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What is dry skin and what causes it?

Where does dry skin come from?

Dry skin has lots of causes. Apart from having a genetic disposition to the condition, it is primarily external factors that upset our skin’s natural moisture balance and dry it out.

Where does dry skin come from?

What causes dry skin – the most frequent triggers

Treatment for dry skin depends on what is causing it:
  • Dry skin can be inherited or congenital. In this skin type, the production of sebum and moisture regulation are disrupted. This leads to scaliness, itching, redness and even inflammations that can be exacerbated further by external influences.
  • Cold, heat, wind and dry heated air can irritate the skin a lot. They remove its moisture and attack its natural protective barriers. The result can be seen primarily in the cooler seasons of the year.
  • Water also removes moisture content from the skin if temperatures are too high. For this reason, you should not take long hot showers and baths.
  • Often, incorrect care can also cause dry skin. Lots of toiletries, such as soap-based shower gels, damage the skin more than they benefit it. Use these products sparingly and choose rehydrating cleansing products such as NIVEA Natural Oil Shower Oil.
  • You can find out more about dry skin and how to look after it here.

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

Dry skin

Our skin suffers with us in times of stress and mental strain: our nerves and hormones upset the body’s moisture balance and oil production. This results in raw, dry areas, stressed skin, redness and irritation. You can find tips about achieving an inner balance here.

Even babies can suffer from dry skin

Dry Skin Baby

Nursing infants can have dry and sensitive skin because their protective barrier is not very strong.

Dry skin – what is going on under the surface?

On the one hand, the natural moisturising factor (NMF) is responsible for balancing the skin’s moisture levels. This mixture of various metabolic products, sweat and sebum absorbs the moisture and protects the skin from drying out. 

If the natural moisturising factor is too low, the skin dries out. 
On the other hand, the skin lipids play an important role in regulating the moisture balance. 

These lipids form a natural protective barrier and minimise water loss. If the skin has a lack of lipids, tightness and redness can quickly 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. 

 You can find out more about very dry skin and how to look after it here.

Skin moisture – responsible for beauty and well-being

Why moisture is so important for our 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. 

You can find more hints and tips about achieving beautiful skin here.

Sufficient liquids – the best care for your skin

Unsweetened tea

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.

  • Dry skin needs care that is specially adjusted to its needs. 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. 
  • After just a few applications, dry and cracked areas are regenerated more effectively. Irritations are soothed and the skin feels smooth again.