Maybe your standby moisturizer is letting you down right now. Maybe you have been trying to find a moisturizer to give your dry winter skin relief with no success. There is more to a good moisturizer than how it looks and feels on the skin. This can be why the moisturizer your friend swears by does nothing for you. When it comes to finding the right moisturizer for your skin, it is skin deep!
A quick lesson on why skin may feel dry -
- lack of surface hydration
- compromised skin barrier
- irritation from the environment
- irritation from topical products or treatments
Lack of Surface Hydration
The most simple explanation for this issue is your skin is lacking the ideal combination of water and oil on the surface. When our skin is producing the ideal amount of both, we are one of the lucky few who will describe our skin as "comfortable". Not too dry, not too oily. When skin is not doing this for us, we feel tight and dry. That's when topical ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, squalane, and sodium hyaluronate, as a few examples, are preferred. These types of ingredients are hydrating as they bind water from the atmosphere to our skin. I like to think of them as a little greenhouse for added humidity to the skin.
Compromised Skin Barrier
This situation causes a bit of a different issue for our skin. If you have ever felt like you can't get relief from the creamiest, richest of moisturizers or as if your morning application of moisturizer doesn't give you relief throughout the day, then you may have a moisture barrier in need of some TLC. Or rather some CLF...ceramides...lipids...fatty acids. These are some of the natural building blocks our skin produces and releases through healthy skin cell regeneration. When something goes awry with the manufacturing process, our skin isn't building a barrier that can keep our skin comfortable throughout the day or night. The richest cream won't help if this barrier function isn't working as intended.
Think of this as anything from sun exposure, to dry heated indoor air, and even pollutants around us. When our skin is bombarded with irritants it isn't going to function in an optimal manner. The skin barrier mentioned above helps keep these irritants from reaching deeper levels of our skin, so restoring the healthy function of the moisture barrier can help. Antioxidants are able to neutralize some of these reactive oxygen species (ROS) that make up pollutants and that can wreak havoc on our skin's comfort.
What We Do To or Use On Our Skin
Contributing to environment irritation can be fragrances, both natural and unnatural, and indoor air pollution from things such as fireplaces. Beyond that we can cause a disruption in our skin's natural moisture balance with ingredients such as retinoids and aesthetic treatments like chemical peels. This temporary discomfort is well worth the trade off in better-looking and healthier-acting skin. Knowing that these things can cause some significant dryness for some people means you want good advice on what to use and how to moisturize your skin in the meantime. This may mean introducing an occlusive healing balm for a short time. These products can help to create a strong barrier and retain moisture while the skin is adjusting to the active ingredients or repairing during the healing process.
Of course, year round sun protection habits make a big difference in not only protecting skin overall, but also to keep some of these specific skin dryness disruptions at a minimum.
Finally, not all skin dryness is caused by the issues described above. There can be medical reasons you skin is inflamed, flaky, itchy, and dry. It is always best to see a dermatologist for a diagnosis and treatment plan, if that is the case. Allergy Patch Testing can also help if there is a suspicion that certain ingredients are causing issues for skin. Our dermatologists at Vanguard Skin Specialists can be helpful when you are uncertain on what is going on with your skin dryness. To make an appointment with them, please call 719-355-1585.
For a skin analysis and a review of how your skin may benefit and experience relief from dryness, a free VISIA consultation can be a good starting point. You can schedule that appointment by calling clara by Vanguard at 719-579-5555.