Cosrx for Dry Skin
An informative resource for all of our Dry Skinned friends. Learn why your skin gets dry and learn what we can do to prevent it.
Why skin gets dry
Skin dryness may be caused by a variety of scenarios. In fact, it is a common symptom of countless skin conditions. To determine its cause, you must first determine if the dryness is consistent or if it comes and goes. If it’s the latter, can you match its onset with any new scenarios? For example, periodic dryness may be caused by:
SEASONAL CHANGES. Those who live in seasonally cold climates experience skin dryness when the mercury drops, due to a lack of humidity in the air.
USE OF A NEW SKINCARE PRODUCT. Many skincare products contain ingredients that strip away the oily layer that sits atop skin. This layer is key in that it keeps moisture within the skin. When it is removed by the use of a harsh cleanser or alcohol-containing product, the skin becomes prone to dryness.
ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS. After extensive air travel, many individuals experience skin dryness. This is due to the lack of humidity within the cabins of planes.
SMOKING. Smokers and those regularly exposed to secondhand smoke often complain of dry skin. This is believed to be due to two primary factors. First, cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals that encourage oxidation. Oxidation triggers free radical production, which inflicts damage upon the cells of the body, including skin cells. This damage may lead to the drying and cracking of the skin. Additionally, smoking reduces the body’s stores of vitamin A. Among the vital tasks of vitamin A are to encourage skin elasticity and regulate the activity of the sebaceous glands, which secrete sebum (oil). When inadequate amounts are present in the body, skin dryness results.
It’s a Myth.
Contrary to popular belief, adding water to the skin will not increase its moisture content. Simply put, skin can’t absorb water. In fact, applying water to the skin can cause the opposite effect and actually make it dry.Licensed skincare professionals even recommend to apply lotion and moisturizers after showering when skin is still damp to lock in moisture. Again, given that skin can’t absorb water, this technique will provide no benefit.
Strategies for Relieving Dry Skin
These strategies can also help make your skin supple and smooth:
Run a humidifier in your home. Especially for those suffering from dry skin due to a lack of humidity in their environment, as is the case in cold weather climates or for those who spend a good deal of time in air conditioning, use of a humidifier will bring some relief.
Limit time spent in the shower. Long, hot showers or baths strips oils from the skin faster than warm water. Add to this the use of body washes or soaps, however, and you have a recipe for disaster. Instead, limit the amount of time in the shower, turn down the water temperature.
Exfoliate. Exfoliation is key to the improvement of dry skin. Proper daily chemical exfoliation removes the layer of dead cells that sits on top of the skin, revealing the newer cells beneath. Once proper exfoliation has been achieved, moisturizers become more effective. AHAs such as glycolic acid or lactic acid are effective in loosening the bonds between dead skin so that it can shed more quickly and reveal brighter skin.
Use a gentle cleanser with moisturizer. Instead of harsh cleansers, go for unscented, soap-free, or mild soap cleansers.
Wear cotton and other natural fibers. Wool, synthetics, or other fabrics can be scratchy and irritating.
Hydrate. Drink plenty of water.
Eat omega-3 foods. Essential fatty acids can help fortify the skin’s natural oil-retaining barriers. Foods rich in omega-3 include cold-water fish (salmon, halibut, sardines), flax, walnuts, and safflower oil.
Utilize a moisturizer rich in humectants. Humectants are the key component of an effective moisturizer. Rather than applying moisture to the skin, they help the skin to hold in its existing water content. They’re further beneficial in that they improve the pliability of the skin.
Often, humectant-rich moisturizers are marketed as “night moisturizers.” This is because they are heavier and, therefore, most convenient for nighttime wear when makeup isn’t applied over the top. However, for those suffering from dry skin, night moisturizers are appropriate for daytime use, as well.
The Search for a Moisturizer
You don't have to pay a fortune for a good, rich moisturizer. Read the label. Ingredients that may be helpful for dry skin include:
Ceramides. Ceramides help the skin hold water and soothe dry skin. Synthetic ceramides may mimic the natural substances in the outermost layer of skin that help keep moisture in.
Dimethicone and glycerin. These draw water to the skin and keep it there.
Hyaluronic acid. Like ceramides, hyaluronic acid helps skin hold water.
Be sure to apply sunscreen to areas of your body that are exposed to the sun during the day. Look for a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more that says "broad spectrum" on the label.
Consistency is key.
Of course, each of these steps can bring about a temporary improvement in skin. But the only way to truly beat the condition is by making these practices a habit.