Let’s talk about how to heal dry skin. I’ve suffered from dry skin to oily skin and everything in between. It sucks to have dry skin especially because it can make your existing acne, eczema, and psoriasis worse! Bad bacteria can get inside cracked skin to cause more redness, irritations, and inflammation. To heal dry skin and skin inflammation, you first have to reduce internal inflammation. Creams and topicals won’t be effective if you don’t heal your gut!
The foods we eat release inflammatory chemicals (cytokines, leukotrienes, prostaglandins, etc.) from various white blood cells (neutrophils, monocytes, eosinophils, lymphocytes). When too many chemicals are released, the immune system starts to overreact and send signals to the skin. It is the single most important event that leads to negative skin conditions. Patients and dermatologists wrongly focus on fixing the skin when it’s actually a gut inflammation problem. The best solution is to reduce gut inflammation by taking a food sensitivity test. You can also book an appointment with me if you need my help.
Once you figure out internal inflammation, you can then start focusing on which creams and topicals to use.
The Dry Skin Problem: Transepidermal Water Loss (T.E.W.L.)
We lose about 1 – 2 cups of water from our skin per day due to evaporation! Some people with weak or damaged skin barriers experience higher TEWL so their skin is even drier. The dry air during winter time also makes our skin worse!
We have to replace that lost water every day to maintain healthy skin. Drink lots of water to hydrate your skin internally. Use my recommended products to hydrate your skin externally.
I also suffer from a filaggrin deficiency, so I’m predisposed to dry skin genetically! Filaggrin is a protein that plays an important role in hydrating the outermost layer of the skin called the Stratum Corneum. I have to hydrate my skin every morning and night otherwise I dry up like a prune!
The Dry Skin Solution: 1. Emollients, 2. Humectants, and 3. Occlusives (E.H.O.)
My current skin type is dry, so I’m going to share my daily routine in moisturizing my skin. My routine starts with Emollients then Humectants and ends with Occlusives.
Emollients are lubricants that give the skin a smooth and soft texture. It should be the first thing that touches your skin, and I highly recommend emollients that match the pH level of your skin which is around 4.5 – 5.5. This slight acidity called the Acid Mantle acts as a natural protective barrier for the skin. It fights off more alkaline bacteria that can cause acne and eczema.
My favorite emollient is natural almond oil because it perfectly matches the pH level of your skin and hair at 4.5 – 5.5. Almond oil is anti-bacterial, noncomedogenic and full of vitamin A and E. Because I have sensitive skin, I’ll only use almond oil as my face wash, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner!
I’m also using PastTense Essential Oils to cool my skin whenever it has eczema. The essential oils inside help cool down the inflammation and relieve the itching!
Downside: Emollients don’t add lasting moisture to the skin because they absorb and evaporate easily. You need to add the next layer called Humectants to moisturize and heal dry skin.
Humectants draw in moisture from the air or surrounding environment and bring it to your skin. It adds important moisture to your skin! Common humectants include Hyaluronic Acid, or Sodium Hyaluronate, and the other one is Glycerin.
Ceramides are lipids that make up the Stratum Corneum and help form the barrier of the skin. It’s also oil-soluble, so that’s why it’s added to a lot of moisturizers. For normal skin, you can usually stop at humectants, but for dryass skin like mine, I need the final layer called Occlusives to heal my dry skin!
Occlusives sit on top of the skin to prevent moisture from escaping. This doesn’t add any moisture to the skin, but it prevents water loss on the skin. Common occlusives are Petroleum or Petrolatum and butters like Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter. This also includes oils like Sunflower Oil or Safflower Oil. Dimethicone is another popular occlusive.
I’m currently using Aquaphor as my occlusive because it has Petrolatum inside.
I use all the products in my shop and recommend them for you! By following this guide, you can start healing your dry skin. If you need a Healthy Skin Coach, book an appointment with me so that I can help transform your skin!