Why is My Face So Dry?
In this article you’ll learn:
1. What is the deal, exactly, with dry skin?
2. The bad news about soap, indoor heat, and hot showers.
3. How tap water might be sabotaging your dermis.
4. When it's OK to blame your parents for your skin troubles.
5. Tips and tricks to keep flaky skin away.
Every few weeks we shed an entire layer of skin. Just from routine activities like changing clothes, sitting on couches, or even sleeping, more than 40,000 dead skin cells slough off us every minute, almost 9 pounds of cells every year, a heap of it going in your mattress and making an all-night buffet for dust mites.
But if you’ve got dry skin — in other words, an impaired skin barrier with a deficiency in the necessary, healthy fats in the top layer — you might be shedding way more than that. Here are eight ways you might be fomenting your flaky skin.
1. Soap is harshing your skin
Our skin has a thin acidic film known as the acid mantle, which retains natural oils, hydrating proteins, and fatty acids. The pH of this film is about 5.5, no match for the much higher pH in most bar soaps, which strip the skin of its protective coating. “It can literally eat away the protective layer and leave your skin so dry it’ll begin to crack,” said Dr. Steve. “You can go a lifetime without using harsh bar soap and your skin would thank you.”
But if you’re jonesing for suds from a bar, and you want to prevent dry skin on your face, Dr. Steve recommends Dove Sensitive or any soap labeled neutral pH.
2. Dry air = dry skin
Turn up the heat indoors during the winter and humidity levels dip, a signal to your skin barrier to start working like a flake factory. That's because humidity is really water vapor, and your skin takes advantage of this moisture by sucking it up to stay hydrated. When the humidity disappears, your skin will make like a raisin and go brittle.
To avoid dry skin in the winter, use a humidifier. It'll restore moisture to the air and some skin sanity (it can also help with other problems associated with poor indoor humidity levels, such as nose bleeds, increased seasonal allergies, difficulty breathing, sore throat, dry eyes, and more).
Also, winter is a great time to start your skincare regimen — one that includes our Vital Morning Face Cream with Hyaluronic Acid, the king of moisturizers.
3. Long, hot showers make your skin go psycho
Does hot water damage skin? Janet Leigh’s character in Alfred Hitchcock's “Psycho” might have wondered about that when she entered the shower in the Bates Motel. She didn't last long enough to find out, unfortunately, that hot water strips away the protective lipid layer responsible for keeping moisture in and bacteria and irritants out. That's why your fingers get wrinkly.
Limit your soak to no more than five minutes, keep the water temperature lukewarm (if the mirror gets steamy, lower the temperature), and if you hear screeching violins, violas, and cellos — run!
After your shower, quickly apply a moisturizer — they work best on damp skin.
4. Aging is for cabernet — not skin
According to the Mayo Clinic, about half of adults over 40 have issues with dry skin. That’s because as you get older, your body produces less Hyaluronic Acid — a natural moisturizer that hydrates your skin to plumpness. For this reason, score some moisturizing supplements, like in our Vital Morning Face Cream that has a synthetic Hyaluronic Acid that will hold in moisture with a great big bear hug where your skin needs it most. Roar.
5. Does your face need a gurney?
Psoriasis, which occurs when skin cells are replaced more quickly than usual, can make your skin more prone to the flake factor. Same with eczema flare ups. But dry skin could also indicate something more medically serious, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, malnutrition, or even kidney failure.
Beware of crusting, intense itchiness, hyperpigmentation, and rough, flaky, or scaly patches on the skin. If they persist, visit a doctor to determine the proper treatment.
6. Blame your parents for dry skin — it’s OK
Parents are too often blamed by their kids for things beyond their control, but an inherited skin condition is fair game. A recent study found that some skin conditions are caused by mutations in genes that control the production of the protein filaggrin — which plays a role in forming and hydrating the skin barrier. Nearly 10 percent of the population is affected by these mutations, inheritors of drier skin and a greater chance of developing eczema.
If you've always had dry skin or you come from the McSlough Family, give your skin a squirt of moisturizer daily.
7. Hard water can make your face do hard time
When tap water contains a high concentration of minerals like magnesium and calcium, it's known as hard water. Those minerals can leave a film that turns the oils on your skin into a thick substance that plugs glands, aggravates conditions like acne and rosacea, and prevents moisturizers from being absorbed.
The Center for Disease Control recommends investing in a home filtration system. Or you can try adding skin-care products that contain vitamins A and C to counteract the coating deposited by hard water. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative, and can be found in our Repairing Night Cream.
8. Acne medications can dry you out
Salicylic Acid is great for treating acne, but it can dry out your skin when you first start using it. Dryness is a common side effect of Retinol, too, which loosens the connection between cells on the skin’s surface.
The good news is that you don't have to give up these skin-care saviors. That’s why we start our acne regimen gently and build up concentrations of retinol over time.
“Because these materials are potent, pure, and active, and cause DNA expression changes at the cellular level, there are going to be biological responses from your skin as it adjusts,” said Dr. Steve. “And that's what you want, because the skin is smart, and it reacts and adapts so that you ultimately get healthier, younger looking, and better-looking skin.”
Hopefully, we've answered the question "why is my face so dry?" Ready to finally fight the flake? Reach out, we're here to help.