Despite many people perceiving themselves to have dry skin, it’s not actually as common a skin type as you may believe. In order to understand the best way in treating dry skin, let’s first take a look at what dry skin means and what can cause it.
When you think of ‘Dry Skin’ you may refer to a skin that feels tight, uncomfortable and flaking in appearance. However, these are symptoms of dry skin. True dry skin as an actual skin type refers to a ‘Lipid Dry Skin’.
Our skin produces two forms of lipids or fats. Most commonly known is sebum, which is produced by the sebaceous glands attached to follicles in the skin. The sebaceous glands in naturally dry skin (alipidic skin) are unable to produce enough (or any) sebum / oil to naturally moisturise the surface of the skin. This also forms an integral part of the skin chemical barrier function. Maintaining it’s pH and protecting the skin from micro-organisms.
Less commonly known are the epidermal lipids, produced by the Lamellar Bodies which reside with in the Stratum Granulosum (mid-epidermis). The epidermal lipids fill in the extra cellular spaces, forming a cement between epidermal skin cells known as keratinocytes. Similar to a bricks (cells) and mortar (epidermal lipids) like structure, forming the resilient physical barrier function.
There are 3 main causes of dry skin;
Some medications can also cause the skin to become dry, so it’s best to check with your GP in this instance.
Before you start treating dry skin, it’s first important to assess whether you actually have dry skin. Many people complain of having dry skin (lacking in lipids) when they actually have a dehydrated skin (lacking in water).
A diagnostic skin analysis can help to identify if you have a try lipid dry skin or a dehydrated skin. The in-depth skin analysis, using a diagnostic skin scanner device we’re able to identify if there are lipids present in the skin. Often the case is that the skin is producing lipids, however the natural barrier function of the skin has been compromised. This leads to an increase of Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) and leaves the skin feeling dry, tight and uncomfortable.
The good news is that dehydrated skin is a condition that can be easily corrected. Through the use of corrective home care and treatments that restore the epidermal barrier function. Using Retinoids and Chiral AHA’s like L-Lactic Acid help to boost ceramide production that are vital for a skin barrier defences. Also ensuring the cleanser you are using is the correct pH and doesn’t contain ingredients such as SLS that corrode the physical barrier.
For true lipid dry skins, using emollient rich products that supplement the skin with lipids topically. Alongside gentle antioxidant resurfacing treatments and facial infusions.
Andy is based in Birmingham. If you are interested in treating dry skin book an appointment now.