Is the AC ruining your skin?

Is the AC ruining your skin?

SAVE YOUR SKIN As much as possible, stay out of the sun.  The sun is responsible for most of the damage done to the skin.  GETTY IMAGES

Dry skin has a low level of sebum and is prone to sensitivity.  The skin has a parched look caused by its inability to retain moisture.  It usually feels ‘tight’ and uncomfortable after washing unless some type of moisturiser or skin cream is applied. Chapping and cracking are signs of extremely dry, dehydrated skin. 

 Signs and symptoms of dry skin depend on age, health status, locality, the amount of time spent outdoors and the cause of the problem.  Dry skin most commonly affects the lower legs, arms, flanks (sides of the abdomen) and thighs.  

If you have dry skin, you’re likely to experience one or more of the following:

- A feeling of skin tightness, especially after showering, bathing or swimming
- Skin that appears shrunken or dehydrated
- Skin that feels and looks rough rather than smooth
-Itching (pruritus) that sometimes may be intense
-Slight to severe flaking, scaling or peeling
- Fine lines or cracks
- Redness
- Deep fissures that may bleed in severe cases
 
Dryness is exacerbated by wind, extremes of temperature and air-conditioning, all of which cause the skin to flake, chap and feel tight.  This type of skin is tightly drawn over the bones. It looks dull, especially on the cheeks and around the eyes.  There may be tiny expression lines on these spots and at the comers of the mouth.  Although anyone can develop dry skin, you may be more likely to develop the condition if you are older than 65, live in dry, cold or low-humidity climates or shower frequently.   
 
Causes of dry skin

-The oil glands do not supply enough lubrication to the skin.  As a result, the skin becomes dehydrated.  

- In general, skin is very dry in winter, when temperatures and humidity levels plummet.  Winter also tends to make many existing skin conditions worse.    

-Dry skin could be due to a genetic condition.  

-Nutritional deficiencies, especially deficiencies of vitamin A, can also contribute to dry skin.  

-Environmental factors such as exposure to sun, wind, cold, chemicals, or cosmetics, or excessive bathing with harsh soaps.  

-Conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, or seborrhea cause dry skin.  

-Dry skin could be a sign of diabetes, or it could be caused by certain drugs including diuretics, antispasmodics, antihistamines, etc.

-Central air and heating, wood-burning stoves, space heaters and fireplaces all reduce humidity and dry the skin.  

-Many soaps and detergents strip lipids and water from skin.  Deodorants and antibacterial soaps are usually the most damaging, as are many shampoos, which dry out the scalp.  

-Like all types of heat, the sun dries the skin. Sun-damaged skin may have the appearance of dry skin.

-Hypothyroidism reduces the activity of the sweat glands, leading to rough, dry skin.  
Remedies

-Dry skin needs plenty of thorough but gentle cleansing, regular stimulation with massage and generous quantities of oil and moisture.  It also needs extra careful protection.    

- Avoid contact with highly alkaline soaps and detergents like washing sodas and powders, which contain highly alkaline and drying ingredients.  

- If your lips chap, peel or crack, then the best remedy is to massage them with a little milk cream or malai to which a few drops of rose water and lime juice have been added.    
- If skin is chapped or cracked, increase consumption of water and essential fatty acids.  Keep the chapped areas well lubricated and protected from the elements.  

- Do not smoke.  Smoking has a harmful effect on the skin for several reasons.  Nicotine constricts the blood vessels, including the tiny capillaries that serve the skin.  This deprives the skin of the oxygen and the nutrients it needs for good health.  Smoking also can make the skin dry and leathery.  

- As much as possible, stay out of the sun.  The sun is responsible for most of the damage done to the skin.  It causes dryness, wrinkles, and even rashes and blisters. 
Always apply a good sunscreen to all exposed areas of skin if you must be in the sun.

-Eat a balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds and nuts.  Eat quality protein from vegetable sources.  Increase your intake of raw foods.  Avoid fried foods, animal fats and heat-processed vegetable oils.   

-Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day to keep the skin well hydrated.   

- Avoid alcohol and caffeine.  These substances have a diuretic effect, causing the body and skin cells to lose fluids and essential minerals.  

-Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from the skin.  Limit your bath or shower time to about 15 minutes or less, and use warm, rather than hot, water.   

-After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on the skin.  Immediately moisturise your skin with an oil or cream to help trap water in the surface cells.  

-Follow up a bath or a shower with a mild application of baby oil.  Moistening with water and then applying a thin film of air-excluding moisturiser restores the suppleness of the dry skin.  

-Natural fibres such as cotton and silk allow your skin to breathe.  But wool, although it certainly qualifies as natural, can irritate even normal skin. When you wash your clothes, try to use detergents without dyes or perfumes, both of which can irritate your skin.  

A good rule of thumb is that your skin should feel soft and smooth after cleansing, never tight or dry.  If these measures don’t relieve your symptoms or if the symptoms worsen, see your doctor or consult a dermatologist. 

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