It’s cold outside and the heat is cranked up, which leaves your skin feeling tight, parched, flaky and uncomfortable. Does that mean your skin is dry, dehydrated or both? Understanding the differences is key for achieving “complexion perfection” throughout the winter.
WHAT IS DRY SKIN?
DRY (ALIPIDIC) SKIN – is a Skin Type where you’ve inherited small pores that secrete a minimal amount of oil (sebum). Sebum is important for the skin because it creates a protective barrier that buffers irritants. It fills in surface spaces which gives skin a nice smooth appearance. It alters the pH which limits bacteria and sebum’s emollient nature holds in moisture which keeps skin cells alive and healthier longer and prevents dehydration. Dry skin is often dull and lackluster. it magnifiers the look of lines and wrinkles. Sensitive dry skin can be easily irritated. This can lead to inflamation or eczema which we know is are triggers for premature aging.
WHERE DOES DRY SKIN COME FROM?
Genetics – Dry skin is inherited. This means you probably have the same skin as one of your parents or family members. You probably have skin that tends to be thinner, a little more sensitive than some, and has small pores that produce little oil. If you have a dry skin type you’ll have a tendency to be dry all your life. Although, with the right skin care you can condition your skin so that your beautifully fine pores and smooth texture radiate a lovely glow throughout your life.
Intrinsic Aging – Also because of genetics, we all have inherited an internal clock that regulates the amount of oil we produce. As we get older, because of a drop in hormone levels, everyone tends to get drier. A mistake clients often make is that they find a moisturizer they like at one stage of their life and continue using the same formula even though their skin has changed. Manage this natural change by occasionally re-examining your skin and switching to an appropriately emollient moisturizer for your skin type.
Extrinsic Aging – Sun damage causes changes in your skin that contribute to dryness. Don’t get confused, you may think that small pores mean dry skin and large pores mean oily skin. This is true with younger skins but as we age, our skin tone becomes lax and pores relax. Because of this, a dry mature skin might have large pores. Conversely, dry skin that has had a considerable amount of sun damage, often develops a thick, dull, leathery layer where it becomes almost impossible to even see the pores. In both cases one should look into stepping up their exfoliation program. Try adding Retinol at night to initiate support to firm up the underlying layers as it exfoliates away old unwanted dry skin. If you have that thick, leathery dry skin think about signing up for a series of corrective peels done one a week for six weeks. The results will take years off the look of your skin.
SKIN TIPS FOR DRY SKIN:
- Dry skin types should avoid washing with hot water. Hot water dilates the pores and liquefies and removes what little sebum you have. It also causes evaporation of water, which leaves your skin dehydrated.
- Dry skin types need to preserve the protective surface barrier. This is why choosing the right cleanser is important. Choose a cleanser that is free of harsh surfactants or detergents. The detergents are found in the bubbles. So if your gel cleanser foams a little you probably have a little detergent. If it foams a lot you probably have a lot of detergent. You’re better off choosing a light water soluble milky cleanser that gently emulsifies dirt and makeup instead of stripping it off your skin.
- Dry skin types should use a toner every time they wash their face. Wiping a toner over your skin removes the drying chemicals found in tap water such as chlorine, sodium, fluoride and bacteria. When these chemicals are left on the skin they create a tight, dull, dry surface. This is also an argument against washing with water alone. Every time a client comes to see me who only washes with water their skin is dull and parched and lacks that luminescent glow. The residue from theses chemicals prevents absorption of those important active ingredients you invested in when you purchased that expensive night crème or serum, thus wasting their ability to make positive changes in your skin. Many people are afraid of using toners because they think they’re drying. Just stay away from drying ingredients like alcohol, menthol and traditional witch hazel and opt instead for humectants like seaweed, NaPCA, or glycoproteins.
- Dry skins types need to exfoliate to smooth out the skin and remove those dry, dull surface cells. A scrub may be used one to three times a week depending on the thickness of your skin. When choosing a scrub use a smooth surfaced scrub that that does not contain corn husks, almond or walnut bits or anything else with sharp edges that will be too aggressive and cause damage to delicate skin layers. For best results supplement your physical scrub with a chemical exfoliant. Enzyme based exfoliants are the best choice if your skin is thin and sensitive. If your skin is strong enough to use an Alpha Hydroxy Acid I would advise choosing lactic acid over glycolic acid. Lactic Acid is not only gentler but has a wonderful capacity for holding moisture in the skin. If you have thick, dry, leathery skin you will get a really good exfoliation with a combination of Lactic and Glycolic Acids which will thin out, soften and smooth those thick, leathery layers.
- Try taking Essential Fatty Acids (like fish oils) you can get from the health food store. It may take up to six weeks to see a change but it can step up your body’s ability to produce ceramides and sebum. Fish oils are also great for reducing your skin’s sensitivity.
- Make sure to use a primer or a silicone skin protectorant under your foundation in the morning. This provides an added barrier against harsh environmental conditions as it smoothes out your skin. You will love the luminescent glow it provides and the way it banishes dullness throughout the day.
