Photo credit: photostock/freedigitalphotos.net
Amazingly, medical journals only look at skin diseases, but have always overlooked the humble dry skin. It is however an extremely common problem that patients have. I was so happy when I found this article written by Dr Anneke Andriessen, a Consultant at UMC, St Radboud Nijmegen, Netherlands at the British Journal of Nursing, published in January 2013. That is an extremely comprehensive article, unfortunately not for public assess. So here are the causes:
1. Dry weather.
2. Central heating and air-conditioning.
3. Tight clothing.
4. Detergents, deodorant, soaps (especially anti-bacterial ones) that strip away the lipids and water from the skin.
5. Sun exposure.
7. Zinc, essential fatty acid and vitamin D deficiency.
8. Diseases such as hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels), kidney failure, diabetes, HIV, skin diseases and nerve problems that decrease sweating.
Here are the solutions:
1. Consider an air humidifier indoor.
2. Use gentle washers such as those that are suitable for babies.
3. Use moisturizers generously.
4. Take a healthy and balanced diet. Zinc is available in many food. Essential fatty acids are the omega-3 and omega-6 that are rich in fish, nuts and oil olive, amongst others. A study done last year found that low vitamin D levels is associated with dry skin, and using a moisturizer enriched with vitamin D improves the situation. Milk and salmon are rich sources of vitamin D, and we can also make our own under sunlight. However, lack of vitamin D is common, 90% in winter in Switzerland (expected), but is actually worse in Singapore, a country in the equator. Singaporeans mostly work indoor and avoid the hot sun whenever possible.