In the second half of our definitive two-part guide to dry skin, we take a look at the foundations of effective dry skin care, along with the professional treatment options available for combating prolonged and severe dry skin.
Common Myths and Misconceptions About Dry Skin
While most people believe they know a thing or two about dry skin, it’s not always as straightforward as most would expect. As with many common skin complaints, misguided assumptions and outright myths can unknowingly lead people down entirely the wrong path, where preventing and treating dry skin is concerned.
A few examples of these common misunderstandings:
Myth 1: Dry Skin Only Occurs in Winter
One of the most widespread myths about dry skin is that it only occurs during the winter months. While cold weather can exacerbate dry skin symptoms due to low humidity levels and increased exposure to indoor heating systems, dry skin is a year-round concern.
Factors such as hot showers, harsh soaps and excessive sun exposure can also contribute to dryness regardless of the season. It’s essential to adapt your skincare routine to address dryness effectively, no matter the time of year.
Myth 2: Drinking More Water Alone Will Hydrate Your Skin
While staying adequately hydrated is vital for overall health, drinking more water alone might not directly solve dry skin issues. Dry skin is primarily caused by a compromised skin barrier that fails to retain moisture effectively. External factors such as harsh weather, excessive cleansing and using products with irritants can further weaken the skin’s barrier.
Hydrating from within can support skin health, but it’s equally important to use appropriate moisturisers and skincare products that help lock in moisture and repair the skin’s barrier.
Myth 3: Oily Skin Can’t Be Dry
It’s a common misconception that individuals with oily skin are immune to dryness. In reality, it’s possible to have oily skin and still experience dry patches or overall skin dryness. Oily skin refers to an overproduction of sebum, the skin’s natural oil.
This excess oil might create a greasy appearance on the skin’s surface, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the skin is effectively retaining moisture. Using non-comedogenic moisturisers can help balance oily skin and prevent dry areas.
Myth 4: Scrubbing Excessively Removes Dry Skin
Scrubbing the skin vigorously with exfoliants or harsh scrubs might seem like a logical solution to remove dry, flaky skin. However, excessive scrubbing can worsen the situation. Over-exfoliation can damage the skin’s protective barrier, leading to increased dryness, redness and even irritation.
Instead, opt for gentle exfoliation methods like chemical exfoliants with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Remember to follow up with a hydrating moisturiser to help the skin recover.
Myth 5: All Moisturisers Are the Same
Not all moisturisers are created equal and selecting the right one for dry skin requires careful consideration. Thick, occlusive moisturisers are often more effective for severely dry skin, as they create a barrier that prevents water loss. By contrast, lighter lotions are suitable for milder cases of dryness.
Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerine, ceramides and fatty acids, which help restore the skin’s natural moisture balance. Tailoring your choice of moisturiser to your specific skin needs can make a significant difference in managing dry skin.
Myth 6: Hot Showers Are Good for Dry Skin
While a hot shower can be soothing, it’s important to be mindful of water temperature and duration, especially if you have dry skin. Prolonged exposure to hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils and worsen dryness.
Use lukewarm water and limit your shower or bath time to around 10 minutes. Afterwards, gently pat your skin dry and apply a moisturiser to seal in moisture while your skin is still slightly damp.
Myth 7: Natural Oils Alone Can Cure Dry Skin
Natural oils like coconut oil, olive oil and almond oil have gained popularity as home remedies for dry skin. While these oils can provide temporary relief, they might not be enough to fully address the underlying causes of dryness.
In some cases, certain oils can even clog pores and lead to breakouts. If you choose to use oils, apply them after using a water-based moisturiser to trap the moisture and create a protective barrier.
The Foundations of Effective Dry Skin Care: Keeping it Simple
When it comes to caring for dry skin, simplicity is your greatest ally. By focusing on a few key aspects of skincare, you can create an effective routine that helps restore and maintain your skin’s natural moisture balance.
The most important foundations of effective dry skin care are as follows:
- Gentle Cleansing
Choose a mild, hydrating cleanser that cleans your skin without stripping away its natural oils. Harsh cleansers can exacerbate dryness, so look for products labelled “gentle” or “hydrating.”
- Hydration is Key
The cornerstone of dry skin care is moisture. Use a high-quality, fragrance-free moisturiser daily, both in the morning and before bed. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerine and ceramides, which help lock in moisture.
- Avoid Hot Water
Hot water can further dry out your skin by disrupting its natural barrier. Stick to lukewarm water when cleansing and bathing and try to keep your shower time relatively short.
Gently exfoliate once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells that can contribute to dryness. Choose a mild exfoliant with ingredients like lactic acid or gentle scrubs and avoid overdoing it, as excessive exfoliation can worsen dryness.
- Sun Protection
Even on cloudy days, UV rays can damage your skin and worsen dryness. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily to shield your skin from the sun’s harmful effects.
