What is dry skin?
Dry skin can be identified in degrees.
It is possible to have normal skin that is in good health, but which is “naturally dry”.
- A case of “simple” dry skin is called xerosis.
Some of us have skin that is naturally drier than others, and this worsens with age. Dry, cold winter weather, and also wind and sun are skin-drying factors. Certain cleansing and skin care products are also harmful to the epidermis since they contain surfactants with detergent, irritant effects.
- Abnormal skin with a thickened epidermis, continuous desquamation and the formation of large flakes indicates a case of ichthyosis.
- With eczema, and particularly with atopic dermatitis, the skin becomes pale and dry.
- In rare cases, nutritional deficiencies (vitamins, magnesium or fatty acids) can aggravate dryness.
- Several skin diseases require treatments with a drying effect (e.g. acne).
Advice from your doctor
Dry skin needs attentive analysis. Rare ichthyoses should be instantly eliminated, and atopic dermatitis should be treated early.
In the case of an isolated skin problem, this can be corrected by eliminating harsh skin care products and by using a moisturizing cream.
If this does not apply to you, your dermatologist will recommend a specific treatment along with specific hydration methods.
Not all moisturizing creams have the same mechanism of action. In terms of active principles, there are three main methods of skin hydration:
- The occlusive method using products that are usually very oily, for example with a Vaseline base, which form an occlusive film on the surface of the epidermis and allows water to be retained within the horny layer.
- The emollient method using formulas with a glycerin, urea or lactic acid base, which give the skin natural moisture components.
- The physiological method using formulas containing fatty acids, sterols and ceramides, which provide lipids similar to those contained in the uppermost layer of the epidermis, compensating for the deficiency.
The researchers that develop these products usually combine several active principles in order to optimize the mechanisms of action.
Your dermatologist will help you choose the best product, or line of products for your problem.
Always remember that regular use is necessary: moisturizing products must be applied daily to maintain efficacy.