Dry, itchy or sensitive skin
Dry skin is surprisingly common.
Dry, Itchy or sensitive skin is common, its causes can be numerous and varied.
Some may include:
- Medical conditions like eczema and dermatitis
- Age (babies and more mature adults are particularly vulnerable)
- Certain medications
- Genetic factors
- Issues with one’s immune system
- Environmental conditions (e.g. sun, wind, heat or cold)
- Contact with certain irritants (e.g. detergents, solvents, chemicals)
- Some skincare products and cosmetics
- Low humidity levels during winter time
Skin problems are often linked to the skin not performing its essential protective function.
The main problem lies on the epidermis.
In normal skin, cells migrate from the deeper (inner) layers to the outer layers of the skin. As they progress they “keratinise” and actually die. Ironically this is what makes the cells water proof or at the very least help slow water evaporation from the skin’s surface into the outer environment.
|These cells are laid down systematically (see diagram 1) so that the barrier function is in-tact, and they retain the body’s and skin’s moisture, keeping it soft and supple.|
|In compromised skin, where dry, cracked and itchy skin is a problem, the cells integrity is not maintained, with the barrier function not being systematically laid down. (see diagram 2).
This allows water and other moisturisers to escape, with the skin drying, becoming itchy and sometimes cracking. The problem is compounded when harsh soaps strip the skin’s natural oils, allowing moisturising, protective lipids to be stripped away.