- Layer on an anti-aging serum to support important collagen and elastin fibers (giving tone to your skin) every time you apply your moisturizer. The idea of layering is key for treating dry skin. If you have dry skin, moisturizer alone may be all too easily drawn into the skin. Past the barrier level it quickly looses its protective and skin conditioning qualities. Layering insures that you will be able to keep your skin conditioned, softened and smoothed. With my dry skin, every night in the winter after I apply Retinol Refinishing Serum I follow with Revitalizing Cell Therapy which is a highly emollient anti-aging treatment that also increased the skin’s ability to super hydrate itself deep within the cells. I finish with my favorite night cream for winter, which is Phytolipid Recovery Crème.
- Choose the right moisturizer for your skin type. Dry Skin needs emollients! These protective ingredients are used to add to that barrier between your skin and the world. Important emollients include Shea Butter, Ceramides, Beeswax, Squalene, and Jojoba Oil. Dry skin needs conditioning to soften that dried out layer. It also needs hydrators and calming ingredients to repair damage that can easily happen when your skin is dry and more vulnerable.
DEHYDRATED SKIN – Refers to a lack of moisture present in your skin. This is more of a skin condition than a skin type. Even though the tendency to become dehydrated is more likely to happen in dry skin, dehydration can occur in any skin type, including oily, combination and even acne prone skin. If your skin is dehydrated it probably feels tight and uncomfortable as parched surface cells break apart from each other. The separation of cells can can cause itching, flaking and give it a crinkly look. Your skin may feel uncomfortable because compromised skin allows irritants to get in and affect sensory nerve endings. When your esthetician looks at it under a magnifying loop the breaks in the skin are obvious. She sees distinct triangular shaped cells separating from each other and crinkling up as she runs her finger over the skin.
WHAT CAUSES DEHYDRATION?
- What are you washing with? This is the most common cause of dehydration. Soaps, foamy cleansers and even washing with plain water will rob your skin of essential moisture. Opt for that water soluble milky cleanser instead.
- Alcohol based toners: If your toner feels cool and tingly after you apply it, it usually means it is evaporating quickly out of your ski and taking moisture with it.
- Too much exfoliation: As much as I love exfoliation, one has to consider the thickness of their skin and carefully choose an exfoliation regime that’s right for them. Let your esthetician guide you to the perfect program for your unique skin type.
- Too strong acne products: Okay, so you’re oily but some of those harsh acne products you’re using are sure to rob your skin of moisture. Keep in mind that dehydrated skin creates a hardened layer that traps in oil and heat which then leads to the proliferation of bacteria.
- Harsh environmental conditions: Both hot, dry air in your home and cold, dry air outside cause dehydration. Never leave your skin unprotected. Outside you should use layer a zinc oxide based sunscreen over a hydrating serum. Hyaluronic Acid in a hydrating serum holds onto up to 1000x’s its weight in water. At night, try placing a humidifier next to your bed to boost moisture in the air around you. When the air is dry never leave your skin unprotected. Moisture starts evaporating within seconds when exposed.
- Not drinking enough water: When I talk about dehydration with my clients, the first thing they comment on is how much water they are drinking. Drinking water is important because your moisturizer’s effectiveness is in part dependent on drawing moisture from underlying circulation. However, during the winter, dehydrated skin is more often a result of environmental causes. So, drink your water, but make sure you are also protecting and hydrating your skin externally.
- Other causes to keep in mind: Caffeine from coffee or soda; the amount of alcoholic beverages you consume and drugs such as antihistamines you may be taking also be dehydrating your skin. Consider making some changes to fight dehydration. When dehydration occurs you can help combats these signs with regular use of a hydrating creme masque, one that doesn’t dry on your skin.)
For dehydrated skin my favorite ingredient is hyaloronic acid, but you should also look for sugars (glyco) and proteins (peptides) they are water loving ingredients you’ll find super effective in the battle against dehydration. Here are some of our favorites.
TOP 5 DRY SKIN PRODUCTS
- Lavender Milk Cleanser: A lavishly rich conditioning cleanser to sooth and instantly soften even the driest, most sun-damaged skin.
- Hawaiian Seaweed Moisture Creme: Red Marine Algae has been exposed to the harshest weather conditions. Let this special seaweed’s defense mechanism recondition your skin.
- Peptide Firming Serum: Mix this firming antioxidant serum with just a few drops of Hydraessence and instantly create a reconditioning, skin transforming treatment.
- Revitalize Cell Therapy: The ultimate in anti-aging technology. New ingredients boost cells ability to uptake moisture through the cell membranes, this keeps skin cells fresher, longer.
- Environmental Protection: Protect yourself from a harsh environmental conditions with a breatherble barrier that Protects and provides a smooth-as-glass finish.
TOP 5 HYDRATING PRODUCTS FOR YOUR SKIN
- Moisture Surge: This new hydra-gel moisture infusion toner contains glycoproteins that act as moisture magnets for your skin.
- Hydraboost Vitamin Creme: Rich moisture & anti-aging vitamins and antioxidants relieve dehydrated skin of tightness without adding excessive oil..
- Hydraessence: Our top moisture boosting treatment serum. Contains hyaluronic acid and soothing cold pressed aloe vera to absolutely drench your skin in moisture.
- Boost: Choose the most hydrating of all AHA’s. Lactic Acid hydrates as it exfoliates away dull, dry cells., leaving skin fresh, smooth and light reflective.
- Coffee Berry Masque: So soothing, this creamy hydrating masque uses the latest antioxidant technology to create softened skin with a moist touchable texture.
Find out more about your skin as you discover wonderfully effective products developed for your unique skin type at http://www.elizabethrenee.com.