When the skin is dehydrated, the epidermis, and mainly the corneal layer suffer from a lack of water. It is a temporary condition that can affect all skin types. It leads to tightness and the skin is rough and can become flaky.
Is the environment responsible for the skin’s dehydration?
The level of humidity in the external environment, low temperatures in winter, the wind, high temperatures, the sun, UV rays and excessive heating
are all factors that encourage the evaporation of water leading to dehydrated skin. I explain this to my patients so they can act on these factors, at least in their own homes.
Are there any other factors involved?
Prolonged or repeated contact with water due to an excessive cleansing routine can lead to very long-term dehydration.
Using very basic soaps and abrasives on the skin like pumice stones or horse hair gloves can also be a cause. Taking certain medicines (retinoids, corticosteroids) and eczema flare-ups caused by working in certain professions like hairdressing and construction also lead to dryness of the skin. Furthermore, hormonal ageing reduces dermal hydrophilic components.
What treatment would you recommend?
Three types of ingredients should be combined in skincare and cleansing products.
I would prescribe humectant products that fix water within the skin’s corneocytes. But also hydrophilic products, that form gels in contact with water, or hydrophobic products, to create an air- and water-tight film at the surface of the skin, limiting water evaporation. I recommend ingredients that restructure the epidermal lipids to strengthen the corneal layer’s “brick wall”.