Over history, mankind has been looking for just that. From soap’s beginnings in prehistoric times, to the development of the moisturizer, to the emergence of sunscreens, and the rise of antioxidants effort to cure the annoyance of dry skin has never been in short supply. To date, the market is experiencing a saturation of cosmetic and skin care products, and the product lines keep growing. Are all the efforts covering any ground?
Well, we certainly know more about dry skin today than a few decades ago. We now know that taking shorter, cooler showers and staying away from antibacterial and deodorant soaps helps keep our skin from drying, and that moisturizers have to be applied within minutes after washing. It is also common knowledge that wearing sunscreen daily can avoid dry skin and wrinkles, and that keeping the temperature down in the house during the winter months can do the same thing. Cottonwear and portable humidifier sales are on the rise owing to the benefits that they give to skin health. More and more procedures that were once considered luxurious are making their way to the mainstream market. Chemical peels which used to be done in spas and salons only; now we have off-the-shelf, do-it-yourself peels. Joy.
About four out of every five of us went through the pains of acne during our teenage years. Back then, all everyone knew was that an excess of facial skin oil caused pimples, and unwittingly aggravated our worries by drying our faces with soap and astringents. Today, we have benzoyl peroxide and oil-free moisturizers. Not only can you now control the frequency and severity of your breakouts, you can also avoid getting dry skin at the same time. Brilliant! Now if only blind dates and malt shops came back into fashion.
More serious dry skin diseases are also being treated with greater ease and efficiency than ever before. While some of the causes of common skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis may still not be known, the discomfort of the symptoms can often be treated by a simple application of steroid cream. And as more treatments become available, science and technology are slowly getting closer to arriving at what precisely causes these diseases.
So, is there a cure for dry skin?
Technological advances and scientific discoveries may be encouraging, but skin is still bound by the rules set by Mother Nature. The best skin care products and treatments still can’t prevent the most unavoidable cause of dry skin: age. While steps can be taken to diminish the signs and effects of aging, there is still no denying the fact that eventually, all things age and die. And as luck would have it, we’re no exception.
The weather is another thing. There’s nothing we can do about the fact that there’s always going to be a winter every year, and there’ll be no avoiding the dropping temperatures and humidity. The inverse is also true for those living in warmer climes, where the heat and sun can be equally damaging on the skin. It doesn’t help things that as the advances that science and technology soar, so do our pollution levels. As the air gets dirtier, our dry skin gets worse; and it’s only going to get worse unless everyone starts listening to Al Gore.
Apparently, people are listening. Usage of “natural” skin treatments, such as aloe vera, shea butter and olive oil, is on the rise. More and more herbal dry skin remedies are also making their way to the market, and that’s an encouraging though, isn’t it?
So, what? Is there a cure for dry skin or not?
Sadly, no. There’s no one-shot, one-size-fits-all cure for dry skin. Maybe not yet, but it’s still highly unlikely. The human body is still destined to break down and eventually cease to exist, as nature had designed it to, and there’s nothing that science and technology can do to alter the fact.
What we have done so far, and very well at that, is damage control. The signs of dry skin caused by age, weather and society can be controlled. There’s still too much about the human body that we don’t know, and scientific breakthroughs and discoveries can lead to better products, treatments, and knowledge about dry skin. Who knows? One day, there might be a penicillin for all types of skin disease, and dry skin’s little niche in the market could very well turn into a niche in the history books.
Until then, however, the most we can do is to stick to shorter showers, apply moisturizer regularly, and watch the exciting developments for dry skin cures from the sideline. Preferably in the shade, and especially between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.