What are the symptoms of dry or very dry skin?
What causes skin dryness?
Healthy skin is naturally protected on its surface by the hydrolipidic film, composed mainly of water and lipids (sebum). It is impermeable, protects the skin from external stress and reduces water loss. When the upper layer of the epidermis does not have a good balance of water and lipids, it can no longer effectively fulfil its barrier function and becomes uncomfortable to varying degrees, as explained above. In contrast to dehydrated skin, dry or very dry skin is a chronic condition generally caused by a genetic disorder. It is a type of skin, like oily skin, combination skin, etc. In addition to innate or systemic dryness, there are also dry skin conditions triggered by other factors: external, environmental or weather conditions, skin diseases (atopic eczema, psoriasis, etc.), general illnesses (thyroid, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, etc.) and/or medical treatments.
What differentiates dry skin from dehydrated skin?
Dry skin or very dry skin designates a particular skin type. It is a permanent condition characterised by tightness over the entire face and body caused by an abnormality in the skin barrier. The skin is fine, has a close texture and redness, and lacks water and lipids. Dehydrated skin can affect people of all skin types at one time or another during their lives. This is a reversible, temporary phenomenon characterised by localised, occasional tightness due to poor binding and water loss. The skin lacks moisture, making it uncomfortable and sometimes scaly. Learn more about dehydrated skin here.
Who is affected?
Some people are born with dry skin; it is part of their genetic heritage. It is also important to understand that the skin changes with age. It is drier in children (except in newborns; however, water loss is more significant at that age), becomes oilier in adolescence and then becomes dry again in adulthood (the sebaceous glands and sweat glands become less functional). Natural skin aging causes the epidermis to become thinner (because its cell renewal rate diminishes) and the horny layer to become thicker.