You may be surprised to know that although water helps the overall hydration of your body, it may not be enough to solve dry skin.
Water is the most essential substance for your body.
As adults our body contains up to 60% water and we depend on it to hydrate and nourish all the organs and tissues for proper functioning, but dry skin needs more than just water to find balance.
You see, dry skin benefits from water intake but it lacks essential lipids for proper barrier function like ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids along with deficiencies in urea, amino acids and lactic acid; Natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) necessary to maintain normal moisture levels in the skin and those are not replaced by water.
Nevertheless, it is very important to identify if your skin is dry because of lack of lipids or water or both. There is a big difference between poor moisturization and dehydration.
Dehydrated skin lacks water while dry skin lacks oil.
It is common for people to get confused and say that they have dry skin when in fact they have dehydrated skin. Dehydration of the skin shows as wrinkly, dull, with accentuated fine lines that normally improve with hydration.
On the other hand, dry skin usually presents very small pore size and has an overall feeling of tightness. Often, it presents more visible lines, less elasticity and could also experience flaking and feel itchy or sensitive.
If you feel that your skin is dehydrated, select a face product with water-boosting ingredients, they will hold water into the skin for a longer period of time keeping it comfortable and making your skin look plumper and more refreshed.
Some of the best are:
- Hyaluronic acid
- Sodium PCA
- Lactic Acid
Now, let’s get a little deeper into what happens to dry skin and how to do to get it back to healthy.
Anything that affects the protective layer of the skin, the stratum corneum; which creates a resilient barrier to keep environmental aggressors from harming the skin and to preserve water into the skin, will consequently make the skin feel drier and more vulnerable to irritation and sensitivities.
Sebum is a waxy substance produced by the sebaceous glands that keeps the skin supple and lubricated. Thus, if you suffer from dry skin, it is crucial to look at how to restore the lipid content to achieve skin balance.
If your skin is not producing enough lipids, there are some wonderful ingredients that you can incorporate in your skincare regimen to improve skin dryness, but before I get into further details, let me tell you about the ingredients that you should avoid, which can exacerbate or cause skin dryness.
Stay away from these ingredients:
Be very careful when selecting a cleanser. Specially those containing sodium lauryl sulfate or soaps that are too alkaline. They strip the natural fatty acids from the skin creating micro- fissures which then allow chemicals to penetrate more easily and irritate the skin.
Fragrances are big sensitizers. Including natural fragrances and some essential oils. Don’t be misled by the word “natural” it is often overused and keep in mind that not everything that is natural is healthy or good.
Avoid harmful preservatives like parabens and drying alcohols. I say drying alcohols because there are some alcohols that are used as humectants and are beneficial, attracting or sealing water into the skin.
Here is a chart that you can refer to:
Like I mentioned previously, there are ingredients that contribute to heal the skin barrier resembling its natural components: ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. Those will work wonders at treating dry skin because they have similar physical characteristics, helping improve the overall functionality of the skin.
These are some of the oils that I prefer to help restore balance of the skin barrier and improve dryness. Many of them also provide antioxidant protection and rejuvenating qualities:
- Jojoba oil: Rich in vitamins E, B-complex, zinc, copper, selenium, chromium, and iodine. It is light-textured, odorless and absorbs really well increasing levels of moisturization while fighting inflammation.
- Sea buckthorn: This oil is very rich in palmitic acid. It contains a wealth of nutrients including: vitamins A, E, C & B, essential fatty acids and phytosterols. * I recommend blending it into a carrier since it has a deep yellowish color.
- Evening Primrose oil: Contains high amounts of linoleic acid. Soothes and moisturizes the skin, enhances skin radiance and improves skin roughness and inflammation. It contributes in cell repair facilitating the healing process and works great at minimizing the look of scars.
- Sweet almond oil: High in fatty acids and vitamin E, it works as an effective antioxidant and enhances cell repair keeping skin cells healthy and supporting the skin to retain moisture leaving it soft and smooth.
- Marula oil: this amazing oil is rich in essential fatty acids Omega 9 -oleic and Omega 6 – linoleic. It deeply supports moisturization of the skin reducing trans epidermal water loss, enhances healing and combats inflammation and redness.
How to incorporate the oils into your skincare routine:
Most of these oils that I mentioned can be applied directly to the skin. Sea buck-thorn however; has a strong color, so I recommend that you blend it into a carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond oil to prevent staining of your linens or clothing.
I like to spray a fine mist on the skin first to deposit water; rose water works nicely on dry skin, and then apply the oil immediately after to seal in hydration and provide nourishing lipids.
Another way is by adding a few drops of the oil to your favorite moisturizer to give it a boost of lipids and applying it as usual.
Replenishing what the skin lacks will improve skin balance and restore its healthy state.
Have you used facial oils to treat dry skin?
What is your favorite oil?
Thank you for being here.
Until next time,
Founder of Zkin Fix Skincare
Instant gratification is a common expression now days… and why not, after all, technology shows us that things can be reached in no time.
The problem emerges when we become so used to that fast rhythm that we expect all things to happen at the speed of light.
Great changes can certainly be achieved in your skin relatively quickly when the correct skin care is used but in the skin’s own world, things have a specific time.
We all have heard many times that exfoliation is good for the skin because it removes dead skin cells and encourages new cells to come to the surface giving your skin a more youthful glow.
Well… yes, that is true… in part.
The skin does benefit from regular exfoliation especially when it is dry and flaky, or excessively oily causing congestion manifested in black and/or whiteheads. The normal exfoliating period for the skin naturally occurs approximately every 28 days. However; as we grow in age or for other health reasons the cycle extends and becomes longer. When this happens dead skin cells cling on to the skin for a longer period of time giving the skin a dull, lifeless appearance.
But before we get into more exfoliation details, one very important thing we need to consider is that the skin has a protective barrier made out of crucial components such as: cholesterol, free fatty acids and ceramides. These elements create a lipidic shield that isolate the skin protecting it from harmful chemicals, bacteria, enviromental factors and to maintain healthy levels of moisture and hydration and every time we exfoliate the skin we disrupt temporarily the skin’s protective barrier. The more aggressive the exfoliation the longer it takes for the lipidic barrier to repair itself.
There are many types of exfoliants; chemical in the form of acids, enzymes which break down protein, one of the main components of dead skin cells (keratin) and physical better known as scrubs.
Like I said before, exfoliation can be beneficial for the skin when it is done the right way. How often to exfoliate is determined by the skin type and condition as well as the method being used. Sensitive skin for instance, could be negatively affected by over- exfoliation because it already presents a weak lipidic barrier, hence it gets irritated more easily.
Over-exfoliating the skin can cause many problems, including:
-Over production of sebum (Skin natural oils)
and many more…
One more tip: If you receive professional treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing etc.. make sure to follow the advice of the professional for your post-care which is essential to obtain optimum results. It is very important to treat the skin gently and to avoid harsh ingredients while the lipidic barrier is being restored.
Removing dead skin cells can certainly give you a radiant glow but maintaining a healthy skin protective barrier is crucial to the overall functioning of the skin.
Over-exfoliation causes irritation and inflammation and that leads to oxidation which promotes AGING.
So as we can see MORE IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER…
Thank you for being here.
Until next time,
Founder of Zkin Fix Skincare