What is Dry Skin and Why Does it Happen?
A common myth about dry skin is that it is dehydrated. A more common myth is that drinking 2 liters of water each day will fix the problem. People are shocked to learn that I don't really drink that much water since I don't look dehydrated. But I used to. At one point in my 30s, I was drinking so much water in the hope of dewy soft skin that I looked pregnant. I was so bored by the whole daily consumption mainly because I could actually hear the sloshing sound in my belly as I wandered around my office, and I was fed up with spending all day in the ladies loo. Worse, for all the water I was guzzling each day, my skin still remained dry and still had those "dehydration lines".
Because little did I know at the time, water does not fix dry skin. And those lines on your face are not from dehydration. They are the result of sun damage.
What got me thinking was not just the lack of results from consistent water drinking, it was a wonderful ayurvedic treatment I had during which I was advised to take in more fat, and to read a book titled The Water Secret by Dr. Murad. Whilst it took me a bit of time to understand the value of fat and oil in my daily routine, the book, on the other hand, was a GAME CHANGER. Once I understood how skin worked and what causes dry skin, I could see straight away that water was not going to solve my problem. But there is a solution and it starts with understanding at a basic level, why your skin is dry.
Let's talk skin layers. We all have three layers to our skin. The epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. The top layer, the epidermis, is the outermost layer of your skin that we see and it contains 5 distinct layers of skin cells. The stratum corneum sits at the very top and is made up of over-lapping dead skin cells called keratinocytes. These cells are formed in the lower layers of the epidermis and each day move up closer to the surface of the skin. As old cells are shed a new layer of dead cells appears underneath as new live cells are made in the lower epidermal layer again. It goes round and round each day. New cells are made, they move up, dead cells slough off and are replaced.
They are called keratinocytes and are flat and held together in an overlapping formation with a kind of glue, made from a complex composition of certain proteins and lipids. It's a little bit like bricks and mortar. The bricks being our cells, the mortar being the lipid glue and its job is to keep bacteria out and moisture in. It's commonly known as the lipid barrier.
When this lipid barrier starts to weaken in structure due to environmental factors our natural moisture is able to evaporate quicker resulting in dry skin.
There are many causes of a weakened lipid barrier function but the main culprits include too much sun, smoking and drinking alcohol on a regular basis. But you can also experience dry skin if you don't consume enough EFAs (essential fatty acids) or have been a little too OTT with abrasive or acid-based skincare which has left your skin sensitized.
Because of these reasons, dry skin can enter your life at any age. I had dry skin in my early 30s due to vigorous scrubbing because I had LOADS of blackheads and fine lines from sun damage. I thought exfoliation would smooth out the surface of my skin and deep cleaning my pores leaving it all lovely and perfect. It didn't. It only served to destroy my lipid barrier and brought about dry sensitive skin that responded to nothing. That is when I discovered that oil and proteins, not water solve dry skin problems because I needed to re-strengthen my lipid barrier feeding it proper nutrition to rebuild and do its job of holding in the moisture. Surprisingly, oil became my best friend and I've never looked back. If you want to know more about my journey, read this post 'The Day that Changed My Skin'.
The Truth About Water.
Now you can see that the result of your dry skin is not dehydration you can feel free to step away from the water cooler. You are not a camel.
So let's talk about water. The single biggest myth in the health/beauty industry today is the 8 glasses of water per day. So let's dispel a few of the common ones now.
Our body is made up of 70% water.
Myth. I couldn't find a source for this, but what I know is that it isn't strictly true because our body is made up of bones, muscle, connective tissues, other tissues and fluids like blood, electrolyte fluid and saliva (among others), not water. Our body definitely needs water to manufacture these things it isn't as much as we have been led to believe. Plus the figure doesn't make sense. How can a 60kg woman be 42kg of water?
Water Helps Burn Fat.
Myth. Fat does not dissolve in the presence of water. Case in point, take a piece of bacon fat and put it in a glass of water then wait. It won't dissolve because fat isn't water-soluble. Fat requires heat to dissolve hence why it melts when you cook it. What is more likely to be the case is that drinking water tends to fill you up, which may help you stop eating. I have personally found this a very ineffective way to lose pounds and only leaves me feeling bloated and ill.
If you want to lose body fat, move more and eat less. Simple.
Water Flushes Out Toxins.
Truth with a caution: Yes, this is where water is important because the body uses it to flush out water-soluble toxins via the kidneys. But there is a limit. If you are drinking copious amounts of water you are not only flushing out your toxins but at risk of flushing out essential vitamins and minerals as well. As well, you can cause kidney damage by drinking too much water.
The other thing about this, that isn't well known, some toxins are oil soluble and so drinking lots of water isn't going to help.
Food Doesn't Count as Water.
Myth: This is a biggie. Food does count, and depending on your diet it accounts for up to 50% of your intake. If you eat a lot of fruit and veg in the main, it can make up for nearly 90% of your daily water needs. I personally hate guzzling water, but I am more than happy to eat my water, which is what I do. Especially in the summer when strawberries, watermelon, and sweet grapes are at their best. You will also note that yes, coffee and tea do count towards your daily intake. Just lay easy on the coffee after midday as it does interfere with sleep systems.
Dry Skin is Dehydrated.
Myth: Now you know, dry skin is not the result of not drinking enough water. Especially if you eat a normal balanced diet. Also to note, if you were dehydrated you'd be in the hospital. Your skin is dry because you are losing water too quickly and need to get that lipid barrier strong again so it can do its job properly.
How do you get your lipid barrier strong? By feeding it the nutrition it needs from both the inside and the out. On the inside, get more EFAs in your diet. From the outside, use our Marine Extract Daily Serum. The reason being, I formulated this product with an excellent balance of EFAs and Marine Algae to nourish dry skin (mine at first) through supplying it with EFAs, vitamins, proteins, and anti-oxidants. Marine Algae is magical stuff and will be the topic for next week’s Skin School post so be sure to stop by.
To find out more about our product, visit our website us here
As always, love & light
The Glow team x
Understanding the Epidermal Barrier
Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health