Lotus Spa Wandsworth Common
Lotus Spa

Wandsworth Common

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Dry Skin

Extrinsic (external) causes of dry skin:

  1. Weather / Environmental elements – Cold winds / low temperature dry out skin, depriving it of balanced levels of oils, and contributing to dryness, sensitivity and premature aging.
  2. Prolonged exposure to sun causes water to evaporate from skin
  3. Forced air heating also dries out skin
  4. Lifestyle – low fat diets can deprive our bodies of skin friendly Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). These Essential Fatty Acids protect against water loss within cells and throughout skin, helping to prevent dryness, keep skin supple and hydrated. An EFAs deficiency can caused chronic itching, dryness, scaling and thinning.
  5. Smoking can have a drying effect on skin. It drains skin and body of vitamins A and C. Constricts blood vessels.
  6. Excess intake of alcohol beverages and certain medication can also dry out the skin

Your Questions:

Q: Is my low/no fat diet contributing to my dry skin?

A: Yes, your diet could be contributing to your dry skin. The trend of low fat or fat-free diets can deprive our bodies of skin friendly Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). EFAs are critical to all parts of a healthy functioning body; they help move oxygen through the bloodstream, stave off early aging, and keep skin healthy. They also protect against water loss within cells and throughout skin, helping to prevent dryness, keeping skin supple and hydrated. An EFA deficiency can result in chronic itching, dryness, scaling, and thinning, and can lead to an imbalance in prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are chemical messengers that help control inflammation.

Q: What’s the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin?

A: Dry skin refers to skin that’s lacking in oil. Dehydrated skin is characterized by a lack of moisture in the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the epidermis). Traditionally, the stratum corneum cells are about 10% water. Anything below that is classified as a dehydrated skin condition. Because dehydration is a lack of water in skin, it can also be experienced by those with oily skin. Whether you’re suffering from dryness or dehydration, a professional skin therapist can prescribe a dry skin treatment to help keep skin healthy.

Q: I’ve never had dry skin before. Why do I have it now?

A: The natural process of aging, environment, and lifestyle choices can impact your skin’s level of dryness. As we age, the activity of the sebaceous (oil) gland begins to slow, causing the skin’s natural hydrators to decline over the years. Aging may also cause blood flow to skin to decrease, causing a drop in oil production. Cold winds and cold temperatures can dry out skin, which is why you may notice seasonal dryness. This also applies to air conditioning and forced air heating. Warm, dry air acts like a sponge, soaking up moisture from everything it touches. Prolonged exposure to sun can also cause water evaporation from skin and contribute to dryness.

Q: Why am I experiencing sensitivity and dryness?

A: One of the biggest consequences of dry skin is an increase in sensitivity, as dry skin is a precursor to sensitized skin. When skin is dry, it’s depleted of its natural protective lipid barrier. This lowers skin’s defences against environmental assaults that can cause a sensitised response in skin, such as itching and redness.