Dryness and dehydration

Dryness and dehydration

All skin types are affected by dehydration. In order to regain long-lasting protection and comfort, water balance must be restored.

Doctor's opinion

Questions / Answers
  • Dehydrated skin is dull and lackluster. It is rough to the touch and streaked with dehydration lines. It is weak and lacks suppleness.

  • Two causes :
    - Lack in water with less than 10% water in the upper skin layer (stratum corneum).
    - Alteration of the barrier function

  • Aside from skin disorders, two types of factors are responsible for dry skin:
    • External factors : - Climatic: Wind, cold, too much sun, lack of moisture in the air (air conditioner, heat) - Chemical: Harsh cleansers, topical medical treatments, ill-suited cosmetics - Mechanical: Shaving and hair removal.
    • Internal factors : - Physiological: Skin aging - Pathological: Skin diseases that alter the skin barrier functio

  • Yes, although it is not the only issue: You cannot rehydrate the skin’s superficial layer by just drinking water or wetting the skin. Lipids (fats) are also necessary for the moisture to stick.

  • Yes, it is one of the causes of dry skin. Sun exposure is an aggression (burn). The skin reacts by making pigments (the tan) and getting thicker. The dryness is transitory, caused by an increase in water loss.

  • Yes. Certain waters have a high level of limestone: They are called “hard” waters. They can worsen the drying effect of cleansers. One can either soften the water by using specific devices or use ultra-rich products.

  • The goal is to nourish and moisturize the skin while reducing aggressions and irritations. For cleansing, avoid soaps, use bars or ultra-rich gels instead, enriched in protecting and moisturizing ingredients. For moisturizing, emollients moisturize and nourish the skin while ensuring a good cohesion of the epidermis, necessary for the proper functioning of the protective skin barrier. It is important to use emollients often, ideally on a daily basis.

Dryness and dehydration

About 60% of the entire human body, including the dermis, is made up of water. This is not the case for the epidermis, which has a surface layer acting as an interface between the very humid inner environment and the outside air which is much drier. The epidermis contains 20 to 30% water and its outermost layer, the stratum corneum, contains 10 to 20%. This stratum corneum has a particular structure, often compared to a wall made of bricks (the corneocytes) and cement (the intercellular lipids), which prevents water from evaporating from the body.

What is dehydrated skin?
Whether you have naturally dry, combination, normal or oily skin, it can become dehydrated by environmental aggression.

Skin type
Certain types of skin are naturally better hydrated or less dry than others. Dry skin, whether simple xeroses, xeroses from atopic dermatitis, or ichthyosis, contains much less water than normal skin. This dryness is caused by irregularities in lipid (ceramides) or protein metabolism (proteases, filaggrin) or even by epidermal differentiation problems.

  •  “Ordinary” dry skin:
  • Simple xeroses are the most common. These are easily corrected by applying emollients.
  • Senile xerosis: is more pronounced on the limbs.
  • Winter xerosis occurs when simple xerosis is intensified with cold and wind.
  • Induced xerosis refers to skin dehydrated by cleansing products that contain overly harsh surfactants (soaps). In the same way, irritant treatments (retinoids, fruit acid) dry out the skin.
  • Dry skin disorders:
  • Atopic xerosis: atopic dermatitis or infantile eczema includes dryness of the skin that is more or less intense. Linked to structural irregularities in the epidermis, this type of dryness is responsible for the penetration of allergens and for water loss through the epidermis.
  • Ichthyoses: these are rare genetic or acquired diseases, with varying severity
  • Some severe nutritional deficiencies can provoke or worsen dryness of the skin.
  • Some general diseases can cause the skin to become dry.
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