It can be tempting to think of dry skin as just another skin type, but in reality, it can be uncomfortable, itchy and unsightly.
Dry skin is notoriously hard to manage and can make the sufferer feel both self-conscious and sore.
Dry skin occurs for a number of reasons and it commonly affects the hands, arms and legs as well as the face and scalp.
When you have dry skin, it is important not to use generic skincare, as this often will not do enough for you.
Instead, you need to choose some real skin thirst quenchers to help soothe and hydrate the skin throughout the day and night.
What is dry skin?
Dry skin can be something that occurs naturally or because of outside factors such as dry weather conditions, hot water or exposure to particular chemicals. It can also be a result of certain medical conditions.
Extremely dry skin is known as dermatitis and this can be contact dermatitis which is a localised inflammation in response to something the skin touches; seborrheic dermatitis, where the skin produces too much oil and results in a rash, or atopic dermatitis which includes chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Dry skin can appear as scaly, cracked or flaking skin, which means it is not very pleasant to live with.
The epidermis normally contains lipids and proteins, but the depletion of these leads to skin moisture evaporating more easily.
This dryness makes the skin more sensitive and therefore more prone to rashes and skin breakdown.
Read more about What causes dry skin and how you can treat it here.
What is the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin?
It is a common mistake to confuse dry and dehydrated skin.
It might sound like they are the same problem, but they are quite different.
Dry skin has a lack of oil or lipids, whereas dehydrated skin is short of water in the top layer of the skin. You can have oily or combination skin and experience dehydrated skin at the same time.
Whilst dry skin tends to be rough and flaky, dehydrated skin is dull, tight and sensitive and can exaggerate some of the signs of ageing.
Dehydrated skin can be caused by the skin, hard water which contains drying limestone and water which is too hot.
You can also dehydrate your skin by using the wrong type of skincare, so be careful what you buy.1
Which is the best moisturiser for dry skin?
As you would expect, dry skin needs moisture at every opportunity.
Choosing a soap or body wash that contains moisturiser will help any patches on your body, and you should ensure that you moisturise immediately after bathing or showering.
You will need to invest in a moisturising cream that is oil-based and has a thicker consistency as it should provide greater levels of hydration.
You will need a cream that has a mixture of emollients such as ceramides, to repair the skin barrier plus humectants such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid to draw and seal moisture into the skin.
Hyaluronic acid aids hydration in deeper layers of the skin rather than just the surface, and it helps to lock moisture into the skin.
You should also try and avoid any products that are too heavily perfumed, as this can add to the irritation that your skin suffers.
Creams with a high lipid content will also help to repair cracked skin.
In addition to moisturisers, you can use serums that contain many of the vital skincare ingredients. This supports the work your moisturiser is doing and gives you some extra benefits.
Remember, using more cream does not necessarily mean that you will get better results. It is more important to use the right cream with the best ingredients for your skin.
Using other products such as make-up which contains moisturising ingredients can also help to hydrate the skin throughout the day.
You can change the products you use throughout the seasons, so a lighter, water-based moisturiser can be beneficial in the summer, whilst heavier, richer moisturisers help in cold winters winds, and dry, centrally-heated homes.
Dry skin needs very specific care, so make sure you show it plenty of love and lavish it with soothing moisturising ingredients to leave it looking glowing and radiant.
Last updated: 26 March 2021