Our skin's natural protective barrier is continuously damaged by wind, cold, heat and daily life. It dries out, becomes cracked and raw. This is why it is so important to use moisturizers for dry skin, to nourish and moisturize the skin to build up the protective lipid layer and prevent dehydration. This is how your skin maintains its fresh and healthy appearance.
So what should we do to discover the perfect balance in this fight against undesirable dry skin?
Is Your Skin Dry or Dehydrated?
Dehydrated skin is a condition that occurs when there’s a lack of water in the skin. This can happen to anyone, regardless of skin type — people with oily or combination skin can still experience dehydration. Dehydrated skin typically looks dull and can show premature signs of aging, like surface wrinkles and loss of elasticity.
A good way to detect if your skin is dehydrated is to check if you have any common symptoms. While this skin test isn’t conclusive, it’s a good way to start thinking about your skin from the inside out. With dehydrated skin you might notice: darker under-eye circles or tired eye appearance, itchiness, skin dullness and more sensitive fine lines and wrinkles.
With dry skin, on the other hand, a lack of water isn’t the problem. Dry skin is a skin type, like oily or combination skin, where the complexion lacks oils, or lipids, so it takes on a flakier, dry appearance.
Dry skin occurs when the dermis lacks moisture in its outer layer. It is usually caused by external factors, such as climate, humidity, or even the type of diet. It generates a feeling of tightness, especially after contact with water, as well as itching, flaking, redness, and in the most severe cases, cracks that can become infected. People with dry skin will also most likely experience increased incidences of psoriasis, eczema, or dermatitis.
Avoid Using Hot Water
You would think that by putting water on your skin you would be moisturizing it. It's certainly something we have been taught since childhood: wash your face with plenty of soap and hot water. What we are now learning is that the opposite is true. While bar soap is bad enough, drying out skin with its detergents and chemicals, water on its own can also be damaging.
Here are the simple facts: when water that comes into contact with the skin, it quickly evaporates and takes many of the skin's natural oils — called the natural moisturizing factor (NMF) — with it. The more frequently skin is washed this way, the drier it can get, especially if the water is excessively hot.
Adopt A Sulfate-Free Cleanser
Among the list of harsh ingredients added to most facial cleansers or soaps is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Sodium lauryl sulfate is added to many products and you'll find it by checking the label of just about any shampoo, toothpaste, cleansers or soaps, among others. SLS has many potential health risks, but the main problem is that it's drying and harsh.
When too much oil is removed from the skin, the protective skin barrier of the skin breaks down. "There are key oils in the skin that actually act like glue to hold the skin barrier together," explains the esthetician Renée Rouleau. "Damage or remove those oils, and the skin barrier is more susceptible to breaking and allowing environmental insults, like UV rays or pollution, in." While this is true for all skin types, it's more of a challenge for drier skin types.
Thankfully, our Coffee-Infused Cleansing Mousse is sulphate-free, so will keep your skin clean and fresh without drying it out!
Moisturize and Moisturize AgainAfter every face wash, apply a hydrating face oil to your dry skin as it traps existing moisture in your skin.
Dermatologist, Carl Thornfeldt, explains that a healthy skin barrier comprises a mixture of cholesterol, ceramides, and free fatty acids. For a product to really be effective for dry skin, the important thing is whether or not it helps restore the skin barrier. In order for it to do that, it must contain oils—particularly the oils that are found in healthy skin. If you're worried about clogging your pores, Thornfeldt says that the product won't be pore-clogging if the oils are highly purified and do not contain contaminants. "Remember, moisture is about water-holding capacity, but because dry skin types are not producing enough oil, adding more water without the oils the skin barrier needs is counterproductive for addressing what dry skin really needs," he says.
Use an Air Humidifier
Leaving cosmetics aside, your fix for dry skin could be as simple as plugging in your dusted off humidifier. Especially in the wintertime (or year-round, in dry climates), it’s important to add moisture into the air, as this encourages moisture in your skin to stay put. Humidifiers help to keep the air clean and at the perfect humidity, which allows your skin to stay more hydrated and comfortable overnight and throughout the day.
Riley Greene, M.D., of the Denver Skin Clinic says that in the case of eczema or itchiness due to dry skin, a humidifier can do more than just alleviate symptoms — it can prevent them altogether. He counsels his patients to turn on their humidifiers in their homes.
And when your skin is healthy, it won’t just feel better — it will look better too.
“When the skin dries, wrinkles appear more prominent,” says Greene. "If your skin is hydrated, it will look plumper and hide the wrinkles."
Extra Tips to Avoid Dry Skin
Some dry skin is caused naturally - by the weather or by genetics. However, some causes can be kept under control or even prevented. The first thing to do is to get plenty of sleep to allow cellular repair. Also, avoid excessive exposure to harmful UVA/UVB rays, and ensure you are wearing the right sunscreen. Exercise regularly to improve circulation and keep a balanced diet to nourish skin from within. Finally, ensure you use the right cosmetics to combat dry skin in order to keep your skin moist and healthy.