What is dry skin?
Dry skin is a skin type that produces less sebum (oil) than normal skin. That’s the very simple-and-easy-to-understand explanation of dry skin.
But there’s more to it than that (there always is with skincare, right?).
Besides the skin’s natural oil production being a huge cause of dry skin, another common reason is that dry skin type is a result of a compromised or dysfunctional skin barrier.
“What’s a skin barrier?” you may ask. We’re so happy that you (hypothetically) asked!
The skin barrier is the outermost layer of your skin. You know, its very first line of protection. It’s developed to keep external irritants out, while protecting your body’s water balance (the moisture of the skin, keeping it, well, not dry). So when the skin barrier is compromised, it doesn’t perform as it’s supposed to, making it way easier for moisture to evaporate.
And poof. The moisture is gone. And the dry skin emerges.
Although dry skin can be considered an actual skin condition (if your skin’s natural oil production is dysfunctional), most people will experience dryness temporarily.
Let’s take a closer look at the look and feel of dry skin.
Characteristics of dry skin
You don’t have to be a skincare expert to know that the main sign of dry skin is, well, dry skin.
However, dry skin can come in many different shapes and sizes (isn’t that just great?), so let’s take a look at what you may experience when your skin is especially dry.
Typical signs of dry skin include:
- Flaky patches
- Rough and cracked patches
- A tight feeling across the face
- Ashy looking and dull skin
What causes dry skin?
Now we know what it is and how it looks. Naturally, it’s time to take a look at what causes dry skin. We already know the *how* - the functions within the skin causing it to dry out. But why does it happen?
Dry skin can occur as a result of external or internal factors. Also, some people just have a higher chance of developing dry skin. Stupid genetics.
Here’s a list (yes, another one because we just really love lists) of external and internal factors that can have an impact on your skin’s dryness:
External factors may include:
- Lack of moisture in the air. This is a complicated way of saying that the winter season causes the skin to dry out because the air is less humid.
- Harmful chemicals. Cigarettes are a good example here, since nicotine reduces the blood flow which can potentially lead to dry skin.
- Excessive hand washing. This applies especially to people with jobs that require you to wash hands frequently or use harsh chemicals (such as nurses, housekeepers, hairdressers, cooks etc).
Internal factors may be:
- Genetic predisposition. You may be one of the less fortunate ones in the oil-production department, and be genetically designed to produce less oil.
- Age. As we get older, the skin starts to produce less oil. We also tend to lose skin elasticity, leading to a thinner skin barrier which makes us more prone to dry skin (you remember the whole section about the skin barrier, right?).
- Chronic skin conditions. Psoriasis and eczema are two of the most common skin conditions, both with dry, red, itchy, flaky patches as their signature characteristics. If you’re dealing with these skin conditions, you’re usually more prone to dry skin as well.
We’re done listing things now. We promise.
How to get rid of dry skin
Or… How to take care of dry skin. Because you’ll most likely not be completely rid of it if you’re currently dealing with it. But you can help it be less dry.
The approach we recommend is to moisturise - and then moisturise some more.
When it comes to finding the right skincare, it’s essential to understand your skin’s needs. This goes for all skin types, not just dry skin. So look for products that are made for dry skin and have ingredients beneficial for dry skin (remember that you don’t have to look for anything yourself with NØIE - we do all the looking for you with our customised skincare 😉 ).
A good advice is to always listen to your skin (we know it doesn’t talk, but it will for sure express itself very visually when there’s something it likes or dislikes).
Generally, we recommend cleansing and moisturising, but be careful not to overdo it (as cleansing can be quite drying to the skin and we don’t want anymore of that when we have dry skin). We usually recommend cleansing twice a day, but if your skin is extremely dry, you may wanna skip the morning cleanse and instead just splash with water (as long as you’ve cleansed properly in the evening, that is). But again, listen to your skin. However, you shouldn’t skip the evening cleanse, as this is the time to get rid of all the dirt that’s been building up during the day. Also, clean skin makes for better penetration of the rest of your skincare products.
Follow up with a moisturiser with ingredients that attract moisture such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin. You can round it all up by exfoliating with an AHA. Since flakiness is a common symptom of dry skin, using an exfoliator is a gentle way to get rid of the dead skin cells and prep the skin for the moisturiser.
While it’s always good to know what to look for in your products, it’s equally important to be aware of what you should avoid. Some skincare products contain drying agents that can make your dry skin worse. So as a good rule of thumb, avoid products with alcohols, artificial fragrances, and colourants, as these tend to dry out the skin.
If you’re dealing with dry skin and can’t navigate your way through the skincare jungle of ingredients, you’re in the right place. We make customised skincare based on your skin’s specific needs. Pretty cool, huh? Just take the skin test below and see what we’d recommend for you 👇