Xerosis is the medical term used to describe very dry skin, which affects a lot of people, especially during the dry and cold winter months. It happens when your skin lacks moisture in its outer layer.
According to the American Skin Association, xerosis occurs due to the combination of low humidity levels and cold temperatures sucking the moisture out of your skin during the winter months. Additionally, the use of heaters and air ventilation during the winter can further dehydrate your skin .
Some of the other causes of xerosis include use of harsh soaps, overly long showers or baths, extended sun exposure, poor diet, dehydration and swimming frequently in chlorinated pools. It can also be a side effect of aging, diabetes and some medications.
While xerosis is a temporary problem, it may cause a lot of discomfort. Symptoms of xerosis include red, irritated or inflamed skin that’s scaly, rough and itchy or painful.
If left untreated, it can lead to more serious problems like bleeding, cracked and scaly skin. Also, it may lead to atopic dermatitis (eczema) or infections.
In most cases, xerosis responds well to lifestyle measures and home remedies. Home treatment for xerosis is aimed at relieving your symptoms and keeping the skin moisturized.
Note: See your doctor immediately if your skin is oozing, large areas of your skin are peeling and there are ring-shaped rashes.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for xerosis.
Coconut oil is a popular and effective remedy for xerosis. It contains ample amounts of fatty acids that can compensate for any loss of moisture from the skin.
It also has vitamin E that helps retain moisture in your skin.
A study published in Dermatitis in 2004 found coconut oil as effective and safe as mineral oil when used as a moisturizer .
Another study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology in 2016 reports that long-chain saturated fatty acids found naturally in coconut oil aid in skin barrier functions, eicosanoid production, membrane fluidity and cell signaling .
Again, in a recent 2018 study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, experts highlight the anti-inflammatory and skin-protective benefits of virgin coconut oil and give the green light for the use of this oil in skin care formulations .
Honey serves as a natural moisturizer and is loaded with antioxidant, antimicrobial and humectant properties. All these properties make honey a good remedy to fight skin dryness.
It helps lock in moisture to alleviate dryness and make your skin extra soft.
In a 2012 review published in AYU, researchers found honey to be beneficial for many types of skin diseases, including skin dryness .
Oatmeal is another natural ingredient that can help treat dry skin. It is a natural cleansing and exfoliating agent that helps combat dryness by removing dead skin cells.
Also, the protein in it helps prevent water loss and keeps the skin moisturized. It also helps soothe itchy and irritated skin.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology reports that colloidal oatmeal contains a number of components that bind to the skin to provide a protective barrier against skin dryness .
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology reports that the active colloidal oatmeal moisturizer helps a lot in reducing skin dryness .
To fight skin dryness, aloe vera is just the right ingredient.
Being a great natural moisturizer, it keeps the skin well-hydrated and enhances its elasticity. It also helps restore the pH balance of the skin. Plus, it does not give your skin a greasy look.
A 2003 study published in the American Journal of Infection Control reports that aloe vera gel may help provide relief from dry skin .
A 2006 study published in Skin Research and Technology reports that freeze-dried aloe vera extract is effective at improving skin hydration, possibly through a humectant mechanism. Consequently, it may be used in cosmetic products and also as a complement in the treatment of dry skin .
To nourish dry skin, avocado is also very beneficial. It helps soften and hydrate dry skin. The fatty acids in it easily penetrate deep into the skin to make up for any loss of moisture.
The high vitamin A and E content in it help in skin maintenance and repair to restore smooth and silky skin.
A 2018 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences reports that avocado oil is an excellent source of enrichment for dry, damaged or chapped skin .
At the same time, do not forget to include avocados in your diet.
Milk cream is another great natural ingredient that helps fight skin dryness. It quickly gets absorbed into the skin pores and keeps it moisturized for longer periods of time.
It also contains lactic acid, which helps exfoliate the skin to get rid of dry, dead skin cells. It additionally helps protect the skin’s fragile pH levels.
To deal with xerosis, glycerin is very effective.
Being a humectant, it attracts water or moisture from outside the skin and draws it in. Also, it is an emollient, which means it helps hold all that moisture in by forming a protective layer over the skin. This in turn keeps it well-moisturized.
A 2002 study found that a cream containing glycerin seemed to be a suitable alternative to a cream containing urea and sodium chloride in the treatment of atopic dry skin .
You can also use pure glycerin soap.
You can use apple cider vinegar both internally and externally to get relief from xerosis symptoms. It helps balance the skin’s pH level to relieve dry skin.
Plus, it helps the body get rid of toxins, which is important for healthy skin.
No matter how relaxing and soothing it can be to enjoy a hot bath, you must avoid it completely if you are suffering from xerosis. In fact, long hot baths can be the reason behind extremely dry skin.
The heat from hot baths can cause your skin to dry out, which leads to dryness and itchiness. So, the solution here is to use cool water or lukewarm water for your bath or shower. At the same time, limit the duration of your bath or shower, as extended time can strip the moisture from your skin.
To help your skin retain moisture while bathing, you can add some moisturizing products to the water. Also, after taking a short bath or shower, don’t rub your skin with a towel. Pat yourself dry instead, then rub some olive, coconut or almond oil into your skin while you are still damp but not wet.
When humidity remains low, your skin is more prone to dryness. This problem is more common during the winter months as central heating systems force hot air throughout the home, which in turn dries out the indoor air.
So, to add moisture to the air and help your skin retain moisture, use a humidifier.
A humidifier will help keep the temperature of your room at a comfortable level that is not too warm or too cold. Try to maintain a humidity level between 45 and 55 percent to stop your skin from drying out.
You can buy a commercial humidifier from the market. Another option is to keep a bowl of water in each room to help increase the moisture in the air. No matter what you decide to use, keep it clean to prevent mold growth.
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