Are you experiencing dry patches on your face? It could be the weather, a change in diet, or something else. Find out what causes dry, flaky skin patches and how to best control them.
Why do Dry Skin Patches Appear on the Face?
Many people suffer from dry skin (xerosis). Patches of dry facial skin can happen no matter what your skin type. You don’t have to be prone to dry skin to develop them.
Here are several reasons you might notice these rough, scaly patches of skin on your face.
Changes in the weather, especially weather that brings dry air, can strip moisture from the skin, leaving you with dry, flaky patches. This is because more water evaporates from the surface of your skin, which dries that top layer out.
But scaly, dry skin patches aren’t just limited to winter weather. Summer living – like too much sun, chlorine, saltwater, or air conditioning – can also dry out the skin.
In fact, exposure to UV radiation can lead to actinic keratosis – a crusty, scaly growth. This growth could be dangerous if left ignored, so do talk to your dermatologist.
Irritants can range from new skin care products to harsh soaps, or just over-cleansing in general.
These irritants could be fragrances, chemicals or abrasive ingredients used in any product that touches your skin. But they could also be ingredients that your own skin type doesn’t agree with. A friend might be able to use the very same product with no reaction.
Washing your face too often can also strip moisture, no matter what product you use.
Dehydrated skin can occur if you’re not using a good moisturizer. But it can also occur from using the wrong skin care products, or from not drinking enough water.
How much water should you consume each day? Generally speaking, four to six cups a day works for most people. But if you’re heavily exercising, or it’s a hot day, you’ll need a little more.
A lack of certain vitamins and minerals may cause dry patches on the skin – especially vitamins A and D. So make sure that you’re eating a well-balanced diet. If you’ve recently changed your diet dramatically, especially in a way that limits certain foods, this could be an issue.
As you age, your skin naturally produces less oil. Now, if you have naturally oily skin, that may sound like a great thing. But less natural oils in the skin can lead to dryness on the face.
Stress is a major trigger for certain dry skin conditions. Which can worsen if your body is run down or stressed. If you know you’re susceptible to a dry skin condition, try to keep your stress in check. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to do this.
Sometimes, fungal infections can cause dry, scaly patches. Creams, lotions, and even shampoo are often used to treat fungal infections on the skin. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist if you suspect that you may have this problem.1-5
What are the Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis?
Allergic contact dermatitis is exactly what it sounds like – an allergic reaction from coming in contact with an irritant. And dry skin patches could be the result.
Irritated skin on the face is most often caused by a skin care-based irritant.
But things you come into contact with, in your environment, can also contribute to contact dermatitis on the face.
For example, if you touched a plant or animal and then touched your face you could’ve triggered allergic contact dermatitis.
Most often, the symptoms of contact dermatitis won’t show up immediately. It may take a few hours. If you’re trying to find the cause, think about the bigger picture of your day.
Symptoms of contact dermatitis include:
- Itchy skin
- Skin rashes or redness
- Dry, flaky skin patches
- A burning or stinging sensation
- Crusty, scaly skin blisters that may ooze liquid6
Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
Now, atopic dermatitis is different from contact dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition that often stays with someone for life. It’s commonly passed through families and goes hand-in-hand with other allergies. But, eczema can usually be well managed and many people can avoid flare-ups for years.7
Patches of dry, itchy skin anywhere on the body are a hallmark of this eczema. Speak to your dermatologist if you think you may have this type of dermatitis.
How does Aloe Vera Help Manage Dry Skin?
Aloe vera is a natural moisturizer bursting with skin-nourishing antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins (A and C) – and salicylic acid. It’s also very calming to irritated skin. But aloe is particularly great for dry skin, as those enzymes act as a kind of subtle exfoliator.
Then there’s the fact that aloe is an excellent moisturizer which can help ward off dry skin patches.
But like everything in life, moderation is key. Overuse of aloe vera can actually cause dryness – just as with the overuse of any exfoliating product.8
How Might Salicylic Acid Help Relieve Dry and Itchy Skin?
Salicylic acid has become a very popular remedy for dry, flaky skin. But why is everyone falling head over heels for this acid?
Well, salicylic acid is a natural keratolytic substance. This means that it can soften and exfoliate the dry top layer of dead skin cells.
It’s also able to break apart the connections between cells, further helping them to be sloughed away.
As a BHA (or Beta Hydroxy Acid), salicylic acid is both gentle and effective and can be used daily by most people. However, it’s not advised that you use it on any form of dermatitis. A basic oil like coconut oil is a far better choice.9
Dry Patches on Face: There’s a Solution
Dry skin on the face can be especially frustrating, as your face is often what others notice first.
If you’re suffering from dry patches on the face, and still unsure as to why, do talk to your dermatologist about the dryness.
Meanwhile, always use a high-quality moisturizer. A good choice for many people is one that contains hyaluronic acid – a super ingredient that can retain over 1,000 times its weight in water.10
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