Dry skin is a quite common skin condition. It requires more care and treatment because it is very sensitive to harmful effects. Besides, this skin type ages quickly. Dryness happens due to low activity of the sebaceous glands and intense dehydration. In fact, young women’s skin looks awesome even if it’s dry: it is velvet, thin, smooth, and matte. Later, especially, when the skin gets poor nourishment or improper care, it gets even drier, flaky, and loses its elasticity. Besides, wrinkles usually appear early enough if a person has xerosis (medical term for dry skin).
Typically, dry skin is of light pink color. It’s thin, often scaly, flaky, and super sensitive to environmental factors. Water and soap are no good for it either. Excessive dryness of skin can be hereditary or acquired. It may be, for example, a result of a poor skincare routine, improper washing techniques, lousy creams, long-lasting application of scrubs, peeling and freckle removing creams. All of these may damage and have a negative affect on the skin. Then, less natural oil is produced; the sweat glands activity weakens, so oil doesn’t properly cover the skin surface. As there is not enough natural oil, the outer layer of the skin becomes unprotected and easily loses moisture through evaporation. The dry layer of skin peels off, and the new layer is still unprotected, therefore the loss moisture and dryness keeps going on. Generally, the dryness of the skin can be noticed more in the winter than in the summer.
Dryness of the skin may occur due to vitamin deficiency, disorders of nervous system, the use of soap, long presence in front of hot ovens or prolonged sun exposure. Dry skin is aging much faster; it is more sensitive to mechanical, thermal, and chemical irritants.
The dehydration process is increased by negative factors, such as the wind, cold temperatures, extreme dry/hot air, excessive sunbathing, smoking, and unhealthy lifestyles. Contact with chlorinated water, salty sea water, lotions with alcohol, highly alkaline soaps, high-factor peelings and lack of vitamins (first of all, A and C) may cause damage to the skin.
Tips for Dry Skin Care
1. Cosmetic products containing highly concentrated surfactants (foaming face wash gels) should not be used. They destroy lipid structures in the epidermis. Wash your face only with products for dry skin: cleansing milk with a high level of unsaturated fats and waxes, hydrophilic cleansers (hydrogenated sesame oil, hazelnut oil, avocado oil, etc.), creams for removing makeup. Start by washing off the makeup with water. Then use a toner suitable for your skin type. Washing your face with infusions prepared from chamomile, peppermint, aloe, marigold, and comfrey is very good for dry skin too. You can wipe the face with flaxseed infusion or marshmallow root tea. You can prepare herbal teas and infusions at home: just add a tablespoon of herbs into a cup of boiling water and let steep for 15 minutes.
2. Petroleum-based cosmetics, such as Vaseline, ceresin, ozokerite, should not be used: they form a dense film on the skin, which prevents natural barrier from recovering. Such components can even cause harm to people with healthy skin.
3. Deep-cleansing products should be extremely delicate when used on dry skin. Facial scrubs, for example, must consist of soft granules (e.g., jojoba). Masks with too high fruit acids concentration, as well as film masks, should be totally excluded. The reason is that acid fruits dry out the facial skin even more. Consequently, its irritability will be increased while the skins’ protective barriers will be reduced. Film masks will stretch the skin.
4. The lipid barrier recovery represents an important skin care measure. This protective barrier may be restored by-products, which contain cholesterol, ceramides, and free unsaturated fatty acids. For dry skin, the main challenge of cosmetics is to recover the lipid metabolism and to protect skin from the harmful effects of the environment.
Cosmetic Products for Dry Skin
Makeup removing milk or cream. Instead of a cleansing milk, you can use special cleansers made of hydrophilic oils. They remove makeup very well and do not over-dry the skin. You can also use gels for sensitive skin, which contain extracts of algae, azulene, bisabolol, evening primrose oil, black currant oil, etc.
Alcohol-free toner. The composition generally includes proteins of silk and wheat, vitamins, extracts of wheat germs and seaweeds, collagen (typically, the marine one).
Creams with Collagen and Elastin are useful for very dry skin or for severely damaged normal skin: they restore skin tonicity and smooth out wrinkles. Collagen must be stabilized, secured into the body. This process requires pycnogenol or grape seed extract, kelps and seaweeds, which also help to maintain the skin tonicity. Lecithin enables fatty acids to be discharged and spread over the skin surface. For information about the composition and formulations of a cream, you can check out either the package insert or the ingredients label, which is on the package too.
Day cream as the base for make-up. It should be a soft emulsion that is quickly absorbed into the skin and forms a protective film on its surface. Day cream contains moistening agents (hyaluronic acid, sorbitol, and milk proteins), vitamins, antioxidants, extracts of oats, wheat, honey, etc.
Night creams are traditionally a greasy, nourishing cream. Preference is given to semisynthetic lipid compositions containing vegetable oils, essential fatty acids, ceramides. Furthermore, creams are often composed of seaweed extracts, aloe vera, and substances that boost the immune processes, whey protein, vitamins A, and E. A dense layer of cream should be applied 1-2 hours before bedtime, 10 minutes later, the oily skin should be blotted with a paper tissue.
Masks. For best results you should alternate between nourishing and tonic masks. A nourishing mask has a high concentration of oils; it has a firm texture, and can be used as an emergency aid, but at least twice a week. Tonic masks contain seaweed, minerals, guarana extract, ginkgo biloba, and other substances. Such masks do not only improve the skin tone, but also strengthen and protect it.
Tonic facial masks can be used 2 or 3 times a week, try to alternate them with hydrating masks. In the hot season, instead of using a greasy nourishing night cream, you can use lighter and more cooling substances. For example, you can wipe the skin with ice cubes, or prepared of herbal infusions. They relieve stress and soothe your skin.
Facial masks are to be held in place for 15 – 20 minutes, after that the face should be washed, first, with warm water, then with cold boiled water. Then the skin needs to be dabbed with a towel and lubricated with a nourishing cream. This procedure should be performed for best results, 2 times a week. Be aware of possible allergic reactions that may develop to the various components of the mask. Therefore, when applying a mask for the first time, make sure that you have no allergies to any of the components being used. In order to do this, apply a small amount of the formula you plan to use for the mask on a small area of skin behind the ear or on your wrist. After 15 minutes wash it off with boiled water. Hypersensitivity may develop either at once (the skin will have red and itchy spots) or after a while. So after the allergic test, wait for 24 hours to be on the safe side.
Before using masks, remember this rule: the mask is applied only to healthy, intact skin.
Homemade Face Masks for Dry Skin
• Moisturizing mask: Rub 1 teaspoon of fresh cottage cheese, 1 teaspoon of fresh cream, and 1 teaspoon of carrot juice.
• Yolk mask: Mix 1 egg yolk with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, add 5 drops of lemon juice.
• Cucumber mask: Mix 2 teaspoons of grated cucumber pulp with 1 teaspoon of fresh milk.
• Honey mask: Rub 1 teaspoon of honey until it becomes white, add a little bit of fresh milk.
• Fruit masks: Grind strawberries, raspberries, apricots, peaches to a pulp, add a small amount of milk.
At-Home Facial: Quick Skin Care Routine for Dry Skin
You can perform this easy routine periodically, once a month. Just start by removing your makeup from the day. Rub nutrients, collagen, elastin, vitamins (they are sold in capsules in any perfumery) into the skin. Then apply a light nourishing cream with liposomes (these tiny vesicles provide rapid penetration of bioactive substances deep into the skin layers and tissue).
For flaky and irritated skin, you should use emollient creams containing vitamin A.
This is a short-term routine, but there many more advanced dry skin treatment courses that exist. Usually, they are carried out in beauty salons.