The key factors determining dryness are the level of oil on the skin and the integrity of the skin’s barrier function. Both of these will determine the rate of Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) – the rate at which water evaporates through the skin.
Skin is dynamic and will react to its environment. If you apply products high in oils that do not penetrate the skin, the skin will react by reducing the amount of sebum that it produces. This means that if you stop applying the cream, your skin will be dry for a few days while your skin starts to produce its own sebum again. It’s worth going through a few days of slightly dry skin to break your skin’s reliance on occlusive oils.
There are two types of dry skin – lipid dry and dehydrated. The two are often linked, but they are separated here for ease of diagnosis.
Lipid Dry skin has little oil and tends to look dull. It may be rough and flaky and feel taut after washing. Fine capillaries are common and milia can appear on the cheek bone and eye areas. Fine lines present prematurely.
Dehydrated skin is tight, shows fine lines and ages prematurely. It reacts easily to climate extremes.
- Take an omega-3 supplement with at least 600 mg of long chain omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) and avoid a fat free diet – eat healthy lipids from seeds and nuts.
- Use a generous amount of moisturiser (marble size) and ensure that it contains vegetable oils that can be absorbed and not petrochemical oils.
- Do not use bar soap on your body or face – find a mild pH balanced shower gel or, preferably, a cleansing cream.
- Wear a hat in the sun.
- Use products containing Hyaluronic Acid.
- Take a good quality ingestible probiotic and apply a probiotic skincare treatment that contains live strains of beneficial microbes to improve the skin barrier and minimise TEWL through the surface of the skin.