Dry Skin on Legs – Causes, Solutions & Tips
Struggling from dry and flaky limbs? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are few among us who haven’t dealt with the unsightly discomfort of dry skin on the legs at one point or another. Whether that’s meant navigating the slimy discomfort of negotiating a pair of tights over freshly moisturised legs in the winter, or covering up with strategically purchased floor length skirts in the summer; we’ve all been there. Fortunately; there are steps you can take to help keep the discomfort at bay.
Let’s take a look at some of the causes of dry skin on the legs and what you can do to get silky smooth stems all year round.
Causes of Dry Skin on the Legs
So, what causes the skin on the legs to become dry? As is true of all skin, there are a range of factors that contribute to dryness, some external and some internal. Fundamentally, dry skin is just what it sounds like, a lack of moisture in the skin. Unfortunately, dry skin begets dry skin. When the skin is depleted of the hydration it needs to function, the surface layers become disrupted. This disruption then interferes with the skin’s ability to hold onto moisture—a real-life scenario of chicken or the egg.
Here are some of the common causes of dry skin on the legs;
Ever notice that your skin seems to be worse during the winter months? A lack of humidity in the air can sap the moisture from the skin causing it to become dry and uncomfortable. Other environmental factors such as exposure to extreme temperatures or the sun’s UV rays can also have a damaging or drying effect on the skin.
- Prolonged exposure to hot water
Though it might seem counterintuitive, spending too much time in the water actually interferes with the skin’s ability to hold onto moisture because prolonged exposure to water can wash away the natural oils (sebum) it needs to stay healthy. This is especially true of very hot water.
As part of the natural ageing process, skin often becomes more prone to dryness.
- Skin Conditions
Certain skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema can lead to patches of dry itchy skin on the legs. These are often worsened by environmental factors like low humidity.
- Certain medical conditions
Medical conditions such as diabetes can be underlying causes of dry skin on the legs; however, if you suspect that this is the case, it’s important to seek the advice of a medical practitioner rather than trying to treat yourself.
How to prevent dry skin on the legs
Taking into account some of the key causes of dry skin can go a long way towards its prevention. Of course, there’s not much you can do about your age or an underlying medical condition, but there’s plenty of things that are within your control.
Be mindful of your environment and make sure to protect your skin from the elements; this means wrap up in the winter, protect yourself from the sun in the summer and always, always wear sun cream (year round). Try and take care when bathing or showering to use only lukewarm water and limit the length to no more than 5-10 minutes. Though cleansing is of course of the utmost importance, look for a moisturising cleanser without fragrances or other potential irritants and immediately moisturise whilst your skin is still damp. Also, remember to take care when shaving—be kind to your skin.
How to relieve dry skin on the legs
As well as taking precautions to avoid dry skin on the legs from developing in the first place, there are a few things you can do to find relief. Firstly, make sure you’re using a quality moisturiser rich in ingredients that draw moisture in from the environment, seal in hydration and lubricate the surface of the skin — like O’Keeffe’s Skin Repair. Because damaged skin begets damaged skin as we mentioned, it’s very difficult to break the cycle without a bit of extra help. Apply your moisturiser after showering, when your skin is still damp to maximise its effectiveness. Another way to boost the hydration power of your skin care products is by gently exfoliating once or twice a week to get rid of any dry, flaky dead skin cells that may be crowding the surface of your skin.