach and skip the fabric softener. If you wash your face every night, you might want to clean it in the morning with plain water and skip cleanser altogether.

Your Water

Two types of water will dry out your skin prematurely: hard water and hot water. It's easy to control the temperature of your water; avoid steamy hot showers and baths, and wash your face and hands with lukewarm water, too. Controlling the hardness of your water is a little more complex. Hard water is water that contains minerals like lead, zinc, and magnesium, which can clog your pores and stop moisture from reaching your skin.

To test your supply, fill a bottle with tap water and a few drops of liquid soap. Put a cap on the bottle and shake it. If you see suds right away, your water is soft. If not, keep adding a few drops more soap. The more soap you have to add to make suds, the harder your water. You can soften your water by installing a water softening system. 

Your Indoor Air Quality

If the air in your home is overly dry or polluted, it will impact your skin. Make sure you change the air filter on your HVAC system every month and open the windows whenever possible to let stale indoor air escape. If your air is very dry, you'll know it because your hair and sweaters will be crackling with static electricity and your nasal passages will probably feel dry, as well as your skin and hair. Dry indoor air is easy to resolve with a humidifier, which will not only ease your dry skin but help preserve your home's wood trim and furnishings as well.

Medical Issues

Certain illnesses and medications will dry out your skin. If you suffer from diabetes or hypothyroidism and your skin is becoming very dry, check with your doctor to make sure your condition is under control. Antibiotic and antiviral medications can also cause dry skin, especially if you are taking them for a long period of time. 

Dry skin can be uncomfortably tight and itchy, and develops wrinkles and dullness faster than moist skin. Some skin dryness is normal, especially as you get older. But you can take action against environmental and medical factors that are contributing to dry skin.