Dry skin can be caused by the weather, more time indoors, high blood pressure, or medications. You’ll notice fine lines first. As dryness continues you may experience itching and flaky skin. Our relatively humid climate protects us most of the year, but when blue northers blast in, higher winds and reduced humidity creates a dryer environment. We crank up the heat, further drying out the air in our homes and then scurry in to avoid the cold. We pour ourselves a nice cup of hot coffee or tea, enjoying the warmth and caffeine bump.
High blood pressure could also be causing dry skin. When it becomes more difficult for the blood to supply oxygen to the skin, the skin dries out. As blood pressure creeps up, skin may simultaneously be drying out, causing the skin to show wrinkling. High blood pressure should be treated to avoid heart disease and strokes. However, the medicine prescribed may contribute to skin drying.
Diuretics the first medicine usually prescribed increases the amount of fluid filtered by the kidneys, reducing the blood volume. When there is less water, the skin dries. Drinking more water to hydrate the skin may diminish the effectiveness of the diuretic. Statins used to treat high cholesterol makes the skin more porous, allowing more water to escape. Retinoids such as Accutane and topical medications used to treat acne also dry the skin by reducing oil as do antihistamines.
Reduce skin dryness by shortening bath or shower time, using a non-soap product to cleanse the skin, using warm instead of hot water for bathing, reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption, and applying a skin penetrating moisturizer immediately following a bath or shower.
Nancy Pride owns Morgan Fitzgerald’s and Merle Norman located at 3800 S. Texas Avenue, Bryan, one-mile north of University Drive. 979 268 0608, www.fitzyou.com.