I’ll never forget the time I was working as a Personal Trainer and I had a client with extremely dry skin. I remember little dry bits flaking off over my exercise mats, often found days later when it was time to train the next client. Of course, this is only one presentation of dry skin, but in that moment, I really felt how life must be like for people like you dealing with dry skin, and even dry skin that is tight, and painful to live in.
But you may be surprised to know, that not all “dry skin” is truedry skin, but when you understand the differences, you can put the right steps in place to find the relief you want.
Dry skin is a common term used to describe skin that is rough, flaky and dry. But ‘dry’ isn’t always the correct term to use. When we talk about dry skin, we’re referring to skin type, but there is also a skin condition called dehydrated skin that often gets labeled incorrectly as ‘dry’.
So, first up let’s get clear on the difference between skin type,and skin condition.
You will already be familiar with the 4 skin types: dry skin, oily, normal and combination. Each type is determined by the amount of sebum it produces. Normal skin produces balanced levels, oily skin makes too much, and dry skin doesn’t have enough. Combination skin is a mixture of both oily and dry skin in different places (often on the face).
Skin conditions on the other hand, are things like acne, dermatitis or dehydrated skin. And unlike skin type, the latter does not refer to the amount of sebum, but rather the water moisture.That’s why we get dry skin in winter, on cold windy days and if we don’t drink enough fluids! But, dehydrated skin can also upset the delicate oil balance. And dry skin could also be dehydrated. So, it’s often hard to tell whether you have dehydrated or dry skin.
As we said, windy cold days and not drinking enough water can dry out our skin. Our skin is 64% water, so anything that dehydrates the body, dehydrates the skin. That includes illness, excessive sun, diuretic medications, and even too much coffee!
So that’s what causes a dehydrated skin condition. But if your skin type is dry then the cause of your dry skin is not water moisture, but instead a lack of sebum production.
Under the skin’s surface we have millions of tiny hair follicles. These follicles have sebaceous glands that produce the oily substance called sebum.This is our body’s natural “moisturizer”, our pores excrete sebum, keeping the surface of our skin lubricated, waterproofed and protected. Our skinneedssebum for good skin health!
But dry skin types don’t make enough sebum. Whether it’s from genetics or hormones, if we don’t have enough sebum we end up with dry, rough, flaky skin. And as many of you know, it can escalate to cracks, tight skin that feels like it could burst, and a great deal of discomfort.
And then, many of us get dehydrated, which just doubles-down on the problem.
Our neighbour had a dry skin type, and it was made worse every day as she worked outdoors in dusty dry areas. I’ll never forget how big the cracks on her feet were. But as you’ll soon see, both dehydrated skin and dry skin can in fact, be balanced out by the same things.
It can be hard to know if you have dry skin or dehydrated skin. Many people will use the pinch test to try and figure it out. Here’s how it works – pinch the skin on the back of your hand and if it makes a little lump that springs back immediately you are well hydrated. If the lump goes slowly, it can be a sign of a dehydrated skin condition.
But, if you can neverremember a time that you had normal skin, it’s possible you have a dry skin type. Even still, doubt is common. So you’re not alone.
But the great news is that we can tackle both issues together. So even if you’re not sure, try these 5 things, and you’ll more than likely help your skin in a big way!
Whether you have dry skin or dehydrated skin you must drink water regularly through the day. Coming into winter months it may feel difficult, but you can drink your favorite flavored herbal teas, warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice, or a skin hydrating soup. There are conflicting resources on how much fluid to consume each day. According to the last dietary reference intakes, the he AI for total water intake for women 19 to 30 years of age is 2.7 L per day (including water from foods). Most information will recommend something close to that.
Not only does sun dehydrate normal skin, but for those with dry skin, the sun has an extra harsh effect due to the lack of protective oils produced by your skin. So for both dry skin and dehydrated skin, it’s important to limit your sun exposure, and use an spf moisturizer.
We all know the importance of good nutrition, but did you know some foods and drinks dehydrate us? Some of these include: white asparagus, coffee, soy sauce, and salty foods like popcorn, cured meats, and takeaways. Also diuretic medications or potassium supplements, and an overload of high potassium foods can make us flush water out of our body faster than normal. High sugar sodas also dehydrate us! But, go ahead and eat high fluid foods like fruits and vegetables! Enjoy delicious smoothies in summer and nourishing soups in winter!
