Fun fact: Xerosis is the medical name for dry skin. It comes from Greek: 'xero' means 'dry' and 'osis' means 'disease'. Now, to understand the best products will fix a problem, we feel it is important – essential even – to understand what is actually causing the problem.
The epidermis is the outermost layer of our skin and the part of this that we see is called the stratum corneum. This stratum corneum, the very outer layer, is formed as the skin cells called keratinocytes gradually move up from the deeper base layers where they eventually form together with the help of a sort of ‘glue’. This glue is a complex composition of certain proteins and lipids and is referred to as the lipid barrier. It exists as a barrier between the outside world and us in regulating the evaporation of moisture from the deeper skin layers. Essentially, when healthy, it provides an environment to lock in water to make your skin look plump and hydrated. Dry skin occurs when the quality and quantity of this lipid barrier starts to reduce, and our natural levels of moisture evaporate quicker than usual. On June 14th 2019 we will dive a bit deeper into this topic.
And as anyone who lives with dry skin will know, it’s uncomfortable, itchy, and easily prone to rashes. Often, with dryness comes sensitivity, as the lipid barrier also forms part of our natural protection barrier. When our defenses are low breakouts start to occur as the skin is unable to keep bacteria at bay. It is at this point, a lot of people mistake these breakouts for a sign of excess oil and try to treat the problem with alcohol-based treatments, which actually only serve to aggravate the dry skin further. I know because that’s what I was doing for about 2 decades based on advice in the public domain and it caused a lot more harm than good. Luckily, more is known about skin in general than when I was a spotty teenager.
"Hydration is not about the water you drink, but the water you keep"
Dr. Murad M.D.
This leads me to the causes of dry skin. They are varied and many, as the skin and the environment are complicated but either way, some causes are temporary and others are more long term. Figuring out which one you have is a tricky game, but here are a few things to think about.
The number one cause of dry skin, and I’m talking about normal skin here not auto-immune responses, is the amount of time you spend in the sun. As human beings, we absolutely need exposure to natural light every day to avoid disease and growth issues but there is a limit. Too much exposure to UV radiation has a negative and destructive effect on our skin over time, which is the result of visible aging such as lines, wrinkles, loss of elasticity and skin plumpness and of course dry skin. Prolonged sun exposure causes a gradual depletion of the collagen network (that which gives plumpness) and also cause a thickening and drying out of the epidermal layer. The longer the exposure, the stronger the sun the quicker your skin will age. But unlike temporary causes of dry skin which can be treated, UV damage is very difficult to reverse.
Our best advice is to most definitely get your recommended daily dose in the afternoons and give the sun tanning a miss!
When it comes to temporary causes though they can be a little easier to manage. Examples of temporary causes include dramatically changing weather conditions, using incorrect products for your skin and medication. Over the counter cold and flu medication for instance can leave your face feeling drier than usual, as they are designed to ‘dry up’ excess moisture leaving our skin looking a little worse for wear. But since it is temporary, normal skin services tend to resume after you get better.
Other medications such as anti-biotics can sometimes have a similar effect. Again, mostly nothing to worry about and it will pass once the course of medication is complete, but who knew?! (Disclaimer: If you are taking long term medications, mention this to the prescribing doctor to ensure it is in fact a correct side-effect.)
Of course, our diet plays a major role in the health of our body and skin and if yours is lacking in nutrition and is questionable at the best of times, then you need to perhaps seek the services of a nutritionist. Eating too much and too often, skipping meals, living off salad and nothing more, too much alcohol, eating more than 10% processed food, eating sugar all the time, fizzy drinks….. the list goes on. This sort of imbalance in your diet causing disharmony in the body and the results will most definitely show on your face. The key is balance and moderation. You gain nothing by eating handfuls of almonds every day until lunchtime, then hunkering down a hamburger. You also gain nothing from making excuses and dodging the truth about your nutritional lifestyle.
Sometimes, it’s even the products you are using that will be causing your dry skin. As previously stated, when the skin becomes dry it becomes vulnerable and can often breakout. Contrary to popular belief, these breakouts are not actually caused by excess oil and using scrubs & masks to fix the problem can often cause further damage. This is because, the lipid barrier along with the acid mantle (sebum and sweat from our pores) form the first line of defence against bacteria, and when it isn’t as strong as it should be, as is the case with dry skin, our faces become exposed giving bacteria a free pass to breed and play havoc.
At this point we are told to address the breakouts with drying solutions or (omg worse still) exfoliants and acids. However, using drying products containing alcohol or peroxide, or scrubbing away the lumps and bumps will only cause your skin further harm, opening the door for more breakouts that will see you trapped in a cycle of constantly trying to dry-out the blockages and treating the associated dryness with a ‘richer than rich creams’, which only serve to block your pores. Sound familiar?
When it comes soothing your dry face, I truly believe oil is your best defence. If you have dry skin, and especially if you have dry sensitive skin covered in lumps and bumps, using the correct oil will help protect your skin from losing its own moisture, without blocking your pores and it will nourish and strengthen it.
I speak from experience here, as I have seen the dry skin on my face & neck and the skin of many other women in my circle report their dry, pizza faces clear up after ditching the ‘acne busting’ or emulsified products in favour our Marine Serum.
It’s the exact reason why I created it.
First for myself, then for others who asked for my secret and begged for a bottle. It not only contains my private blend of cold-pressed oils, but powerful eco-certified marine algae farmed in the South of France, that is full of anti-oxidants which will help heal and repair your skin.
If you want to find out more about it, visit our website at www.myglowphilosophy.com
As always, love & light
The Glow team x