The skin is the body’s largest organ. It makes up about 16% of the body’s weight. The skin’s functions are many, including regulating body temperature and protecting the body from dehydration and attack by microorganisms. In addition, it does its best to protect us from the UV rays of the sun. Caring for and protecting the skin is thus important for our health.
In the skin’s structure, there is a natural moisturising factor (NMF) that balances and regulates the skin’s moisture balance, which is the key to preventing dry skin. This mixture of various metabolic substances, sweat and sebum absorbs moisture and protects the skin from dehydration. The skin also consists of lipids, a natural fat layer, which forms a protective barrier, minimises water loss and reduces dry skin. When the skin becomes dry, it is a sign that it does not have enough lipids and moisture, either because the fat layer in the top layer of the epidermis is destroyed or because the skin’s moisture decreases. The skin then loses its elasticity and becomes more fragile. Dry and irritated skin can tighten, flake, flake, itch and feel painful, even become extremely chapped and cracked. Very dry skin also increases the risk of various skin diseases and ailments getting worse, for example eczema. So it is important to moisturise dry and irritated skin, but also to strengthen the skin in a preventive way and help restore the skin’s natural balance.
What causes dry skin?
External factors such as:
- The climate: Wind, cold, heat and heated air can both irritate and cause damage to the skin by removing moisture and attacking the skin’s natural protective barrier. For example, the low humidity during the winter puts great stress on the skin, with the result that many people suffer from problems of dry skin, so-called “winter skin”. The sun’s UV radiation and wind can also cause liquid to evaporate from the skin and leave it extra exposed.
- Strong products: Detergents, soaps and similar products are designed to dissolve grease and dirt, but this also means that they also contribute to dissolving the protective layer of sebum on the skin. The more often you wash, the more stress you expose your skin to. The same goes for highly perfumed products that also do more harm than good to the skin.
- Shower and hot tub: Hot water dries out the skin. Tap water can also damage the skin as it can contain high levels of magnesium, lead and zinc (so-called hard water). When these minerals come into contact with the skin, they leave a thin film that can prevent moisture from being absorbed by the skin.
Internal factors such as:
- Genetics and age: Sebum production levels and our ability to regulate moisture are highly individual and sometimes of a hereditary nature. The skin’s natural ability to regulate moisture can be disturbed by external factors, and this can lead to extremely dry skin. Skin moisture regulating ability can also be affected by age. In ageing skin, the number of sebaceous glands and sweat glands under the skin has decreased, which in turn leads to a reduced ability to produce sweat, lipids and the regulation of water content in the body. The result is that the skin’s ability to bind moisture has deteriorated, and so the body needs added moisture from the outside with the help of ointments and creams.
- Psychological stress: Stress affects the whole body, both internal and external organs such as the skin. During stress, a chemical reaction takes place in the body where the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol are released. During prolonged stress, hormone levels are constantly elevated and thus affect the immune system and hydration of the skin. The skin then becomes more sensitive and more reactive, which can trigger various types of skin conditions, including so-called stress rashes.
- Hormonal changes: Altered hormone levels, especially oestrogen and testosterone, can affect the skin’s moisture and lipid levels. For example, it is common for the skin to tend to become noticeably drier during menopause due to reduced oestrogen production. Similarly, dry skin is common during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and the increased demands on fluid in the body.
How to prevent problems with dry skin?
As previously mentioned, there are many things that you can do yourself to prevent dry skin. First of all, it is a good idea to choose soaps (hand soap, detergent, shampoo, cleanser, etc.) that are gentle on your skin and as close to the skin’s PH value as possible. Also avoid perfumes and perfumed products that itch or irritate. In the event of contact with water, make sure to dry the skin thoroughly to avoid the water remaining and drying out the skin. Then it is also important to regularly lubricate the skin with a gentle and soothing ointment. Helosan® Original has a relatively small amount of water content and a significantly higher fat content, which has a significant role in the ointment’s strong properties to counteract dry skin. When you use an ointment with a high fat content, the skin is given a protective barrier that keeps the moisture in it. The fat in oily ointments fills up between the outer skin cells and makes the skin denser, which prevents water from evaporating. For maximum effect, we recommend that the user lubricates their hands properly with Helosan® Original and then wears thin cotton gloves to allow the ointment to work and heal without smudging.
