Why is dry skin itchy?

If you suffer from dry skin, you have no doubt experienced tightness, itching, and an urge to scratch. This is normal; it’s a warning sign. Your epidermis is trying to tell you that it needs hydration.
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Dry skin and the hydrolipidic film

Dry skin is caused by a lack of lipids in the epidermis, but the number one factor is the breakdown of the hydrolipidic film, a protective film on the skin’s surface, which can no longer fulfill its barrier function. Comprised of sebum and water, this film is very fragile and is subject to repeated aggressions from a variety of sources: harsh cleansing products, hard or overly hot water, the sun, cold weather, wind, pollution, etc. If damaged, the film is no longer able to protect the skin. As a result, the water found in the epidermis evaporates, causing the skin to become dehydrated. Thus, a vicious circle begins: skin is both dry and dehydrated and, therefore, more sensitive to external aggressions which cause irritation. Skin feels tight and itchy… These symptoms should not be ignored, as they indicate a defense mechanism: something is disrupting the skin’s nerve endings, triggering a warning signal. 

How can you stop your skin from itching?

To avoid discomfort, prevention is better than treatment. Skin hydration and nourishment are thus a must and can be achieved by using, right from the shower, skin care that is rich in hydrating and nourishing agents. Your daily hydration routine should also include a selection of adapted cosmetics: creams, balms or oils... any texture will do, so long as the formula is extra hydrating and, if possible, specially developed for dry skin. Of course, skin care can only do so much, so avoid exposing your skin to too many aggressions such as chlorine, cold temperatures or the sun (especially without protection). 

How to relieve itching once it has started

Unfortunately, we have yet to discover a miracle cure to provide instant relief to your skin once itching begins. The only solution is to rehydrate your skin by taking care of it as soon as possible with suitable products. As a first treatment against itchy skin, you can use soothing and anti-irritating skin care products that are perfectly adapted to dry, sensitive skin. 

But be careful. Skin dryness is not always the cause of itching. There are a number of possible causes: allergies, irritations, atopy or other chronic dermatoses. If in doubt, consult a healthcare professional.

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