Skin barrier disorders are a widely spread phenomenon today.
Most frequently, the symptoms are dry and sensitive skin.
We all dream of beautiful, healthy skin.
Of having that outward glow that others perceive as a luminous, radiant complexion.
On the flip side, when our skin is compromised, it can appear dry, flaky, scaly, and irritated.
Yet those of you who experience dry skin will know – correcting the imbalance is easier said than done.
Q: Why does my skin become so dry?
A: To answer this, we are going to have to get a bit technical, so please bear with us.
It was once thought that dry skin was an easy skin type to treat, but through our own experience of treating literally thousands of clients in the clinic, we appreciate that dry skin is incredibly complex and tricky to treat.
A growing body of research has found that the key to skin health is in the stratum corneum – our outermost layer of skin – which acts as a barrier between your skin and the outside world; this stratum corneum is made up of skin cells that are packed closely together.
Plump, healthy cells start in the lower layers of the skin – the dermis – and travel towards the surface. Here, they form an important barrier, keeping moisture locked in and irritants out.
Occasionally, this barrier fails us, allowing bacteria and viruses to penetrate, allowing water to evaporate much faster than usual. In return, your skin can easily become dry, dehydrated, and sensitive.
When your skin’s barrier is disrupted, it is no longer protected from environmental stressors and pollution, and it loses its ability to protect and defend itself.
Q: Can dry skin be a result of a lack of oil and/or water?
A: Your skin can be one of two things: if it is lipid dry, then it lacks oil; however, if it lacks water, then your skin is dehydrated.
This is a common skincare mistake that is often overlooked by manufacturers, yet needs to be taken into careful consideration, especially if you really want to get the desired outcome for dry skin.
If your skin is oil-dry, you need good oil-based products, occlusives, and emollients to treat it.
If your skin is water-dry, then you require humectant-based formulas. Dehydration is a huge subject to cover, so we created a whole article for you to read, “The Clear Skin Difference: It Begins With Hydration.”
Q: How should I treat my dry skin concerns?
A: We recommend using a two-pronged approach:
First, treat it from the “outside-in”. The “outside” is the stratum corneum, and the “in” are the therapeutic effects that start in the stratum corneum and work their way into the deeper layers.
Secondly, please treat it with products that contain a composition of ingredients that resemble the membrane structure of your natural skin’s barrier. This makes sense when you think of how the stratum corneum naturally contains ingredients that become compromised over time:
- fatty Acids & NMF Cholesterol
All of these combine to form your skin’s protective barrier.
Q: What Ingredients should I use to improve dry skin?
A: The Naked Chemist range contains many active products that are encapsulated in liposomes, the vehicles which take the active ingredients past the stratum corneum into the deeper layers.
Due to their ability to mimic the core components of the skin, these liposomes can permeate through the skin’s barrier; enabling penetration of active ingredients and providing accurate, responsive delivery. The liposomes also protect the active agents from any possible breakdown before entering the skin cell’s bilayers.
If you feel that your skin is water dry or both, then you require a combination of lipid products as discussed above and humectant-based products. Both H₂O Hydrating Complex and Quench Ultra-hydrating Water Gel act like tiny moisture magnets, fully replenishing a dehydrated, depleted skin type.
Q: Are there ingredients I should be avoiding?
A: One of the major problems for the skin is surface-active substances such as soaps and cleansing agents. They wash the natural fatty substances and acids out of the skin, forming holes in the structure of the barrier layers; this is one of the reasons we created Miracle Cleanse, a completely clean, green formula that protects as it cleanses.
There are some really drying ingredients that you should steer clear of:
- preservatives and parabens
- fragrances can penetrate the skin and are the number one cause of dryness and irritation
- silicones initially create a superficial smooth feeling on the skin but can be very drying
- mineral oils affect the natural activity of the skin, preventing it from producing its own protective substances
When your products are free of these ingredients, it allows the beneficial ingredients to fully penetrate, which have both a proactive and positive effect on your skin. Having a chance to regenerate and re-balance allows natural hydration levels to increase, and the barrier to fully repair – literally giving your skin what it needs to maintain a state of harmony.
So, we have seen from this article, to treat dry skin correctly, you first need to establish if you have lipid dry, or water dry skin.
When you treat your skin correctly with a well thought out skincare routine for dry skin, your skin is balanced – this will help to keep your all-important barrier function intact, which in turn means your skin will stay in a healthy state of equilibrium.
We recommend treating it with products that contain a composition of ingredients that resemble the membrane structure of your skin’s natural barrier, with ingredients like ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterol, phospholipids, triglycerides, and squalane.
These are ingredients that your skin fully recognizes as its own, that will easily work their way into the deeper layers, which makes sense when you think of how the stratum corneum naturally contains ingredients that become compromised over time.
Preventative products with intelligent ingredients like those outlined above, combine to form your protective barrier, keep inflammation out, ward off premature ageing – keeping your skin happy, healthy and balanced.