November 02, 2021 7 min read

If your skin has been feeling flaky and rough, you may be struggling with dry skin. Dry skin can be annoying, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. 

For this reason, MadeMan is committed to helping you better understand dry, flaky skin on the face and how to deal with it.

What is Dry Skin?

Dry skin is a skin type characterized by having fewer oil-producing glands in the face. Typically, oil-producing glands, or more specifically sebaceous glands, excrete sebum

Sebum is an oily substance that contains fat molecules or lipids and lubricates the skin.

Since those with dry skin have fewer sebaceous glands, there is naturally less oil on their skin. 

This makes it less protected against external irritants and unable to retain as much moisture as other skin types. If untreated, dry skin can develop red patches, flaking, a rough complexion, and less elasticity.

For example, certain individuals have skin conditions that make their dry skin a life-long affliction, or others will be temporarily afflicted with dryness based on external influences. Eczema, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis can all lead to symptoms similar to those of dry skin.

The environment in which you reside can have a major influence on whether your skin is dry. The wintertime is a particularly common time of year for skin to become drier and flakier on account of the frigid air, harsh winds, and low humidity levels.

You do not need to experience the irritating symptoms of dry skin during the winter. Taking preventative action and making some simple adjustments to your skincare routine can make all the difference and keep your skin looking radiant and feeling moisturized all year long.

The symptoms of dry skin can sometimes vary depending on factors like your age or your environment, but one of the most common signs is a rough texture. 

Additionally, your skin may feel itchy, raw, and tight, particularly after being exposed to water. You may also experience a stinging sensation due to the irritation. 

Dehydrated Skin

Visibly, you will notice redness and flakiness or dry patches. The scaly texture of your dry skin may result in fine lines and cracking that may form deeply on the skin and cause bleeding or scarring if not properly tended to.

Before discussing the treatment options for dry, flaky skin, it is worth mentioning that dry skin is sometimes confused with dehydrated skin. The two share many of the same symptoms, but it is essential to decipher between them so that you can treat your skin properly. 

Dehydrated skin is not a skin type but rather a condition that is caused by a water deficiency. If you spend a lot of time out in the sun, moving or exercising, you are probably familiar with dehydration of the body. 

When you lose more fluids than you consume, your body is incapable of functioning normally. Your skin being dehydrated works in the exact same way. When you lack necessary fluids, your skin will not operate in the way it is meant to and can lead to your skin cracking, peeling, itching, or becoming irritated. 

Similarly to dry skin, dehydration can result from a variety of causes, including the weather, your lifestyle, and your diet.

One common mistake that people make when misdiagnosing their skin condition is to assume that if your skin is oily, it is not dehydrated. In reality, dehydration has nothing to do with oil. It is all about your water intake. 

If your skin type is oily, you are still equally as vulnerable to falling victim to dehydrated skin as anyone else.

How To Tell the Difference

Do you have dry skin or dehydrated skin? It can be tricky to tell the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin when they share many of the same symptoms, but we have some tips for figuring it out.

First, look out for specific trouble areas on the face and body. 

If you notice that the appearance of bags below your eyes is more prominent than usual, your problem is probably dehydration. Dehydrated skin may exacerbate dark circles beneath the eyes. 

While this look can be inherited, the undereye is one of the thinnest and most vulnerable areas of skin on your body and can reflect other issues. In this case, the bags below your eyes being darker and puffier than usual can be a sign of low water intake.

As for dry skin, you will likely notice the unwanted symptoms spreading beyond just your face. If you are struggling to identify whether your skin is being affected by dryness or dehydration, we suggest seeking advice from a professional. 

Treating Dry Skin

Now that we have an understanding of dry skin, its symptoms, and its causes, we can begin to discuss its treatment options.

