I know my skin is dry when it feels tight and when flaky, rough patches start popping up on my chin and cheeks. A re-up of moisturizer quickly follows this realization.
While I consider myself pretty skilled at identifying my dry skin symptoms, I sometimes have a harder time figuring out exactly what’s causing my dryness.
I know I’m not alone, so to learn more about dry skin in general and get clarification on frequently discussed causes behind the issue, I reached out to Tracy Evans, MD, MPH, a board-certified dermatologist and medical director of Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology.
“Dry skin is due to transepidermal water loss in the skin,” Dr. Evans told me. In other words, the water is escaping the skin.
As Dr. Evans explained, this water loss can occur because of a disruption in the acid mantle of the skin or in the outermost layer of the skin — and many different genetic and environmental factors can contribute toward these disruptions that then lead to dryness.
Here are a few I asked her about:
The Aging Process
Yes, the aging process can contribute toward the development of dryness. As we age, Dr. Evans said we have decreases in hormones that keep our skin elastic, as well as fewer natural oils. Sun damage over time can contribute toward the issue as well.
Ugh, I did not want this one to be true, but alas — Dr. Evans confirmed that long, scalding hot showers aren’t great for your skin.
“Hot water causes more oil and moisture to be removed from the skin,” Dr. Evans said. “The longer the bath or shower and the hotter, the more this process is exacerbated.”
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