Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dry Skin: #1 Problem With Aging Skin

Although it may not be intentional, everyday we abuse our skin by partaking in daily rituals including showering, bathing, playing in the sunshine, smoking, drinking coffee, or simply enjoying the air conditioned living room. The environment that we live in takes tremendous toll on our skin and slowly it loses its natural ability to moisturize. Skin is our body’s first line of defense and protects us from infections, impacts and the environment as a whole but over time this begins to fail.

As we age our skin care needs begin to change and evolve. Dry skin is a wide spread problem however as we age this becomes much more prevalent. Contrary to popular belief the number one issue that immerges is not wrinkles or age spots, it is actually skin dryness. Ironically having healthy moisturized skin actually minimizes the appearance of wrinkles. As we age the layers of skin that we don’t see on the surface begin to thin, the oil glands become under productive, and the diminished lipid (fat) layer is no longer able to hold moisture. This all leads to dry, flaky, itchy, and sensitive skin.

Another unavoidable reason for the increase in dry skin is medications. As we age the probability that we will be on a prescribed medication increases, dry skin is the side affect of many. As well many health conditions are associated with skin dryness such Diabetes, high blood pressure, and many thyroid disorders.

To help alleviate dry skin try the following:

1. Try showering or bathing every second day when possible. Hot water strips the body of its natural oils so luke warm water is always recommended. Showers and baths should be limited to 10 minutes. Use cleansers sparingly, use them for your groin and an arm pit area, water is generally sufficient for the rest of your body. Leave your body damp and apply moisturizer to seal in the moisture.

2. Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, your body must be hydrated to work efficiently. Always increase your liquid consumption when doing physical activity or in environments that sap water from your body. Reduce or avoid alcohol, caffeine, and smoking, these all have a diuretic effect on the body.

3. Add a humidifier to your home or work environment. Air conditioners and central heating systems pull a large amount of moisture from the air, and a humidifier will help remedy this issue. There are many on the market today so finding one that fits your budget and your needs should be relatively straight forward.

4. Above all else moisturize, even if you don’t think you need to. Being proactive is always the best solution to any problem. It is recommended that a moisturizer of some kind be applied twice a day, and at bedtime is a must.

Moisturizing on a daily basis should be part of everyone’s skin care regime; however as we age it becomes must more imperative. As a population we focus on how our skin looks but it is important to remember that our skin is the body’s biggest organ and it has many important health protecting duties. Winning the battle against dry skin not only makes us look and feel fresh but it helps maintain skin integrity which is essential to our health.

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