What is dry skin and what causes it?

What causes dry skin? A number of things can cause this common affliction. Apart from having a genetic disposition to the condition, it's primarily external factors especially in the winter months that upset our skin's natural moisture balance and dry it out. NIVEA has a range of products dedicated to caring for dry skin.

Where does dry skin come from?

How can dry skin be avoided and treated?

What causes dry skin – the most frequent triggers

Treatment depends on what causes your dry skin:

  • Dry skin can be inherited or congenital. With this skin type, the production of sebum and moisture regulation are disrupted. This leads to symptoms such as scaliness, itching, redness and occasionally inflammation, made worse by external influences.
  • Cold, heat, wind and dry heated air can irritate and cause dry skin by removing moisture and attack natural protective barriers. This is why dry skin in winter is so prevalent.
  • Water removes moisture from the skin if temperatures are too high as well. For this reason, avoid long hot showers and baths to prevent dry skin including dry feet, and wash your hands in warm but not hot water to avoid dry hands.
  • Incorrect care can also cause dry skin. Alkaline soap-based shower gels damage the skin more than they benefit it. Use these products sparingly and choose re-hydrating cleansing products such as NIVEA In-Shower Body Moisturiser Nourishing that doesn't cause dry skin.
  • You can learn how to treat dry skin and more.

Dry skin from stress – when our protective barriers sound the alarm

Our skin can also suffer when we are stressed or under mental strain: nerves and hormones upset the body's moisture balance and oil production. This results in raw, dry areas, stressed skin, redness and irritation. Using the perfect moisturiser can help dry skin whether caused by stress or winter.

You can find the perfect moisturiser for your skin type here.

Even babies can suffer from dry skin

Nursing infants can have dry and sensitive skin because their protective barrier is not very strong. Moisturising your babies skin and looking out for rashes caused for dry skin will help treat dry skin.

Dry skin – what is going on under the surface?

Natural moisturising factor (NMF) is responsible for balancing the skin’s moisture levels, keeping this in balance is key to preventing dry skin. This mixture of various metabolic products, sweat and sebum absorbs the moisture and protects the skin from drying out.

When the natural moisturising factor is depleted, skin can become dehydrated, causing dry and flaky skin. Skin lipids play an crucial part in regulating the moisture balance. These lipids form a natural protective barrier and minimise water loss and reducing dry skin.

When the skin has a lack of these important lipids symptoms of dry skin such as tightness and redness can occur. Finally, there is also dry skin that suffers from both too low a moisturising factor and from a lack of lipids. The individual severity of redness, irritation or flakiness in dry skin depends on the particular skin structure.

Skin moisture – responsible for beauty and well-being

Why moisture is important for preventing dry skin

Moisture is the most important prerequisite for beautiful, smooth and healthy skin. Skin can only perform its task as a protective barrier for the body properly if it has sufficient moisture content.

The skin’s outer layer, the epidermis, is covered with a fine film of water and lipids. This keeps the skin smooth and prevents fungi and bacteria from penetrating. 

The skin is also unable to naturally regenerate without moisture, as the messenger substances for building new skin cells cannot reach the areas where they are needed without water. 

Moisture is particularly important for maintaining the elasticity of our skin. Without water, every small movement would tear the skin. 

More hints and tips about achieving beautiful skin are here.

Sufficient liquids – the best care for your skin

To ensure that your body is always supplied well with moisture, you should drink at least 1.3–1.5 litres of water or unsweetened tea a day to address the majority of causes of dry skin to address the majority of causes of dry skin.

  • Dry skin needs special care and attention to care for it. The NIVEA Repair & Care moisturising products have been developed especially for very dry skin and contain valuable dexpanthenol.
  • Dexpanthenol is the precursor of vitamin B5, and is also described as the queen of skin vitamins. This substance strengthens the natural protective barriers of dry skin and restores its balance: It encourages the production of new cells and helps existing ones to regenerate themselves. 
  • Dexpanthenol actively works against redness in the skin, the perfect antidote to dry skin.  
  • After just a few applications, dry and cracked areas are regenerated more effectively. Irritations are soothed and the skin feels smooth again.