Nutrients

Altering your diet by implementing more nutrients is one of several home remedies that can help to restore your dry skin. Some of the best nutrients for supporting your skin are omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that help to build and maintain your body’s health. The three main omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)

Your body does not produce ALA on its own and instead obtains it through the consumption of foods rich in the nutrient. Your body can then convert a portion of the ALA into EPA and DHA, in turn increasing your body’s levels of these omega-3 fatty acids.

The consumption of omega-3 fatty acids has direct benefits for healing dry skin by improving the fatty acid composition in your skin, balancing your skin’s response, and regulating the skin’s oil production.

You have the option to up your omega-3 fatty acid intake by taking dietary supplements that include fish oil and krill oil or eating foods rich in omega-3s. These foods include nuts, seeds, seafood, and plant oils. 

The recommended intake of omega-3s varies depending on factors that include age and sex, but studies report that the general recommendation of ALA for men is 1.6 grams. 

Humidifier

During the winter, the air is cold and lacking in humidity. This can cause the skin to dry out and can reduce the rate of sebum production. To combat this, you can invest in a humidifier to keep at home or in your workplace.

Having moisture in the air is important for having natural moisturizing agents to prevent and treat dry skin. The main function of a humidifier is to put moisture back into the air. 

Air lacking in moisture tends to result in dry, itchy skin on top of a dry nose and eyes. 

Having a humidifier around will also prevent additional moisture from being taken from your skin. When there is little moisture present in the air, it is drawn from other sources. 

When there is little moisture in the air, like on a frigid winter day or when your heater is turned all the way up at home, the air will draw moisture from other sources. Having a humidifier will prevent the air from drawing and evaporating moisture from your skin.

You can also bring moisture back to the skin by using skin care products like cream, lotions, or other moisturizers that work to repair the skin barrier with healing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and shea butter. Fragrance-free products may be best if your skin is particularly sensitive, as fragrance can worsen irritation.

Restart

Sometimes the best way to treat your dry, flaky skin is to try and start over. By refreshing, clearing your skin, and starting from the beginning, you will have the opportunity to apply good habits and refine your look.

For this, we recommend The Re(Set) Collection, a collection we designed with simplicity in mind. This two-step treatment will allow you to take an easy first step towards a proactive life. In just under two minutes a day, you will cleanse, moisturize, and protect your skin against environmental stressors. The collection will be particularly useful for treating dryness as it is formulated to balance greasy and dry skin. 

The Refresher, which is the cleanser in the collection, is a water-based product that uses all-natural ingredients. It should be able to nourish, repair, and refresh your dry, flaky skin after just a few uses. Its use of the ingredient Mica should then prevent other environmental pollutants from drying out the skin again.

A good skincare routine should be used in combination with a lifestyle conducive to healthy skin. Hot showers or baths using very hot water tend to worsen dry skin, and you should also avoid soaps and detergents containing harsh ingredients. Scrubs and exfoliators can help remove the top layer of dead skin cells in order to reveal new skin.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is essential for attaining and maintaining healthy skin, regardless of the time of year. 

Even in the cloudy, cold winter months, ultraviolet light can negatively impact your skin’s moisture barrier. When your moisture barrier is harmed, your skin’s health will be affected, and your skin will become drier. 

Sunscreen is meant to protect your skin from sun exposure. Unprotected exposure to sunscreen can result in dark spots, dryness, scaly skin, and roughness. 

Therefore, it is essential to apply either a chemical or mineral sunscreen every morning that has an SPF of at least 30 and is broad-spectrum to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Your sunscreen should be applied even on overcast days or when you plan to stay indoors.

Conclusion

Dry, flaky skin can be pesky, but getting rid of it can be easy. With the correct diagnosis from a dermatologist, the right treatments, and consistency, you should be able to alleviate the discomfort of dry and peeling skin.

 

Sources:

Mechanisms and Management of Itch in Dry Skin | PubMed

Sebum, cosmetics, andskincare | PubMed

Skin hydration and hydrating products | PubMed

Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Consumer | ODS

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