Portrait of young woman with half of dry skin and another half with smooth skin concept of skincareI find many skincare companies dismiss dry skin.

Their blanket marketing approach is always the same.

Slap on our emollient rich moisturiser with occlusive goodies, and you can 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, causing nerve endings to become exposed and surface cells to dry out.

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


Many 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 our 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, a subject I discuss in detail in the article Ichthyosis Vulgaris, bringing 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 the skin lacks filaggrin our NMF fails to improve in arid environments, which increases it’s level of dryness and dehydration, follow the link to find out more about our natural skin moisturiser.

This is a natural humectant and whilst it is more to do with dehydration then an oil dry skin, it is still worth a mention.

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
  • Medications
  • Poorly treated skin
  • Lack of essential fatty acids
  • Over use of astringent products
  • An imbalance in the skins ceramides
  • Exposure to chemicals and detergents
  • Poor health, thyroid disease and diabetes
  • Low humidity, unprotected skin rapidly loses water by osmosis to the air
  • Over exposure to the sun, pollution and many other environmental factors
  • Metabolic changes in the skin and hormonal imbalances such as pregnancy
  • Lifestyle drugs both medicinal or recreational, including topical and systemic retinoids
  • Ageing, our sudoriferous glands becoming less active with age, causing skin to become dry
  • Low or high humidity levels and temperature, such as dry heat in winter, air conditioning in summer
  • The hormone estrogen also influences dry skin, after menopause this hormone substantially decreases
  • Over stimulation from incorrectly performed treatments, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels or overzealous exfoliation

It is interesting to me as an aesthetician that a dry skin often takes back stage compared to other skin types, because as you can see, there is a lot going on within a dry skin.

Now you know what causes dry skin, you want to be sure that you are treating it effectively.

Follow the link to find out how to treat your dry skin.


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