What is dry skin
Dry skin often feels dry. It can look scaly. Sometimes the top layer of the skin appears to be flaking off or peeling. It often occurs in patches and seems to worsen as you age and your estrogen levels fall.
But you can have plumper, more hydrated skin.
Your skin produces its own fats (called lipids) from the food you eat. It also holds a great deal of water in the form of hyaluronic acid. Together, these help the skin to stay soft and supple.
When these are in place, you have hydrated skin. If they are not, you have dry skin.
In general, anyone can have dry skin, and mildly dry skin is not a medical problem.
However, some groups of people are more prone to developing dry skin:
• If you are over 40 your body starts to produce less estrogen, and this has a big effect on your skin, encouraging dryness and wrinkles as you experience menopause and beyond, with lower estrogen levels.
• Brown, black or fair skinned people
• those who live in cold climates – especially in winter
Your skin is an organ. It carries out these important functions:
· It acts as a physical and biological barrier to the external environment, preventing penetration by bacteria, viruses and other irritants.
· It prevents loss of water through the skin
· It keeps the internal environment of the body stable and relatively constant.
Together, these help your body to stay healthy and well.
When you lose more water from your body than you take in, this compromises your skin’s barrier function, leaving your body open to disease.
You may have dry skin:
It's important to keep your skin hydrated.
The skin from different ethnic groups look different under the microscope and also vary widely across the face. Also, their skin needs can be just as variable.
This underlines the point that we are not yet at the stage where one moisturiser can be perfect for everyone, regardless of ethnicity, to provide hydrated skin.
Finding your best moisturiser to treat your dry skin does come back to your unique skin’s needs, and the ingredients that can resolve these needs before trying to match these ingredients to a moisturiser.
Do that, and you’d have found your best moisturiser for right now.
Things to do:
Things to be aware of:
What not to do:
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Rawlings, A.V. (2003), Trends in stratum corneum research and the management of dry skin conditions. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 25: 63-95.
Nursing Times The structure and function of the skin. 2019.