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Articles in skin symptoms, disorders, infections: Blackheads (comedones) Chemical burn Cyanosis Diaper rash Dry skin (xerosis) Epicanthal folds Frostbite treatment Intertrigo Itching Oily skin Petechiae and purpura Skin blushing\flushing Skin rashes Skin turgor Stretch marks Sunburn Swelling Pressure ulcer (bad Sores, decubitus ulcers) Wrinkles Acanthosis nigricans Age spots Bullous pemphigoid Eczema Ectodermal dysplasia Erythema multiforme Freckles Granuloma annulare Ichthyosis vulgaris Impetigo Lichen planus Lichen simplex chronicus Liver spots Pemphigus vulgaris Pityriasis rubra pilaris Pityriasis alba Pityriasis rosea Cellulitis Creeping eruption Cutaneous anthrax Cutaneous candidiasis Ecthyma Erysipelas Folliculitis Molluscum contagiosum Necrotizing fasciitis Perichondritis Paronychia Ringworm Scalded skin syndrome Scrofula Skin abscess Sporotrichosis

What causes dry skin?

Dry skin is caused by a lack of moisture. This is most common during the winter months, when heating systems dry the air. Bathing with hot water, spending extended periods of time in the hot sun, and the skin's natural aging process also remove

moisture and oils from the skin.

In healthy skin the sebaceous glands release an oily substance called sebum, which keeps the skin moist, supple and waterproof. Sebum, together with other natural oils, known as lipids, and natural moisturising factors (NMFs), form a barrier known as the hydro-lipid system. This barrier acts to keep 'foreign substances' out of our bodies and keeps water inside the body for as long as possible. In dry skin this barrier is no longer intact so the skin suffers from increased moisture loss. Dry skin becomes particularly prevalent as we get older, as our bodies don't produce these natural oils so effectively. Babies and young children are also often susceptible to dry skin because the oil producing glands haven't developed properly.

Whilst some people have an inherited predisposition to dry skin, there are also a number of external factors which can contribute. These are more harmful in skin which is already dry and where the hydro-lipid barrier system is impaired. Dry, cold and windy weather can cause the skin to peel, flake and thicken, as can the sun. Central heating, air conditioning, poor ventilation, chemicals, detergents, soap and solvents can all play a part in causing dry skin. Excessive contact with water also reduces the skin's natural moisturizing factors.

As people get older, the number of sebaceous glands that give out a type of oil in the skin are reduced, as is the skin's ability to hold moisture. It appears both the skin's ability to hold water and how well it protects the body, depend on the amount of fat the outer layer of skin contains. This outer layer is known as the epidermis. Genes also play a role. If relatives suffer from dry skin, you are more likely to develop the condition. In extreme cases, fish-like scaling of the skin is sometimes seen (ichthyosis). Over-use of soap and water, a dry, warm indoor climate, excessive sunbathing and other environmental effects have a great influence on how dry the skin can become.

More information on dry skin (xerosis)

What is dry skin? - Dry skin has a low level of sebum and can be prone to sensitivity. The skin has a parched look caused by its inability to retain moisture.
What causes dry skin? - Dry skin is caused by a lack of moisture. Dry, cold and windy weather can cause the skin to peel, flake and thicken, as can the sun.
What is the treatment for dry skin? - The treatment for dry skin is to return moisture to the skin. The best time to moisturize is right after a shower or bath.
Dry skin care - One of the best and most effective things you can do to help dry skin is to moisturize your dry skin. Moisturizers are a very important part of dermatology. 
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Recommended skin care products

ClearSkin Skin Wash
Natural skin wash with herbal ingredients for skin health and nourishment. A 100% natural, safe and proven herbal wash that cleanses skin thoroughly without drying or flaking.

Age-defense Active Day Cream
Age-defense active day cream contains ingredients specially chosen for their ability to reverse the visible signs of aging skin. Your skin will become softer, smoother and younger-looking!

Deep Active Cleansing Mask
Deep active cleansing mask is specially formulated for all skin types and gives your skin an extra deep cleansing treatment to remove toxins. Your skin will feel fresh and glowing.

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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005