This year’s El Niño is the worst & it’s going to damage your skin

06:56 PM February 17, 2016

Unbranded_Main_ScratchLast year, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported that the country was about to face a long period of El Niño that would continue well into this year. Five months after the announcement, the PAGASA claimed that the phenomenon has intensified and warned the public of severe heat and powerful storms. Local and international weather bureaus confirmed that this may be the worst El Niño the country has experienced in recent history.

Aside from the environmental impacts, another risk associated with El Niño is a medical condition called xerosis, commonly known as dry skin. Xerosis is characterized by rough, scaly skin that may be painful or itchy at times. This occurs when the extreme heat of El Niño depletes the water content of the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the epidermis.

Sufficient moisture is essential to make the skin soft and pliable. Too little moisture causes the stratum corneum to shrink and makes the skin appear cracked.1

Xerosis can be as mild as a slightly scaly texture when the skin is scratched or as severe as cracks and fissures on the skin. The most commonly affected areas of dry skin are the arms, hands, lower legs, and friction areas such as the ankles, elbows, and knees. It is advisable to do a regular check of these areas in order to catch early signs of dry skin and stop it from worsening.



Every day factors contribute to the occurrence of dry skin. Habits like prolonged sun exposure, over-scrubbing, taking long showers, being in an air-conditioned room all day, and dehydration can also lead to dry skin.

Although dry skin may seem like a minor and temporary problem, it can be a huge source of discomfort for the bearer. Dry skin can be a symptom of more serious ailments such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and dermatitis. To check whether you have dry skin, gently scratch your skin and if white marks appear, your skin is most likely dry.

One of the most effective ways to Heal Dry Skin is the regular use of a lotion containing petroleum jelly. It is best applied right after bathing while your skin is still damp to seal in moisture. This practice will heal and restore your dry, cracked skin to its former glory. When looking for a moisturizer, choose a water-based lotion. These are lighter than creams and are more appropriate for the extremely hot weather the country will continue to face in the coming months.

Imokawa G, Abe A, Jin K, et al. Decreased level of ceramides in stratum corneum of atopic dermatitis: an etiologic factor in atopic dry skin?. J Invest Dermatology 1991 Apr; 96: 523-526.

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TAGS: dry skin, El Niño, skin, xerosis
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