Your skin can be dry or dehydrated even if you moisturise regularly and drink lots of water every day. Skin dryness and skin dehydration are related but separate conditions. Dry skin is a lack of skin lipids and water in the skin due to a poorly functioning skin structure and physiology, while dehydrated skin is a lack of moisture in the skin.
Dry skin can be quite obvious with symptoms such as scaling, flaking, roughness, cracking, but it is not always this obvious. In less pronounced cases, it may present as tightness, redness or dullness.
Skin needs to stay hydrated or the enzymes required for skin cell production and barrier function maintenance cannot function properly. Skin hydration is determined by the natural moisturising factor (NMF) in the skin and its ability to hold water and the barrier function of the skin. It is also influenced by the amount of sebum on the surface of the skin and this acts as an extra barrier to prevent water loss. Hyaluronic Acid is found in the dermis and it plays an important role in maintaining hydration in this layer of the skin.
Skin cells swell by up to 50% when fully hydrated, which is why people who live in humid climates appear to have younger and plumper skin. Dry skin and dehydrated skin can make us look older. Hydrated skin looks more supple and smooth and has greater resilience.
Dry skin and dehydrated skin can be caused by or affected by internal or external factors. For example:
For skin to function optimally, it is important to treat skin dryness and skin dehydration, and then follow through with prevention.
Make sure you use only mild cleansers, not soap or sulphate-based cleansers that are alkaline and strip the skin of its protective oils. This is equally important for someone with oily skin, as drying out the skin too much can stimulate it to produce more oils. Gently pat your skin dry after washing and apply your serum or serums as soon as possible to prevent further trans- epidermal water loss. Follow with moisturiser that is appropriate to your skin type and has a good blend of emollients and humectants, with a focus on retaining moisture and repairing the skin barrier.
Emollients are ingredients that soften and smooth, while humectants are ingredients that increase the moisture content of the skin. Ingredients commonly used in moisturisers include Glycerin, Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, Essential Fatty Acids, Dimethicones, Petrolatum, Triglycerides, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Squalene, Saffloweer Oil, Olive Oil, Jojoba Oil, Argan Oil, Niacinamide, Allantoin, Urea, AHAs, Sodium PCA, Vitamin E.
Determining whether you have dry skin or dehydrated skin is the first step in determining the best ingredients and products to include in your skin care routine.
If you want indepth information on how to best tackle your dry skin or dehydrated skin and a customised skin care routine, visit our Services page.