Your skin is the first thing that a person sees when they meet you. It is something that most people work hard to keep looking young and beautiful. Unfortunately, there are times when it may seem like your skin is fighting against you.
Whether it is the skin on your face or other areas of the body, the skin can, at times, become tight and itchy feeling. This can be a frustrating and bothersome predicament. Fortunately, there are methods for healing this problem and allowing your skin to feel as good as it looks.
One of the biggest causes of your skin feeling tight and itchy is dry skin. You see, the skin is supposed to be hydrated and supple. This allows it to move and stretch as you move and stretch. When the skin gets dry, it makes it more difficult for the skin to move with you.
If your skin cannot move easily with you because it is dry, it can feel like it is too tight. You may even feel like you are pulling your skin every time you move, smile, or even blink, depending on the area that is having the problem.
This dryness can also cause the skin to feel itchy. The itchiness could be due to the pulling and tension of the skin. It could even be caused by dry skin flaking and causing irritation. This itchiness can be quite distressing. However, it is important to resist the urge to scratch too much. This can damage the already dry skin.
Causes of Dry Skin
There are a variety of reasons why your skin feels dry. If your skin has always been this way, it could be simply a matter of genetics. Some people are born with dry skin or skin that produces less sebum. Sebum is the oily or waxy substance produced by the skin to keep it moist and pliable.
If dry skin seems to be a problem you had your entire life or even seems like your entire family has dry skin, then you may be predisposed to lower production of this moisturizing oil. Conversely, those with oily skin may actually produce excessive amounts of sebum, but even those with oily skin may suffer from dry skin on occasion.
If your tight, itchy skin is a new development, there may be other causes at play. One could be that your skin is dehydrated. This may be due to not getting enough water in your diet or even changes in your hormones or skin that have caused it to not hold water as it previously did.
Dry skin can also come from changes in the weather. During the winter, the air is quite dry and gets dryer as the temperatures drop. This can deplete the water in the skin. Even coming in from the cold and dealing with the home's furnace can also play a role in drying out the skin.
It doesn't have to be cold to have dry skin though. Skin can become dry in the summer months as well. Spending too much time in the sun can dry and even damage the skin. Even the harsh chemicals in swimming pools can leach the moisture from your skin causing it to dry out.
Harsh detergents or soaps can even be the culprit when dealing with dry skin. Allergies to certain materials or chemicals that you have been in contact with can cause the skin to dry. There are even a variety of health issues and infections that can create serious issues with the health of your skin.
Identifying the Cause of Dry Skin
The first step to treating dry skin is to identify the cause of the problem. In general, most dry skin can be treated in the same manner. However, it the issue is caused by a health issue, infection, or even an allergy, treating the underlying cause may be necessary for finding relief.
Conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis can often be the main source of dry skin. For best results in treating these conditions, it is recommended that you see a dermatologist. A dermatologist can provide medications and ointments that can ease the symptoms of these conditions.
Some infections can also cause severe dry skin. Athletes foot is caused by a fungal infection. This can cause the skin, especially around the toes and feet, to become dry, tight, and itchy. It can even cause the skin to flake off, break, or peel. A doctor or dermatologist can provide treatments for these types of infections.
Allergies can also be a cause of dry skin. If the tight, itchy skin started soon after you tried a new soap, laundry detergent, or other product that you put on or near your skin, you may be allergic to it. If removing the new product from your daily routine gets rid of the problem, then you may have an allergy and should not use that product again.
How to Treat Dry Skin
The first step in treating dry skin is to properly clean your skin. Gentle soaps and cleansers can be very beneficial in cleaning the skin without drying it more. Soaps that contain no dyes or fragrances, such as hypoallergenic products, can be best for preventing further drying. There are products available that do not interfere with the skin barrier that may be a good option to try.
The next step is to moisturize. It is important to moisturize as soon as you finish bathing. Pat your skin with a dry towel and then apply the moisturizer directly to the damp skin. This will help seal in the moisture and protect the skin from drying further.
Creams and ointments are often a better option than lotions for moisturizing. This is because they are heavier and will stay on your skin longer. They also contain soothing oils that can help alleviate any irritation caused by dry skin.
When searching for the right moisturizer, it is best to stick with a few types of ingredients that can help keep the skin moist and protect it from drying. These ingredients include:
Another method for helping treat dry skin is to maintain a healthy diet. Your skin cannot heal itself if it does not have the tools it needs to do so. A healthy, vitamin-rich diet is important to maintaining healthy skin. It is also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
If these steps do not help to relieve many of the symptoms of dry skin, there may be other issues at work causing your problem. It cannot hurt to make an appointment with a dermatologist. A dermatologist can examine your skin and even run tests if necessary to find the root cause and treatment for your dry skin.
Preventing Dry Skin
There are many things in your daily life that will dry out your skin. Treating dry skin is only half the battle. Although the cleansers and moisturizers go a long way in helping to restore your skin, there are still steps that should be taken to prevent further issues.
Changing the way you bathe is important for preventing dry skin. Keeping your showers short and not too hot can go a long way in reducing the drying process. Water, especially hot water, can strip the moisture out of your skin. The longer you are in the hot water, the more moisture and oils are removed from your skin.
As soon as you get out of the shower, pat dry and moisturize. You should also moisturize every time you wash your hands. Even if you are just using a hand sanitizer, put on a protective coating of your favorite moisturizer to keep the skin from drying out.
The winter is often very harsh on your skin. It is important that you protect your skin at all times. When going out, cover your skin as much as possible to prevent the dry air from leaching moisture from your skin. Wearing a face mask and a lip balm can prevent the cold air from drying and cracking your skin.
When indoors, keep your distance from the heat source. Although it may feel nice sitting by the fireplace in the winter, it can really dry out your skin and increase your dry skin symptoms. Even space heaters and heat vents can be harmful to your skin.
A humidifier can be your friend during these cold winter months. Setting the humidity in the house to about 60 percent can ensure your skin stays moist and supple. You may also want to avoid certain clothing options, such as wool. These materials can be irritating and pull moisture out of your skin.
In the summer months, you may think the humidity protects your skin from drying out. Although this is somewhat true, you are more likely to be in the sun. Always wear sunscreen when planning to be in the sun for more than 15 minutes. The harsh rays of the sun can dry and damage your skin.
Swimming is another fun experience during the summer months. That chlorinated water can really damage your skin. When exiting the pool, make sure you shower and moisturize. This removes any remaining chlorine and provides the protection needed to keep your skin healthy.
It is also important to protect your hands and feet. These areas can get really dry throughout the day. Always wear dry socks or gloves. Keep extra pairs with you when there is a possibility of being in the rain or snow.
When doing housework or other hands-on activities, wear gloves. Latex gloves can provide great protection for your hands when doing dishes or other cleaning tasks around the home. It can also help to prevent any chemicals from getting on the skin and drying it out.
By following these tips and paying attention to your skin, you can prevent and treat dry skin. Not only will this help to eliminate tight, itchy skin, it can also help to keep the skin looking and feeling young and healthy.