With the beginning of the heating season, the problem of dry skin for many becomes relevant – alas, the heat from the batteries dries the air. It’s time to take rescue measures against itching, peeling and a feeling of tightness of the skin.
In order to maintain an optimal level of moisture, the skin is protected by a special hydrolipidic mantle – a thin film on the surface of the epidermis. Loss of moisture leads to partial dehydration of the skin, and as a result, it becomes covered with small wrinkles, becomes dull and prone to irritation.
It is worth noting that in cosmetology, the concepts of “dry skin” and “dehydrated skin” are distinguished: in the first case, it is assumed that the protective mantle does not have enough lipids (fats), and in the second we talk about the lack of moisture in the intercellular matrix. So, the autumn withering, which will be discussed later, is often associated with a violation of the structure of the protective layer – temperature changes, hard water, dry air, tight-fitting clothes, as well as unbalanced nutrition and stress greatly contribute to this.
The so-called water-retaining structure of the stratum corneum consists of several elements. Sebum repels water from the skin surface and slightly smoothes horny scales that cover the intercellular spaces and prevent moisture from evaporating from them. The keratin protein binds and holds water molecules in the skin. The lipid barrier further controls and regulates the evaporation of water through the skin. And finally, the components of a natural moisturizing factor: amino acids, urea, lactic acid and others – are concentrated around the scales of the stratum corneum, creating a kind of shell.
Once one or more elements cease to fully perform its function, as the moisture level in the skin begins to fall, which will cause the very tightness, itching and peeling.
The main objective of tools designed to help get rid of dry skin is to imitate a healthy protective layer or restore it. One of the key and most common ways to do this is through occlusive products (occlusion in English means “fencing, barrier”), which create a film on the surface of the skin that is impervious to water molecules.
Many people think that glycerin is best suited for this purpose, because it is produced by the body and plays a key role in protecting healthy skin from drying out. However, it must be understood that glycerin is hygroscopic, therefore, if a large amount is applied to the surface of the skin, on the contrary, it will draw water from the stratum corneum. Nevertheless, in the correct proportion and in the correctly selected cosmetic formula, this ingredient is able to extremely positively affect the hydration of the skin.
Too frequent bathing procedures should be avoided – especially if you like to use shower gels or make hot water
In addition to glycerol, the occlusive function in dry skin products is performed, for example, by mineral oil, petroleum jelly and paraffin – one of the most common, neutral and hypoallergenic components. They rarely cause a skin reaction, do not create a greenhouse effect and do not cause irritation. They are followed by silicone oils – as a rule, in the composition they are recognized at the end of -icone.
Another group of occlusive ingredients is animal fats, lanolin (obtained from six sheep) and squalane, a derivative of squalene, a natural component of human sebum and some animals. Finally, natural waxes and natural oils are also included.
Sometimes, in order to again make the skin smooth and soft, it is not enough just a cream with the ingredients listed above – the epidermis still remains loose, flaky and rough. Keratosis is to blame for this – coarsening of horny scales and insufficiently quick desquamation of dead skin cells.
Here funds will come to the rescue that will help dissolve the intercellular connections, spur the renewal process and positively affect the production of elastin and collagen. Most often, for this purpose, agents with an acid content are used: salicylic, lactic, almond and others. Do not be afraid of skin irritation – the percentage of acids in the composition is much lower than in conventional peeling products. In addition, they are adjacent to ingredients that simultaneously soothe, moisturize and protect the skin.
Another popular and effective component in the fight for delicate smooth skin is urea. It is often introduced into the composition of creams for the roughened skin of the legs and hands, but it will also be very useful in products for the whole body. Finally, one can not do without antioxidants, since the damaged lipid barrier can undergo excessive oxidation – of these, vitamins C and E will most often be found.
In addition to cosmetic attacks, there are a number of other measures that can be taken to alleviate the condition of the skin and get rid of itching and other unpleasant sensations. Too frequent bathing procedures should be avoided – especially if you like to use shower gels or make the water hotter: both of them damage the protective film on the skin. It is worth switching to soft non-foaming cleansers – oils, creams or milk.
The diet should have enough sources of fatty acids and healthy fats – red and any other fatty fish, cod liver, olive, pumpkin, coconut and other oils, high-quality nuts and seeds will help maintain their level at the optimal level. Do not forget to drink water during the day, especially if you lean on coffee and tea, which can contribute to dehydration.