- Hydrating Masks
Incorporate hydrating face masks into your routine once a week. These masks provide an extra boost of moisture and nourishment to your skin.
- Healthy Lifestyle
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. A well-hydrated body is more likely to have well-hydrated skin.
- Avoid Harsh Products
Stay away from products containing alcohol, fragrances and strong chemicals, as these can irritate and further dry out your skin. Stick with products labelled as “suitable for sensitive skin” where possible.
- Humidify Your Environment
During the colder months, indoor heating can suck moisture from the air, contributing to dry skin. Use a humidifier in your living spaces to maintain a more comfortable and moisturised environment.
- Consult With a Professional
If your dry skin persists despite your efforts, consider consulting a dermatologist. They can provide personalised advice and recommend products or treatments tailored to your skin’s needs.
Professional Treatment Options for Chronic or Extensive Dry Skin
Where skin dryness becomes particularly problematic, the solution may lie in one of many technologically advanced, non-surgical treatment options. Beyond everyday topicals and prescription medication, a broad range of procedures can be performed to address issues with dry skin at the source.
Examples of these include:
1. Hyaluronic Acid Infusion
This precision treatment harnesses the unique moisture-retaining properties of hyaluronic acid. Through a series of minimally invasive micro-injections, this natural compound is introduced into the skin. It attracts and retains water, effectively boosting hydration levels and enhancing the skin’s elasticity. Hyaluronic acid infusions are suitable for all skin types and are particularly beneficial for rejuvenating dry, lacklustre complexions.
A gentle yet highly effective exfoliation technique, microdermabrasion employs fine crystals or a diamond-tipped wand to remove dead skin cells. By eliminating this superficial layer, the procedure promotes cell turnover and stimulates collagen production. It’s a popular option for individuals with mild dryness and flakiness, effectively unveiling fresher, more supple skin.
3. Chemical Peels
Chemical peels utilise carefully formulated solutions to exfoliate the skin’s surface layers. They encourage the removal of dead cells and prompt the emergence of healthier, hydrated skin underneath. Depending on the severity of dryness, different peel strengths can be selected. From superficial to medium-depth peels, they cater to various skin concerns, including dryness and dullness.
4. Laser Skin Rejuvenation
Fractional laser treatments, such as fractional CO2 or erbium lasers, work by creating controlled micro-injuries in the skin. This process initiates natural healing mechanisms, stimulating collagen and elastin production. It’s an ideal choice for addressing deeper dryness issues, fine lines and overall skin texture irregularities.
5. Oxygen Facials
This soothing treatment involves a gentle stream of pressurised oxygen infused with vitamins, minerals and hyaluronic acid. By delivering essential nutrients directly into the skin, oxygen facials enhance hydration and promote a radiant complexion. They’re suitable for those with mild to moderate dry skin, providing instant nourishment and hydration.
6. Radiofrequency (RF) Therapy
RF treatments employ controlled energy to heat the deeper layers of the skin. This thermal energy stimulates collagen production, promoting skin tightening and improved texture. For those with dry skin and mild sagging, RF therapy offers a non-surgical avenue to restore a more youthful appearance.
This technique involves micro-injections of customised cocktails of vitamins, minerals and hyaluronic acid. The formula is directly delivered to the targeted area, enhancing skin hydration and promoting cellular rejuvenation. Mesotherapy is versatile and can be tailored to address specific dry skin concerns.
8. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy
While primarily known for its ability to effectively treat hyperpigmentation and vascular issues, IPL therapy can also improve overall skin texture and hydration. The light energy stimulates collagen synthesis and can alleviate dryness by encouraging healthier skin growth.
9. Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
PRP utilises your own blood’s concentrated platelets, rich in growth factors, to stimulate collagen production and skin repair. PRP injections can effectively treat dryness, particularly when combined with other treatments to maximise results.
10. Ultrasound Therapy
Ultrasound treatments employ sound waves to stimulate collagen production and improve skin elasticity. They’re suitable for mild to moderate dryness and work by rejuvenating the deeper layers of the skin.
Making the Right Choice
In all instances, the suitability of the above treatments will always vary in accordance with an individual’s specific skin concerns, skin type, medical history and physiology. It is therefore important to openly discuss all available options with your practitioner, in order to ensure you make a confident and informed decision.
Book Your Obligation-Free Consultation
Whether looking to tackle a longstanding issue or concerned regarding the manifestation of dry skin or anywhere on your body, we would be delighted to provide you with an obligation-free consultation at your convenience.
During this, your consultant will conduct an examination of the affected area, provide pressure-free recommendations for potential treatment options and offer the objective advice you need to make the right choice.
For more information or to discuss any of the treatments we provide in more detail, contact a member of the team at The Body Work Clinic today.