How To Get Rid of Dry Flaky Skin

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

The Difference Between Dry Skin and Dehydrated Skin:

People often mistake dehydrated skin for dry skin.

Sebum is an oily substance that flows through the follicles and lubricates the surface of the skin. Dry skin is characterized by the amount of sebum on the skin. The amount of oil that flows on the skin is determined by the pore size, and like many skin conditions, dry skin is a genetic factor. The sebaceous pores of dry skin are very small and do not excrete enough oil to lubricate the skin.

On the other hand, Dehydrated skin is the skin's inability to retain water, and it can be caused by harsh detergents and skincare products, chlorine, or environmental factors such as sunburn and cold temperatures.

The Barrier Mantle:

Harsh skincare products and environmental conditions can cause damage to the skin's protective barrier, otherwise known as the barrier or the acid mantle. The barrier mantle comprises a group of substances known as lipids made of cholesterol, ceramides, fatty acids, waxes, phospholipids, and triglycerides. The lipid substance flows between the cells and holds them together.

The purpose of the barrier mantle is to prevent Transepidermal Water Loss TEWL (the loss or evaporation of water from the skin) and prevent the penetration of substances that may potentially harm or irritate the skin.

A damaged barrier mantle increases TEWL. The more water leaves the skin, the less hydrated and more irritated the skin will become. The skin will begin to look dry, rough, and flaky.

How to repair and soothe dehydrated skin:

The first step in repairing dehydrated skin is to shut down the damage by not using harsh skincare products. Strong skincare products such as facial cleansers and the overuse of exfoliants often impair the skin's protective barrier. The best place to start is with a gentle facial cleanser made with mild cleansing agents, as harsh detergents can remove the lipids from the outer layer of the skin and reduce the skin's natural ability to moisturize itself.

Also, desist from using bar soap to cleanse your face. Bar soaps are made of a strong alkaline substance known as Sodium Hydroxide. The barrier mantle of the skin has an acidic pH of 4.5 - 6.5. Therefore your skincare products should fall within this range to protect the integrity of the barrier mantle.

Hydrating and moisturizing ingredients:

You can also improve the functions of the barrier mantle by using products made with hydrating and moisturizing ingredients such as humectants, emollients, and occlusives.

Humectants attract water from the atmosphere and bind it to the skin. Humectant ingredients include vegetable glycerin, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, Sodium PCA, and propanediol 1,3.

Emollients are oils that make the skin soft, supple, and smooth. Oils like evening primrose, rice bran, soya bean, and borage seed are rich in Essential Fatty Acids and are extremely beneficial in repairing the skin.

Occlusive ingredients create a barrier on the skin to prevent the loss of water. Allantoin is an occlusive ingredient that protects the skin, facilitates cell regeneration, and increases the skin's water content.

What to do next:

If you struggle to get your dry skin under control, determine whether your skin is genetically dry or just dehydrated. My first question to people who complain of dryness is if their skin has been dry all their lives. Ask yourself this question, and if your answer is no, assess your skincare products to determine if they are the cause of your problems.

Click here to find out more about a skincare routine with recommended products, that will hydrate the skin for a soft, supple, and dewy complexion.

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