As you are now aware, to have moisture-rich skin you must have two things: optimal levels of oils and water. So you want to always use a moisturizer for dry skin and facial dry skin lotion that supports both. Apply lotion daily, especially during winter months and windy days, and apply your body moisturizer immediately after a hot shower for maximum moisture lock.
The last thing you want is to use soap on your skin! But you’ve probably figured this out already. A pH balanced face wash for dry skin and sulfate free body wash will support your body in healthy oil production, while also providing botanical hydrators to boost moisture. Once you’ve cleansed with a balanced moisturizing body wash and facewash, your pores will find it easier to absorb your lotion, instead of feeling like smearing grease on sandpaper.
But Please, Don’t Make This Dry Skin Mistake!
It’s tempting to avoid cleansers altogether, and use plain water, and it’s equally tempting to choose extra greasy body lotion for dry skin. But they may not have the effect you want, and we find outselves still with dry, flaky skin… but with a shiny grease slick on top!
To understand this, we’ll do some quick (…and easy)science.
You may be familiar with the term pH. This is the measure of acidity or alkalinity. We won’t get any more complicated than that. A good example is a chlorinated swimming pool that’s safe to swim in has a pH of 7.4 – 7.6. An acid burn has a pH of 1.0, and an alkaline burn has a pH of 14.0.
Our body has it’s own unique pH levels too!
Your skin has an acid mantle and a pH of 5.5 (or a broad range of 4.0 – 6.0). Healthy skin is acidic, and that’s what keeps it healthy! And that’s thanks to that lovely sebum!For those who were born with a dry skin type it becomes even more important to support this protective mantle with pH balanced skincare, as anything too alkaline can dry you out faster than the sahara desert! Soap is very alkaline, some can even have a pH of 10.0, ouch!
The pH of our skin, and the acid mantle also influence what flows in and out of our skin. The more protected our skin cells are, the more hydrated our skin remains.
So, pH matters – for both dry (low oils) and dehydrated skin (low water).
Many sensitive skin products may not match our own skin’s levels. Cetaphil for example, has a pH of 6.3 – 6.8. And while that may be close to matching the pH of water (7.0), it’s not even in the broad range our skin. And yes, washing with just water can make dry skin even drier!
MYTH: pH balanced means balanced for skin.
TRUTH: pH balanced for skin means pH balanced for skin
And this doesn’t just apply to cleansers, but it’s the same for womens and mens lotion too! You may have be using an oily lotion, but the pH could be alkaline, throwing that delicate acid mantle into even more trouble!
And if you’ve ever applied natural lotion with no benefit, this may be the real reason!
It’s hardly surprising the Soapberry has been used for thousands of years to keep skin clean and healthy – ancient wisdom has long known that the Soapberry is a natural source of cleansing saponin, but not only that! It has a skin-healing pH 5.5!
The Soapberry is also naturally antibacterial, and soothes inflammation.
So when you use a Soapberry Based Skin Moisturizer, you support your skin’s acid mantle, and healthy barrier function, along with soothing inflammation and giving anti-bacterial support. And when you combine this amazing plant botanical with natural plant oils, your skin also gets to quench its thirst during those dry months. Now, with more balanced skin, it becomes easier for each skin cell to absorb the water you drink, and the nutrients you eat.
With a balanced unscented lotion like this one, both dry skin and deyhdrated skin can both be managed without wondering whether your skin is a dry skin type, or simply dehydrated.
When it comes to cleansers, the same rules apply – it’s all about balance. Unless a specialist has advised otherwise, all your skin care products should match your skin’s broad pH 4.0 – 6.0 pH. By using a hypoallergenic Soapberry Fragrance Free Body Wash, and Facial Cleanser your skin begins rehydrating and balancing so that your lotion only adds to the benefits, instead of trying to “fix” skin that dried out even more while showering.
Of course, many of you will suffer from dry scalp too! So pH balance applies to Shampoo for Dry Hair and Cleansing Conditioner too! The scalp has a pH of 5.5, while the hair itself has a more acidic pH of 3.67. So not only does a pH balanced shampoo help with dry skin but it can also leave you with less flyaways and smoother hair too! Nothing like a shiny hair bonus!
Bring Moisture Back!
It can be hard to know if you have dry skin (low oils), or dehydrated skin (low water), but when you consider the science of pH, you discover that both are tightly linked, and you don’t need to stress about figuring it out. Simply by using pH balanced cleansers, lotions, shampoo and conditioner you naturally support the skin’s protective layer, while also replenishing lost hydration. Focus on balanced skincare, and give your skin a chance to balance naturally.
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