Wednesday, November 1, 2017

You probably don't have dry skin! || TRUE DRY VS. OILY + DEHYDRATED || Rivet Licker

TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains images containing minor wounds with blood. Reader's discretion is advised.

I don't think most consumers really understand what dry skin is. Is your skin lacking oil, or water? Probably water!

Looking like you're a bit flaky can be one sign of dry skin, but there's a difference between truly dry skin, and simply dehydrated conditions. Skin types are about how much sebum (oil) you naturally produce. Some may product a lot, some produce hardly any; it can be uniform, or it can be patchy (combination), it's not about how flaky or textured your skin is. Most people have the combination type, like myself – I have TRUE dry skin on my cheeks and a slightly oily T-Zone – however, this says nothing more than how much oil my skin is actually producing.



Sebum is a waxy oil that is secreted by the sebaceous glands on the body. They are found all over the body except on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Wherever there is a sebaceous gland, there is usually a hair follicle involved, but not in all cases. Sebum production varies in humans and can be stimulated or attenuated by physical, chemical, hormonal and environmental factors. During puberty, hormonal changes disrupt the skin's functions, just like during menopause, or if you're undergoing HRT.



Dry skin is more common amongst lighter skin tones, particularly those with red hair, but dry skin and dry dermatological conditions can affect anybody regardless.

Dry skin is prone to cracking, flaking, being easily irritated and feeling tight (and not in a good way). It is often thin and delicate as it lacks a barrier due to minimal oil production. Oily skin that is dehydrated often has the same kind of characteristics and simply spraying a humectant rich toner, or applying hyaluronic acid serum often helps. Dry skin doesn't do that, and often becomes more dehydrated because there's no oil allowing water to be locked in.

You won't notice a midday shine – it's a permanent matte finish. It's often dull looking and crepe paper-like. Clay masks feel terrible and leave your skin worse off than if you just washed your face and forgot to put moisturiser on. Pores are almost invisible and pimples are not very common at all. Due to impaired barrier function, skin is susceptible to environmental damage; fine lines and a scaly appearance are synonymous with dry skin.

Your skin is probably sensitive and heavily fragranced products can irritate. Retinol products are a no-go because it can reduce oil flow and can often thin the skin further.

If you've never experienced Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) or have been diagnosed with a condition such as Ichthyosis (a family of genetic skin conditions that Carly Findlay can tell you all about), you probably do not have dry skin.



Sure, Dermalogica lists sensitive as a type, but it's a condition; because you can have any amount of oil production and be sensitive. Dry skin just tends to be more sensitive.



Seborrheic Dermatitis is a common kind of condition found on the face or scalp, everybody gets it at some point. It looks like eczema, but it's often caused by a lipophilic (oil loving) fungus. I've had it around my mouth and it took 6 months for it to go away. I had to use Nizoral (Ketoconazole 2% cream that is available over the counter) and a prescription topical steroid to keep it under control. It's very different to Eczema caused by dry skin, which doesn't involve fungal infections.

 Seborrheic Dermatitis around my mouth.


I had slightly more normal to oily skin when I was younger, until I was put on a contraceptive pill to control Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and the associated androgenic hormones that made my skin slightly oily.

My hands.
They're quite unsightly most of the time and are continually craving hand cream. I was told by a specialist that I have a specific kind of condition called 'Dyshidrotic Eczema”' on my hands and feet, although this has not been confirmed by a dermatologist. I have hardened thick skin around my cuticles and semi-fragile skin around my knuckles (always swiping past abrasive objects). It's also really painful.

Scaly, wrinkled appearance of severely dehydrated, dry skin on my hands.

Painful cracked skin from itchy blisters around my thumb (Dyshidrotic Eczema)

My body.
It isn't affected too badly, but when I wind up with a rash (usually from sun exposure), there's a problem. I should be moisturising after showers, but often just spot treat with all purpose balms. The tight feeling around wounds isn't pleasant.

Eczema on my arm, likely due to sun exposure (Lupus related complication).

My face.
Most moisturisers don't live to my needs – protection of the barrier, so I wind up having to mix extra oil into it. I have never in my life had a pimple on my cheeks. My T-Zone having oil production means I do get pimples and clogged pores in that area, and usually around hormonal changes, I sometimes get painful nodules.

Pores on my cheeks are invisible due to lack of oil production. This is my skin when it is behaving.

Product Suggestions
I feel that people with dry skin have different product needs, and thus I will not be suggesting any products to improve skin health. Please speak with your G.P. or a Dermatologist for the best advice. I tend to only know what my own skin likes.

I hope this clears up the air about those dry flakes – your skin probably isn't dry!

This post is presented as a knowledge piece. Acquisition of products and/or services stated alongside each item, my thoughts are honest. For more information, please read my Disclosure Policy.

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