When is dehydration not dehydration?
Have you got dry skin?
And do you call that ‘dehydrated’?
Did you know that just because your skin feels dry—or looks dry—doesn’t mean that it’s dehydrated?
People can have dry skin because of lipid dryness, or early elastin and collagen loss. Their skin is not dehydrated as such. True dehydration is when the skin is unable to retain moisture in the outer layers.
For years we’ve heard the word ‘dehydration’. It became popular in the 60s and 70s when chemists discovered that chemicals called humectants made your make-up go on more easily. These humectants drew water from the skin and from the atmosphere and made the skin seem more plump and moist. It was financially useful for make-up houses to convince people that your skin would be dehydrated if you didn’t use moisturiser. The strategy worked. Moisturising is now a regular part of a woman’s make-up routine.
Beauty therapists were also sucked in, and many beauty therapists were never trained to diagnose dehydration correctly. Most beauty therapists had no idea how dehydrated—or not—their client’s skin was. If they said it was dehydrated, and it was, they had a satisfied customer. If they were wrong, they wasted clients’ money. The truth is, just because skin feels dry or appears taut, it is not necessarily dehydrated.
Okay, so what causes dry skin?
Dry, taut or flaky skin is caused by any one or more of a number of factors:
• The quantity of fluids ingested
• The type of fluids ingested
• Exposure to chemicals
• Body chemistry
• The weather and humidity
• The acid mantle (or hydrolytic film) of your skin, which seals the surface
• The health of the keratinocyte cell membrane
• A fat-free diet, which causes fatty acid deficiency
• Too much salt
• Air travel
• Bathing too often or prolonged exposure to water. Hard water or hot water may also have a detrimental effect
All of these conditions may cause dry or taut skin. But treating for dehydration is not necessarily the way to go. It’s true that you may get some temporary external benefits from treating the dry skin condition the way you would treat dehydration—applying moisture to the skin surface with humectants and hydrating masks will nearly always give a temporary solution. But the operative word here is ‘temporary’, because until the underlying cause is treated, the solution won’t be long-term. It’s more important to look at the causes of the dry skin and treat those.
How do I combat dry skin?
All of the negative factors which affect the skin and make it dry need to be eliminated before real treatment can proceed.
Firstly, the acid mantle must be restored and the keratinocyte cell membrane must be in good condition. A combination of essential fatty acids, amino acids and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs)—depending on the type of skin and the cause of the dryness—can be applied. Once the acid mantle is restored and the cell membranes are in good condition, only then can any dehydration be treated.
You should also reduce external factors which dehydrate the skin (alcohol, coffee, sun, air conditioning, and medication such as diuretics.) The next step is to make sure that you maintain the good hydration in your skin. Amino acids are essential for this. In between the cells in the skin are GAGs. These keep the skin bouncy and keep the collagen and elastin fibres balanced and in proportion. All of these work best when the skin is properly hydrated.
There is no one-size-fits-all way of treating dry skin. Depending on the cause of the dryness, depending on what’s wrong with the skin, depending on your age, health and skin type, certain products will be of much more use than others.
There are some simple maintenance regimes that you can add to your skin care program.
• Use a creamy cleanser or cleansing oil that won’t strip away the skin’s moisture barrier
• Don’t follow a fat-free diet
• Drink water— maybe add a bit of apple juice or some spirulina to the water, to increase the rate of absorption, and drink the water at body temperature.
• Wash with cool or lukewarm water
• Put a chlorine removing water filter on your shower
• Use a humidifier if you live in a dry climate
• Don’t expose your face to the elements
• Spray pure water (with no chemicals) on your face before moisturising
• Add antioxidants to your daily diet (green tea, dark chocolate, fruit and vegetables — especially berries and pomegranates)
• Avoid alcohol
• Avoid foaming beauty products
• Avoid beaded scrubs and other exfoliating ingredients
• Use a good moisturiser which contains fatty acids and cholesterol
How can Skin Correctives help me with my dry skin?
Firstly, the experts at Skin Correctives will correctly diagnose the cause of the dry skin, and we’ll map out the correct and most effective treatment for it. We perform a thorough skin analysis and ask detailed questions about your diet and skin-care habits. It’s only through piecing together all the evidence that the most effective treatment can be determined. The important thing is to find out the cause of the dry skin and then to determine the treatment to help the skin compensate, balance, and repair.
Some possibilities for treatment may include:
• Topical applications
• Massage therapy with the appropriate oils
• Oil infusions after toning and exfoliation. This often includes the application of steam, which facilitates barrier repair.
• Amino acid preparations. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and collagen, elastin, and keratin are the main proteins in the skin. Amino acids help build, maintain and repair your body. Amino acids are available as ingredients in toners, moisturisers, serums and masks.
• Red LED light therapy. This can improve barrier function by increasing oil production. This has been shown to boost collagen and other proteins.
• Niacinamide. This is a potent form of vitamin B3. This boosts fatty acids, and topically applied niacinamide has a positive impact on barrier function
• Multi-weight hyaluronic acid. This is one of the most effective skin hydrating ingredients. There are several different weights of hyaluronic acid and a combination of these draws moisture to the skin, allows hydration to penetrate deeper, and acts as a dermal filler (which make fine lines and wrinkles appear less visible.)
• Acetyl hexapeptide-37. Peptides are powerful skincare tools. Acetyl hexapeptide-37 works with the proteins found naturally in the skin to improve overall hydration. Important thing with this peptide is to apply it regularly.
If you have dry skin, and simple moisturising isn’t working, why not call us at Skin Correctives and see how we can help you!