Dry skin can be a temporary condition or a lifelong concern. Dry skin can be genetically determined or a product of an increasingly stressful lifestyle coupled with continual exposure to the sun, wind and chemicals in the environment. It can also be caused by the use of poor quality skin care products.
It becomes extremely important that skin care professionals are highly trained in properly diagnosing dry, dehydrated skin for the most effective treatment and being able to recommend an effective product regimen.
Dry Skin vs. Dehydration
Dry skin may be one of the most common client complaints, especially when working with mature clients. The first step in addressing this problem is to differentiate between dryness and dehydration. It is important to separate these two issues in order to determine their potential causes. Once this has been done, the whole picture can be evaluated to develop an effective treatment plan. There will often be overlap, and the two issues usually impact one another directly. Fortunately, there are a range of modalities available from traditional treatments to cutting-edge technologies to help comfort and treat both dry and dehydrated skin.
Dehydration can lead to complex health issues. Anyone can run out of liquids in their body due to various reasons. It is important that you always keep yourself hydrated with water.
What Is Dehydration?
Water makes up at least two-thirds of the human body. It plays a large part in lubricating your joints and eyes, keeping your skin healthy by eliminating toxins, and facilitating proper digestion. Once the water in your body is reduced, it needs to be replaced because an imbalance between the salts and sugar in your body can affect your health.
If your body has lost one to two percent of its entire water content, you will feel thirsty, a sign that you need to replenish the lost liquids.
Dehydration happens when you’ve lost too much water in your body without replacing it, preventing your body to perform its normal functions. Mild dehydration can easily be treated but if it reaches extreme levels, it can be life-threatening and will require immediate medical attention.
Dry, or Dehydrated Skin?
Before addressing the causes, it’s important to know the difference between dry and dehydrated skin.
- Dry skin, or alipoid skin, generally refers to skin that is lacking in oil
- Dehydrated skin is characterized by lack of moisture in the Stratum Corneum
Even oily skin can experience dehydration. As mentioned, dehydration is a lack of water, not oil. This means sebaceous oil activity can still be normal or even overactive in dehydrated skin.
Both dry and dehydrated skin can experience:
- Irritation, inflammation, itchiness and sensitivity
- A feeling of tightness or tautness
- A look or feel of roughness
- Slight to severe flaking and scaling
- Fine lines, severe redness and cracks that can sometimes bleed
Indications and Appearance of Dry Skin
Dry skin is related to oil production. Some skin types are genetically predisposed to produce inadequate oil production. This leads to chronic dryness, or skin may become dry as oil production decreases with age.
Skin with normal oil production will have a light hydrolipid film composed of oil, as well as perspiration and moisture from the air. The t-zone may produce more oil than other areas. Commonly, clients observe oil in the t-zone and believe that they have overactive oil production. Many believe that skin with no oil is the healthiest. Many people with normal oil production resort to stripping their skin with harsh cleansers in order to remove all traces of it. It is important to understand that this oily film keeps skin properly protected and hydrated.
Dry skin presents itself when the hydro-lipid film is lacking or nonexistent. Dry skin might appear tight, dull and may show signs of premature aging. This dryness and lack of barrier function is a leading cause of skin dehydration. With no protective barrier the skin is susceptible to transepi-dermal water loss (TEWL). In this case, even if enough water is being consumed, the skin will be unable to retain that hydration. According to international esthetic educator, Florence Barrett-Hill: “There is a simple law of physics that can be applied to TEWL and that is: Oil sits on top of water. Logically, if we wanted to retain water within the epidermis or to slow down water movement, the oil phases of the skin are the key to achieving this.”
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
Aside from the common symptoms like intense thirst or sweating too much, here are some of the mild and severe symptoms of dehydration:
Mild to Moderate Dehydration
- Dry, Sticky mouth
- Sleepiness or tiredness
- Dry skin
- Few or no tears when crying
- Minimal urine
- Dry, cool skin
- Muscle cramps
- Extreme thirst
- Irritability and confusion
- Sunken eyes
- Dry skin that doesn’t bounce back when you pinch it
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- No tears when crying
- Little or no urination and any urine color that is darker than usual
The Top Causes of Dry, Dehydrated Skin:
1. Intrinsic Aging
Intrinsic aging is the normal process of physical change over time. This is more about genetics than lifestyle. (Lifestyle-induced aging is known as premature or extrinsic aging.) Sebaceous gland activity tends to decrease with age and the skin’s natural hydrators decline over the years. The skin’s ability to regenerate lipids comprising the protective lipid barrier layer of the Stratum Corneum also declines with age, as does blood flow to the skin, which may cause a drop in sebum production.
2. Weather / Environmental Elements
Prolonged exposure to the sun causes water to evaporate from skin, which is why sunburned skin requires more moisture than unexposed areas. Cold winds, air conditioning, forced air heating and low temperatures can also dry out skin and contribute to premature aging.
The trend of fat-free diets can deprive our bodies of skin-friendly Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). This deficiency can result in chronic itching, dryness, scaling, thinning and can lead to an imbalance in prostaglandins (chemical messengers that do many things, such as control inflammation).
Excess intake of alcoholic beverages and certain medications (such as nasal decongestants) can also contribute to dry skin or dehydrated skin.
Hydrate Your Skin!
One of the biggest consequences of dry, dehydrated skin is an increase in sensitivity. Addressing it quickly can help stave off issues of skin sensitization. However, don’t immediately gravitate towards prescribing super-emollient cleansers and creams. Emollient products could aggravate dehydrated skin that is also classified as oily. A thorough skin analysis is your ultimate tool in the successful treatment of this challenging skin condition.
The bottom line is keep hydrated, stay away from fat free products and protect your skin with moisturizers. Nayelle Hydrate was design to nourish your skin while moisturizing it at the same time. We welcome you to give it a try for yourself.