What affects your skin?
The environment in which we live, the conditions our skin is exposed to, and certain medical conditions may all affect our skin in one way or another.
Dealing with skin irritants
Some factors that can affect your skin might be beyond your control (e.g. age or the environment), but there are some ways you can help limit their impact.
You might have an idea of what’s caused your skin to dry out or feel irritated, so as well as keeping your skin hydrated you can try to avoid any triggers that further irritate your skin.
At other times, however, you may not be sure what’s causing the problem. In these instances, you’ll need to consult your doctor on how to manage symptoms as they occur, which may include maintaining a good skincare routine to help improve your skin.
Inside your home
There are some simple changes you might be able to make around your home which can help you avoid household irritants.
- Hoover it up: try to vacuum your carpets, soft furnishings and curtains regularly to remove potential irritants which could aggravate your skin
- Hardy hands: when cleaning or washing up, you could try wearing gloves to protect your hands from harsh chemicals
- Stay comfy: some people like to wear natural, breathable fabrics (e.g. cotton) so there’s less chance their skin gets irritated
- Pet protection: if you have a pet, try and keep them out of your bedroom, wash their bedding often and wash your hands after you’ve touched them as animal dander can contribute to skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis
Some people find their dry skin is worse in the winter. This is because outdoor humidity is lower in the winter months, which reduces the moisture in your skin’s stratum corneum and weakens its natural protection barrier.
When it’s cold outside, it’s easy to reach for thick woolly layers and turn the heating up – but all of these things can potentially irritate your skin.
- Keep it up: Keep applying an emollient to your skin throughout winter, you may even require more emollient in the winter than the summer
- Hot and cold: Try keeping your house at a slightly cooler, constant temperature. Moving indoors from the cold outside and vice versa may also be a trigger for dry skin. Dress in natural, breathable fabrics like 100% cotton as wool and synthetic fibres may irritate the skin
- Watch out for your hands: try to prevent your hands from drying out by applying hand cream after washing them and topping up several times throughout the day
- Don’t forget your lips: lips may need extra attention, so try applying a lip balm several times throughout the day to help prevent them drying out
This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health-related matters, always consult your healthcare professional.