Why is Dry Skin Itchy?
Dry skin has a compromised barrier. Let's try to understand what this means: The visible layer of skin acts as a barrier. It acts as a shield. This shield has 2 important functions:
- It prevents water loss from the skin through evaporation. Keeps skin hydrated.
- Prevents environmental nasties from attacking the skin. If these attacks happen, skin becomes inflamed and there will be breakouts on the skin. So the shield prevents these breakouts.
Various oils, lipids and fats in the skin help the skin in its barrier function. In dry skin, the quantity of some of these helpers is considerably less. Since there is not a sufficient quantity of these helpers, the barrier function is compromised. When the skin has a weak barrier, this is what happens:
- Skin becomes dehydrated.
- Skin becomes inflamed and irritated.
- There will be breakouts on the skin.
When the barrier is weak, skin gets attacked by environmental nasties. The redness on the skin is a response to these attacks.
When there is any kind of inflammation/irritation on the skin, it triggers an itch. The itch is more to divert our attention to the inflammation. It is the body's way of telling us that this area needs our attention.
Since inflammation, breakouts and irritations are common in dry skin, dry skin itches.