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The New Think On Dry Skin

Woman touching face
May 30, 2017 Reviewed by Marta 0 Comments

A couple of years ago I wrote about the difference between dry and dehydrated skin. Dry skin is a skin type, whereas dehydrated skin is a result of lifestyle and environmental factors. This is not mere semantics — they are different conditions that require specific approaches. Recently, I discovered that there are some new ways of thinking and treating dry versus dehydrated skin. Find out which kind you have and how to best keep it soft and supple below.

Dry skin
Dry skin is a skin type. It is due to a lack of oil production, and it even has its own posh name: xerosis. Lipids play a significant role against evaporation by holding water. Sweat and oil glands produce natural moisturizing factors (including amino acids, sugars, lactic acid, urea).

How do you know if your skin is dry?
It may appear tight, dull or show signs of premature aging, including exacerbated fine lines. The skin can also be red, flaky and irritated.

How to manage dry skin
The golden rule is to retain the skin’s natural sebum. Do not strip away oil. There is a fine balancing act between removing dry, flakey akin and over-exfoliating. Yet, exfoliation is very important so that dead skin cells are properly shed and not left to clog the surface of the skin. The spaces between living cells are filled with a fatty substance that is lipid-rich and provides the primary barrier to water loss. Keeping this healthy is very important in protecting against skin dryness. The key components are ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids.

What ingredients to look for

Hydroxy Acids: Alpha and beta hydroxy acids assist with the shedding of dead skin cells. Alpha hydroxy acids encourage lipid synthesis in the intercellular areas, which improves barrier function and therefore dry skin. Lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, particularly improves ceramide synthesis.

Niacinamide: a vitamin B3 derivative that encourages synthesis of ceramides.

Linoleic Acid: an essential fatty acid necessary for skin regeneration.

Magnesium and calcium: Both improve barrier function of the skin, help dry skin and even prevent its development.

Vitamin C: increases ceramide synthesis in the skin.

Dehydrated skin
Dehydrated skin is related to the water content of the skin. Depletion of water content (transepi­dermal water loss or TEWL) can be caused by environmental and lifestyle factors such as climate, smoking and high sodium diets.

How do you know if your skin is dehydrated?
Dermal dehydration causes depletion of the dermis itself and this shrinkage will ultimately result in deeper wrinkles, as well as a loss of elasticity and sagging skin.

How to manage dehydrated skin
Simply drinking enough water throughout the day can help a little, as well as keeping your skin protected from the sun and pollutants. But what you really want to focus on is boosting collagen and other proteins that help with moisture protection.

What ingredients to look for

Red LED light: As you can imagine, I was excited to read that red LED can improve all aspects of dryness and dehydration. It can improve barrier function by increasing oil production. Red LED light therapy has been shown to “trigger repair mechanisms that stimulate fibroblast activity and new cell growth, boosting collagen.”

Niancinamide: It can treat dryness and dehydration simultan­eously. Studies have shown that this B vitamin can reduce TEWL significantly.

Hyaluronic acid: Also known as sodium hyaluronate, this helps draw moisture to the skin and retain it.

Acetyl hexapeptide-37: This is a new peptide to have on your radar. Aquaporins (AQP) are proteins that transport water through different tissue layers. Acetyl hexapeptide-37 enhances the function of AQP3. The manufacturer claims that skin hydration was enhanced by 131 percent and collagen I by 61 percent.

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