Winter is fast approaching and so is the dry skin season. Cold weather and drier air means skin prone to dryness will become even worse.
Dry skin is a result of chronic subclinical (i.e. invisible to the naked eye) inflammation. Cells become shriveled and constricted, causing uncomfortable and unsightly skin that probably has one or more of the following characteristics:
- Tightness (especially after bathing)
- Flaking, scaling, or peeling
- Rough and dehydrated appearance
Knowing the causes of dry skin is the first step in preventing or treating dry skin. The worst offender causing dry skin in the winter? Low humidity levels. The less humidity in the air, the less moisture there is for your skin to absorb.
Dry skin is most prevalent in winter because typically, temperatures drop and so do humidity levels, and the dryness created by the weather outside is often exacerbated by the conditions indoors. Central heating and space heaters strip moisture from the air and therefore from your skin.
And those hot showers or baths that feel so good on a cold winter morning? They do more harm than the temporary comfort is worth. Hot water breaks down the lipid barriers in your skin, exposing it to the elements. The same goes for frequent swimming in chlorinated pools.
Other factors that contribute to dry skin include:
- Anti-bacterial soaps
- Shampoos containing alkyl sulfates
- Sun exposure
Prevention and Treatment
When dry skin goes untreated, it can sometimes lead to serious complications. Eczema is the most common complication, a skin disorder that causes excessive dryness, redness, cracking, and inflammation. But it is also possible to develop folliculitis, an inflammation of the hair follicles, and cellulitis, a bacterial infection of the skin’s underlying tissues.
Preventing and treating dry skin is a three tier process that includes anti-inflammatory foods, anti-inflammatory antioxidant supplements, like the Health and Weight Management, and topical anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
Eating anti-inflammatory foods will begin the process of treating your dry skin from the inside. The intake of healthy fats like those in extra virgin olive oil, fish, flax seed oil, avocado, and dark leafy greens can help decrease inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory antioxidant supplements can also help treat dry skin from the inside. Alpha lipoic acid dietary supplements will help combat dry skin by maintaining and enhancing cell’s metabolic function. Omega 3 supplements can also improve dry skin while simultaneously providing health benefits like elevated mood, cardiovascular health, and weight loss.
Alpha lipoic acids are also key in topical treatment. Alpha lipoic acids used in topical treatments, like those found in Perricone MD Nutritive Cleanser, are antioxidants that help to smooth surface imperfections and minimize pores. They also boost healthy cell function and improve skin’s radiance.