find many skincare companies dismiss dry skin.

And their blanket marketing approach is always the same.

Slap on an emollient rich moisturiser with occlusive goodies, and eliminate your dry skin woes forever.

Alas if only life was as simple as smearing on a moisturiser and your good to go.

Those who suffer from dry skin will appreciate; it’s so much more complex than that.


Dry skin is a sign your barrier function is out of whack.

This causes nerve endings to become exposed and surface cells to dry out.

Insufficient lipids between the epidermal cells allow ingredients to penetrate, causing inflammation in the skins tissues.


A lot of things.

Apologies I wish I could be more specific, but there are literally a number of triggers that set of a dry skin.

One theory is that when your cellular turnover becomes impaired, this interferes with desquamation, the way your skin naturally exfoliates.

As we age our skins normal enzymatic activity slows down, preventing the corneocyte cells from separating during desquamation, as a result our skin cells bind together, producing that classic scaly skin that I discuss in the guide to dry skin.

So what causes dry skin? This article will focus on some of the lesser known and more common causes of dry skin, that could be causing your problems:

These are proteins found in the cell membranes.

Their role is to transport water and glycerine to our skin, enhancing trans-epidermal water permeability whilst preventing water loss.

Research has found that a lack of aquaporins in the stratum corneum, can cause a number of problems, including delayed wound healing, a reduction in skin elasticity, and a reduction of glycerol in the skins outer layers, leading to dry, flaky skin.

Scientific research has found that a lack of the protein filaggrin, is one of the main causes of dry skin, an exciting discovery for all you dry skin sufferers out there.

This is a skin condition I discuss in detail in the article Ichthyosis Vulgaris, which brings us one step closer to understanding how to treat a dry skin.

Interestingly this is also derived from filaggrin, its role is to help the stratum corneum to maintain its moisture levels.

If our skin lacks filaggrin, the natural moisturising factor fails to do it job in arid environments, this has a knock on effect increasing the level of dryness and dehydration.

Follow the link to find out about the role of your natural skin moisturiser.


Hyaluronic is a very important component of our skin that depletes with age, this can lead to a reduction in the water holding capacities of the skin, which is why we need to look for formulas that contain fragmented hyaluronic acid to treat dehydration and dryness.

Topical application can help to keep the outer layers of our epidermis nicely hydrated, binding moisture within the skins tissues, keeping it soft and supple.


  • Genetics
  • Smoking
  • Medication
  • Poor lifestyle choices
  • Over exposure to UV
  • Drugs both medicinal or recreational
  • Lack of essential fatty acids
  • Over use of astringent products
  • An imbalance in the skins ceramides
  • Exposure to chemicals and pollutants
  • Poor health, thyroid disease and diabetes
  • Overzealous exfoliation which can cause tiny micro tears
  • Low humidity, unprotected skin rapidly loses water by osmosis to the air
  • Metabolic changes in the skin and hormonal imbalances such as pregnancy
  • Low or high humidity levels and temperature, can make skin become dry and dehydrated
  • The hormone estrogen can influences skin, after menopause this hormone decreases which dries skin out

It is interesting to me as an aesthetician, that a dry skin often takes back stage compared to other skin types.

But as you can see there is a lot going on within a dry skin, which is why it needs to be treated correctly.


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