Tips for the pregnant belly
When you are pregnant, your body and skin need a little extra care. Many women experience that they get more sensitive skin during pregnancy. When your stomach grows during pregnancy, the skin stretches and can tend to become dry and itchy. The hormones that are formed during pregnancy can also contribute to the itching. To counteract dryness, it is a good idea to lubricate the sensitive skin of the pregnant belly with emollient and moisturising ointment. Lubricating your stomach when you are pregnant also helps reduce the risk of stretch marks. Helosan® Original is excellent for both pregnant and maternal skin care. The ointment adds skin-friendly fats that promote the skin’s own repair process and settles as a temporary layer on the skin that provides long-term hydration and protects against dehydration. Helosan® contains no active ingredients, i.e. its ingredients do not enter the bloodstream but only settle on the skin and are thus safe to use during pregnancy.
Dry skin in babies and toddlers
It is common for newborns to be bothered by very dry and sensitive skin. During the first months, the baby’s skin is full occupied with trying to adapt to life outside the womb, so it is more sensitive to sunlight and friction against coarse materials. The baby’s skin is also thinner and has a higher pH value than an adult’s skin, which means that irritants and microorganisms can penetrate it more easily. Allergic skin change, or atopic dermatitis, is often associated with dry skin and is actually the most common cause of itching and skin irritation in children. Baby skin that is itchy and scales usually does not need any special treatment, but it is crucial to protect the skin from things that can irritate. Avoid soap, perfume and other chemicals, and prevent skin problems such as dryness or irritation by lubricating the skin frequently. If you keep the baby’s skin soft and supple, it will be more durable.
Helosan® skin ointment contains deeply moisturising glycerin which helps to stabilise the skin’s natural flora and reconstruction. Helosan® is gentle on your baby’s sensitive skin and completely unscented. Thanks to its high content of skin-friendly fats, Helosan® can prevent and relieve problems such as nappy rash, nappy spots and red baby buttocks. Use Helosan® after every nappy change, applying a thin layer on the bottom and genitals. The ointment forms a soothing and protective layer on the skin that prevents irritation. Please note that Helosan® is not intended for “internal use”.
Do you suffer from stressed or sensitive skin?
Dry skin on the body is often sensitive, but sensitive skin is not always due to dryness. Some people’s skin is naturally sensitive, even when it is well moisturised. Stress skin can also be called sensitive skin. Sensitive skin often flares up when exposed to heat, temperature changes, alcohol, spicy foods, strong creams or cleansers.
Characteristics of stressed skin:
- Stinging, tightening or burning sensation.
- Recurrent issues with skin problems such as redness, scaling and/or rash, especially in connection with stress.
- Dryness or burning that occurs after a stay in cold and windy weather.
- Skin irritations and conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
Sensitive skin is more vulnerable. So it is important to invest in skin care that can help your stressed skin to relax and regain its elasticity. Helosan® contains moisturising and emollient ingredients that are gentle on dry, sensitive and irritated skin with a weakened skin barrier. Thanks to the high content of paraffin oil, which is almost identical to the skin’s own barrier fat, Helosan® is particularly suitable for dry, sensitive and irritated skin. Helosan® also contains glycerin, a very common skin care ingredient that has moisture-binding properties that reduce irritation in the skin and help the skin barrier’s moisture balance and function.
Skin diseases & skin problems
Skin diseases and problems with the skin can lead to frustrations and a decline in quality of life. To avoid aggravating problems with skin problems and skin diseases such as psoriasis, rosacea and atopic eczema, it is important to moisturise regularly. By keeping the skin soft and supple, it is not as vulnerable to external factors such as water, wind and cold. Helosan® nourishes and moisturises the skin, while at the same time helping to stabilise the skin’s own natural flora. It can be used in conjunction with other medicinal products to treat various forms of skin diseases where the ointment relieves the discomfort and prevents the area from becoming dry and irritated. Helosan® skin ointment is available in different sizes, which makes it easy to carry with you while keeping a larger tube at home.