Lack of moisture does not only affect dry skin types
Some of them already had dry skin when their friends were annoyed about puberty pimples. For others, the feeling that the skin lacks moisture sets in later. The typical signs include tightness, brittle or even scaly areas, itching, fine dry lines and a lack of elasticity.
The moisture balance can get mixed up with every skin type . This not only applies if the skin produces too little oil, i.e. with dry skin types . Even normal skin , oily skin and combination skin can sometimes feel dry. We then speak of dehydrated skin that temporarily lacks water.
The causes are just as different as the demands that the skin places on its care. So learn to understand how to best support your skin! That's what this article is for.
☝️ Does your skin lack moisture because it produces too little oil or because it is dehydrated? Both feel very similar, but require completely different care . So get to the bottom of it!
This is how the skin retains moisture
Moisture is essential for every skin. That's why it's important to understand how your skin retains water. It binds moisture with a combination of water-loving substances. The skin's humectant consists of amino acids, glycerin, hyaluronic acid and more and is called NMF for Natural Moisturizing Factor . You can think of these substances as little magnets in your skin that attract and hold water.
But if the pull is too strong, something will fall off even a magnet. We may also secure particularly important items with a strip of Tesa. The skin is very similar. She protects her water twice with the skin barrier . This protective layer of horny cells cemented with lipids seals the lower layers of the skin and prevents excessive evaporation.
☝️ You want to know exactly? With the article How does my skin retain moisture? you go deeper into the topic.
One problem, two causes
So there are two factors that ensure the moisture content of your skin. On the one hand, there is the presence of enough “water magnets”. On the other hand, it is an intact skin barrier that regulates the moisture content of the lower layers of the skin. If one of them does not fit, or both, the transepidermal water loss (TEWL) increases. The problem can therefore be traced back to various causes: a disturbed barrier or a too low NMF or both together.
That's why there are two different approaches to cosmetics: rich products with an emphasis on oils (for the skin barrier) and feather-light water-based hydration (for the natural moisturizing factor). That doesn't make it any easier at first. Because which of these is right for you? Get to the bottom of the problem. Determine if your skin tends to be dehydrated or dry .
☝️ The difference between dry and dehydrated skin - we often encounter these terms in cosmetics, but they can be confusing. Let's clear this up for a moment: dry skin is opposed to oily skin. Dehydrated, on the other hand, refers to a lack of water.
This is actually barrier-disturbed skin. The lack of moisture is caused by too few skin fats (lipids). A very good indicator of whether this applies to you is your skin type . If you've always had dry skin , then that's a condition. With this skin type, the sebaceous glands do not produce enough oil to maintain the barrier. However, impurities and clogged pores are the exception here.
To eliminate the cause, dry skin needs oil-based care . Vegetable oils are best. The skin can use these skin-like lipids to build up its barrier. This can not be done overnight. Patience and continuity are required here.
Also avoid emulsifiers . Their job is to combine fat and water in products. But they also do that on the skin. Here, the next time you wash, they couple lipids from the protective layer with the tap water and hey presto, down the drain!
🌟 Care tip: A natural facial oil helps to repair the barrier. You can simply apply it to damp skin to hydrate it. But until the barrier is more stable, it needs extra moisture. Now also use a moisturizing serum with hyaluronic acid and glycerine - which help to store more water. The result of care can thus be significantly improved.
Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, either lacks the ability to bind water or lacks water supply. This can affect all skin types . Even an oily complexion and impurities, especially underlayers, often go hand in hand with dehydration. The skin tries to compensate for the lack of moisture by increasing lipid production. In the absence of water, however, the sebum is very viscous and cannot drain off. This is how impurities are formed.
So if you have oily skin that still feels kind of dry , that's a clear sign of dehydration. It is not uncommon for scaly skin to occur because the renewal of the horny layer requires a certain water level. But what are the causes?
Water shortage caused by environmental factors
Even a "well oiled", intact skin barrier has a hard time with external influences such as heat, wind or heating air . It cannot absorb moisture from dry ambient air. Without water-based care, it therefore dehydrates.
🌟 Care tip: The same circumstances that dry out your skin, specifically with a moisturizing serum . Use oil very sparingly, especially in hot weather.
Lack of water due to an unfavorable care routine
Unfortunately, dehydration can also be homemade. Let's look at the two biggest skin care mistakes that contribute to this!
Number 1 is facial cleansing with soaps and surfactants . They are specially designed to loosen fat. We are often told that we have to lather thoroughly several times a day and rinse off with plenty of water - you will know this especially with oily, impure skin. However, studies show that the combination of lipid loss and water significantly reduces skin hydration. It can take hours for their moisture balance to return to normal 1,2 . Incidentally, this also applies to excessive washing with only water 3 . Here less is more!
🌟 Tip: Clean mildly! Only with lukewarm water or, if you can't do without, with a very mild natural cosmetic wash gel. The surfactants used in it are gentler than in conventional products. Generally avoid strong foaming cleaning products! And the best way to remove makeup is with a little oil.
Number 2 are drying ingredients . Some hydrating toiletries contain alcohols . They create the feather-light texture we love. And they make the barrier permeable so that active ingredients can enter the skin. However, this is not a one-way street. As a result, more water escapes.
🌟 Tip: Avoid products that contain alcohol , alcohol denat. , ethanol or alcohol contained. Instead, use serums that provide plenty of moisture with plant hydrosols, glycerin and hyaluronic acid.
Lack of water in mature skin
Decreasing elasticity also indicates a lack of water in the skin. Now I don't want to fool you that you can turn back time with a super moisturizer - although that would be really great! But it definitely helps to prevent premature skin aging or to slow down the process. Very important: be consistent and don't wait too long! If the skin is well cared for over years or decades, it shows gratitude.
But why is it that mature skin becomes dehydrated? It stores less water and it evaporates faster. There are several reasons for this:
- The connective tissue can absorb less water than before.
At the same time, the amino acid content in the horny layer is reduced and with it the NMF 4 .
- The skin becomes thinner and sebum production decreases, which weakens the skin barrier.
- Regeneration also slows down. The skin takes longer to recover from harmful care and cleaning substances.
🌟 Care tip: Mature skin needs the full program of fat and moisture .
- Rely on high-quality care oils (summer) or even richer balms (winter), which nourish your skin barrier with the much-needed fatty acids. Because these become rarer in the skin over time 5 .
Complete the oil care with a moisturizing serum with hyaluronic acid and glycerine, which bind a lot of water.