More than skin deep

The skin is the body’s outer covering and functions as a protection from heat, infection, injury, and harmful ultraviolet rays. The skin also regulates body temperature and stores water, fat, and vitamin D.

The skin has two main layers, namely:

1. Outer Epidermis – the outer layer of the skin mostly made up of flat, scale-like cells called squamous cells. The deepest part of the epidermis contains melanocytes and these cells produce melanin that gives the skin its color.

2. Inner Dermis – this inner layer of the skin contains blood and lymph vessels, hair follicles, and glands. The glands produce sweat as part of regulating body temperature. It also produces serum, which is an oily substance that keeps the skin from drying out. When the sweat and serum reach the skin’s surface through tiny openings called pores. When these pores are blocked, congested with dirt, or become infected, skin breakouts occur. Skin breakouts may come in the form of acne, pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, congested pores, and cysts.

Preventing or controlling oily skin is a must for every woman, or person for that matter. Excess oil can block the skin pores and result in more breakouts. Skin care experts may opt to prescribe certain medications like oral or injected steroids, iodides and bromides to control excessive oil production. Certain jobs, usually those that involve working in the field or in hot environments, also contribute to skin problems. The unsanitary work environment prevents a person from maintaining skin cleanliness.

Extremely dry skin occurs when there’s no or very little sebum produced by the skin cause by various factors like genetics or the environment. The most effective way to treat severe dry skin is moisturizing immediately after showering.

Causes of dry skin

Dry skin can occur to anyone. But some risks could increase your chances of developing dry skin, including:

  • Age: As you age, your pores naturally produce less oil, increasing your risk of developing dry skin.
  • Medically and genetically: You’re more likely to develop eczema or allergic contact dermatitis if you have a history of these conditions or other allergic diseases in your family.
  • Changes in seasons: Dry skin is more common during the fall and winter months, when humidity levels are relatively low. In the summer, higher levels of humidity help stop your skin from drying out.
  • Bathing and showering habits: Taking frequent baths or washing with very hot water increases your risk of dry skin.

Relieving dry skin

  • When taking a bath: Use warm rather than hot water.
  • Apply moisturizer or serum immediately after washing.
  • Use an ointment or cream rather than a lotion.
  • Wear lip balm.
  • Use gentle skincare products.
  • Use a humidifier in your home.
  • Drink plenty of water.