The skin is made up of multiple layers. The top layer, the epidermis, is a protective barrier, while the dermis, the next layer down, contains the connective tissues, hair follicles, and sweat glands. Both layers work together to keep your skin hydrated. Much of the body’s water supply is stored in the dermis, while the epidermis is waterproof and helps prevent body water loss.
The skin has different lipids that help maintain an adequate level of hydration and a series of substances that help extract moisture from the air. The epidermis is constantly renewed so that the old skin gives way to a new and fresh one. However, when the skin lacks moisture, dead cells can get trapped on the surface, causing dry spots and clogging pores.
Many people have dry skin in winter. As temperature drops, humidity also drops, reducing our skin’s ability to retain moisture by 25%. Strong wind and adverse weather conditions such as snow and rain, can also affect the skin, causing irritation, pain, and cracking. To combat the cold while you’re out and about, be sure to always carry a small tube of hand cream and lip balm in your bag.
When it is very cold outside, there is nothing more pleasant than turning the heating to the maximum. However, the hot, dry air reduces the humidity, so it ends up drying the skin even more. Therefore, try to keep the heat as low as possible and use a timer to turn it off overnight.
If you are using a cleanser or soap that has been formulated for very oily skin, or if you use the soap too frequently, you could be removing all the lipids your skin needs to stay hydrated. Laundry detergent could have the same effect. Ideally, you should choose a mild cleanser formulated for dry skin, use a hand cream after washing, and opt for laundry detergents designed for sensitive skin.
We inherit different genetic markers that can affect the level of hydration of our skin. For example, the FLG gene affects our skin’s ability to protect itself from different environmental factors, such as very cold weather or sunlight. It also determines the skin barrier’s effectiveness against water loss and plays a leading role in the natural moisturization of the skin.
As with our genes, we cannot influence aging much. Over the years, the skin becomes thinner and more delicate, and the amount of natural oils and lipids it contains is significantly reduced. Its ability to retain moisture also decreases, which is why many older people have very dry skin. This can cause itching, cracking, or even bleeding. Over time, you might want to speak to your doctor about further treatments such as dermaplaning and botox. You can learn how botox treatments work at many sources online.
If you have dry skin and notice that it cracks or small wounds appear, you should consult your GP.