Surely many times you have heard someone saying they have dry, normal or oily skin. There are certain characteristics that are usually associated more with one type of skin than another, such as acne in oily skin or sensitivity in dry skin. However, it does not mean that oily-prone skin cannot be sensitive or that acne cannot appear on normal skin.
In this context, skin dehydration is a clear example of how a characteristic that we would link to dry skin can also appear in oily skin.
If you continue reading this article, you will know:
- Why skin dehydration occurs
- How to differentiate dry skin from dehydrated skin
- How to improve discomfort associated with dehydration
How much water does your skin contain?
An adult body is made up of approximately 70% water, but did you know that 15% of this water is concentrated in the skin? With this high percentage, you can get an idea of the importance of this element in the proper functioning and health of our largest organ.
The water comes from the innermost layers of the dermis, hydrating and moisturizing the intermediate layers as it passes through it, until reaching the outermost layers of the epidermis.
In addition to water, the skin has another essential component to form the hydrolipidic barrier: sebum, that is, the lipids that reach the skin through the sebaceous glands and form, together with the water provided by the sweat glands, this emulsion that covers the skin surface.
This coating favors the barrier function of the skin, preventing water loss and the penetration of harmful substances from the environment. In addition, it is the cause of the characteristic velvety appearance of healthy and hydrated skin.
Why does skin dehydration occur?
Dehydration of the skin is caused by excess water loss, and is usually accompanied by a feeling of tightness, itching, redness and even the appearance of scales.
Some of the most common causes for this to happen are:
- Hormonal changes. In women, these changes have a direct and very marked effect on the skin. With age, the skin tends to lose its hydrolipidic layer.
- Environmental factors. Seasonal changes, cold, wind and pollution to which we are exposed can accelerate the process of water loss in the skin.
- Drugs. There are many drugs used to combat severe acne or cancer treatments with side effects on the skin.
- Stress and fatigue. Schedule changes, loss of sleep and stress are factors that take their toll on the health of our barrier function.
- Lack of water. So that water can reach our entire body and, of course, our skin, it is important to take into account the intake of water in our day to day.
- Unhealthy habits. Tobacco or alcohol have a negative influence on our health and, therefore, on our skin.
- Use of aggressive products. Throughout a day, we use a large number of cosmetics: from hair shampoo to hand soap. Some of these products may be formulated with certain components that, on some skin types, can lead to dehydration.
- Excessive sweating. Moist skin with sweat is not necessarily hydrated skin. In fact, constant exposure to sweat can lower the pH of the skin and have effects on the lipid barrier.
What is the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin?
The first thing to keep in mind is that dehydrated skin and dry skin are not the same, although they may share similar characteristics. Dry skin tends to dehydration, but excessive water loss can appear in any type of skin that has seen its hydrolipidic layer affected by the causes that we have previously mentioned. We could say that the main difference between dry and dehydrated skin is the duration of the symptoms of dryness, tightness, itching, redness…
Dry or very dry skin suffers from a constant state of dryness. They usually show signs of peeling, a lifeless appearance and lose elasticity. They are skins that tend to inflammation and need a constant supply of lipids such as ceramides in moisturizing and nourishing creams.
In particular, xerosis is the appearance of very dry areas and it is believed to have a genetic origin. This condition worsens in winter, in conditions with low environmental humidity and with age.
Instead, dehydrated skin is a temporary state to which any type of skin can be exposed. Once we have used specific products or the environmental or stress causes have disappeared, the skin will return to its normal state.
For this reason, it is important to use products that calm and improve the symptoms of dehydration so as not to aggravate the loss of skin protection.
At Prospera Biotech we rely on neurodermatological research to develop moisturizing and hypoallergenic products that help improve uncomfortable skin sensations.
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Keywords: dry skin, dehydration, hydrolipidic barrier
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Berardesca E, Farage M, Maibach H. Sensitive skin: an overview. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2013; 35, 2-8.