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Healthy Skin Newsletter, Issue #005 -- Feature Article: The Causes of Dry Skin
August 28, 2006

Issue No. 5 September 2006

Healthy Skin Newsletter – Information on skin problems and skin care.
If you like this newsletter and know someone that may benefit from this information, please feel free to pass it along. If this newsletter was passed to you and you find the information useful, please subscribe by clicking here. Issue No. 5, September 2006


  • What’s New at
  • Feature Article – The Causes of Dry Skin
  • In the News
  • Skin Care Tip of the Month
  • Question of the Month
  • Product of the Month


Several new pages have been added. For example, there are new pages dealing with suntanning, dandruff (under the skin problems tab), and insect bites. Also, pages dealing with vitamin e and vitamin d and their role in skin care have been added to the healthy food for skin care tab. To access these pages go to and select the appropriate tab.

New submissions from readers with dermatographism have been posted at

The dermatographism diary has been updated. To access it, visit

Missed an issue of the Healthy Skin Newsletter? Visit the back issues page. To access this page you can visit the following URL: and click on the back issues link.

FEATURE ARTICLE - The Causes of Dry Skin

As the summer season ends for many of us, a common skin problem begins to surface. Dry skin is this problem. This article focuses on the causes of dry skin.

There are many dry skin causes, but what exactly has happened to your skin for it to be in this unhealthy condition?

Skin contains oil glands (sebaceous glands) that release oil (sebum). There are also other oils or fats (lipids) at work in the skin. The role of the sebum and these other oils is to keep skin moisture at its proper level (about 30%), so that the skin is supple and resilient. Basically, the oils form an excellent barrier and prevent water from inside the skin cells from escaping. Water is not soluble in oil and therefore it has difficulty penetrating the fatty layer. An added benefit of these oils is that they create a barrier to external contaminants from entering the body.

Dry skin means that these essential oils and fats have been stripped away from the skin matrix, which means among other things moisture or water loss in the skin.

There are a number of reasons why skin becomes dry. Sources of the problem can vary widely. Below is a list of dry skin causes.

Inherited or Genetic Factors

  • some individuals are genetically predisposed to this problem
  • specifically they may not be able to produce enough oils as is necessary or their skin may simply be more sensitive to damage


  • as a person gets older (especially over 40 years old) there is a natural decrease in the body’s ability to maintain the proper production of oils and fats and this is one of the main dry skin causes
  • there is a loss of sweat and oil glands
  • the skin thins, making it more vulnerable to drying and damage
  • babies don’t have properly developed oil glands and therefore they are also more vulnerable to dry skin

Work or Other Activities

  • any occupation that requires frequent hand washing will dry out skin
  • activities such as gardening are problematic because the soil is abrasive and can dry out the hands
  • construction or agricultural work, and some types of office work promote dry skin
  • constant frictional irritation will dry out skin
  • excessive air-travel because the air in airplanes is very dry is a dry skin cause

Frequent Washing or Swimming

  • excessive bathing especially in hot water with harsh soaps strips away natural skin oils and is one of the main dry skin causes
  • frequent swimming in chlorinated water also removes essential skin oils and is a cause for dry skin

Repeated Contact with Chemicals

  • harsh soaps or antibacterial soaps, detergents, household cleaning products, rubbing alcohol, and solvents are all good oil strippers from the skin and are common dry skin causes
  • products containing fragrances (and certain cosmetics) and lauryl sulfates can lead to skin dryness
  • overuse of perfumes or antiperspirants

Poor Diet

  • vitamin A and the B vitamins promote healthy skin; a deficiency in these vitamins will lead to skin dryness and other skin problems
  • a zinc deficiency will reduce the metabolic breakdown of fatty acids and vitamin A which are essential for good skin health
  • a fat deficiency (such as not enough omega-3 fatty acids) is a problem because this means that there is not enough fat content in the skin matrix to prevent water loss


  • dehydration caused by diarrhea, vomiting, high fever, excessive sweating, or not enough daily water drinking can dehydrate the body and skin

Caffeine, Alcohol, and Drugs

  • drugs such as diuretics, antispasmodics, and antihistamines can dry out the skin


  • causes changes in the elasticity of the skin
  • some studies have shown that the skin of smokers contains less water content


  • cool windy weather with low humidity, too much sun exposure, or hot and dry climates all can dry out the skin quickly

Central Heating and Air Conditioning

  • forced air furnaces, wood-burning stoves, and electric heaters all dry out the air
  • poor household ventilation can also lead to dry skin

Thyroid Disorders

  • can lead to reduce activity of sweat and oil glands

Skin Diseases

  • allergic reactions of the skin, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, seborrhoea, and diabetes are all dry skin causes; these conditions manifest themselves partly as dry skin


Staph skin infections are on the rise in the U.S. This is caused by the Staphylococcus group of bacteria. Many years ago, this germ was rare, however the drug-resistant germ now appears to be responsible for more than half of all skin infections treated in U.S. emergency rooms. This is according to researchers currently documenting the bacteria's surprising spread in the general population.

Physicians and their patients should be more aware that this type of infection is progressively spreading outside of the hospital and nursing home environments.

The danger is that such infections are difficult to treat since the bacteria is resistant to many drugs. However, the good news is that the strain of the bacteria found outside of the hospital environment is a little easier to treat, as long as it is properly diagnosed.


Before trying a skin care product, you should determine your skin type.

Problem skin can be divided into various categories. Determining which skin type your skin matches is an important step in proper and healthy skin care. For example, you do not want to pursue a skin care regiment or use skin care products for oily skin if you have dry skin. In addition, if you have sensitive skin, then you need to pay closer attention to the type of products being used on your skin to avoid possible allergic skin reactions.

Skin has its own set of characteristics that are very useful in the identification of the actual skin type. For more information, visit .


Are chemical peels useful in treating acne?

A chemical peel is a skin treatment that involves the use of fruit acids, such as alpha-hydroxy acids, to remove thin layers of skin. As a result of this process, new healthier skin forms to replace the skin that was stripped away. Whether a peel is mild or more aggressive depends on the strength of the soluton and the length of time applied.

This is a common treatment used in the anti-aging of skin. However, chemical peels assist in drying-out acne and improve skin blemishes. These treatments are often used in association with topical acne medications.


Drenched Moisturizer

Drenched is a dry skin moisturizer that is gentle enough for your face, but strong enough to use from your head to your toes…yes, it’s true.

The use of a moisturizer is essential in preventing dry skin and helping skin return to its normal hydrated state. However, not all moisturizers were created equal. Drenched moisturizer contains several key ingredients that make it a very effective moisturizer for dry skin. Restore your skin to its soft, smooth, and healthy look. Using Drenched dry skin moisturizer is a way of preventing your skin from becoming dry and is an essential tool in effective healthy skin care.

For more information about this dry skin moisturizer and an ingredient list, please visit .

Comments? Feedback? Ideas for future Feature Articles or Questions of the Month? would love to hear from you. Simply reply to this e-zine and tell us what you think!

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