Dry Skin

What is Dry Skin?

The skin is our body’s largest organ and protects us from external harm. It also serves as a means to regulate body temperature and as a receptor for sensation. Skin also maintains hydration levels in the skin to keep it lubricated. If skin becomes dehydrated or has a lack of water or lipids (fatty acids that maintain sebum in the skin), it dries out, causing cracking or flaking of the epidermis, or outermost layer of skin.

The stratum corneum (outermost layer of the epidermis) is the home of skin hydration, also known as NMF (natural moisturizing factor). NMF, responsible for maintaining the skin's hydration levels, is formed by lipids found in between the spaces of a skin cell’s structure. The NMF acts a protective water barrier, keeping the skin hydrated and acting as a humectants (or moisturizer). When the skin becomes compromised, damaged, wounded, burned or exposed to extreme dry weather conditions, it responds with TEWL (transepidermal water loss). This process transfers water from the inside of the body to the outside where trauma has occurred. When the skin experiences trauma or exposure, its protective water barrier becomes compromised. As a result, dry, flaky skin occurs. 

Xerosis, commonly known as dry skin, is a lack of moisture in the skin. This commonly happens from skin being exposed to dry weather conditions, dehydration or extremely hot showers/baths (which can strip the skin's natural moisture barrier). Other ways xerosis can form is through old age, sun exposure, some medications and areas of low humidity. It forms as flaky patches, and can be itchy and irritating. The best way to combat xerosis is to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Topical moisturizers with humectants and water-binding ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, help protect the skin's natural moisture barrier.

Other dry skin conditions, such as dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis, are more complex. These types of skin conditions affect the skin with dry patches that are more difficult to treat. In some situations, medical advice may be needed for diagnosis and treatment options. Typical skin dryness is easily preventable and treatable at home, but some skin disorders require more than just topical skin creams to restore hydration and prevent the skin from flaking.

As dry skin can be very uncomfortable and unsightly, treatment is imperative for the preservation and health of your skin.

Choose a category below for FAQs on specific dry skin conditions and ingredient/product recommendations.

 

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