Dry skin is one of those things that strikes everybody at some stage. Depending upon where you’re located, it might come about as a result of too much time in the harsh sun. A very common cause in Australia. Or, you might have found yourself getting wind blasted. Alternatively, a cold snap might be the culprit, often in conjunction with windy conditions. Whatever it is, harsh elements are the enemy of healthy skin. This has to do with the fact that your outer layer of skin, the epidermis, which has a lot of roles, but significantly, is responsible for the retention of moisture, keeping the skin hydrated and healthy, comes under fire in these kinds of conditions. Without sunscreening or moisturising, it’s unlikely anyone’s skin can hold up unscathed when faced with more extreme weather conditions. For this reason, dry skin is not really a medical concern. However, more chronic skin conditions can be exacerbated by sensitivity and it is more than just the elements that have to be contended with in order to keep it well moisturised.
Dry skin versus Sensitive skin
Dry skin can be a result of genetic and environmental factors and comes about as a result of a lack of moisture in the top layer of the skin. Extreme hot or cold temperatures, harsh soaps or even just frequent handwashing can be enough to dry out your skin.
This will usually be evident in symptoms such as:
- Tight skin
- Slight itching
- Flaky, scaly or peeled skin
- Cracks, which may result in some bleeding
Sensitive skin is another story. It’s typically due to genetic differences in the normal protective skin barrier or is so severe in nature that it actually results in significant inflammation. Skin inflammation is more than just a lack of moisture, it is actually the immune system undergoing an overreaction to an irritant or allergen that the skin has become exposed to. Genetics play a role in susceptibility but anyone can experience it if their skin comes into contact with something that sets off the allergic reaction.
The sensitive skin symptoms will typically manifest as:
- Redness, often in conjunction with swelling and itchiness
- Possibly redness without the swelling
- Stinging or burning sensations
- Outbreaks of rashes and or hives
- The skin may begin to crack, blister or even bleed
- Dry and hard skin may appear in patches across the body
Sensitive skin may require some medical guidance to help with treating potential underlying causes but regardless of whether or not your skin is just dry or sensitive, poor skin related products can be one of the leading causes of skin damage, resulting in dry skin and fostering sensitive skin. With this in mind, it’s absolutely critical to choose products that will care for your skin, rather than stripping it of vital moisture.
One such brand committed to caring for sensitive skin is Cetaphil. Cetaphil was launched as a brand in 1947 out of Texas. Its first product, Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion, designed by a pharmacist to help patients more effectively treat sensitive skin conditions, is still available today, under the name Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. With over 70 years of research and development going into their products you can be confident that their products are effective, whilst being gentle on sensitive skin.
Key to Cetaphils ability to be sensitive on the skin yet effective at cleansing and moisturising is their choice of quality ingredients. These include the following:
Niacinamide, better known as Vitamin B3, is an essential vitamin providing moisture and antioxidants to the skin. It is highly effective at locking in moisture and is regularly used in products to treat oily skin and acne.
Panthenol, A.K.A. Pro-Vitamin B5, is key to providing relief for irritated skin as it has a naturally soothing effect. Its natural properties help to retain moisture, helping to soften, smooth and generally improve the feeling and look of skin.
The water-soluble glycerin works as an emollient, drawing moisture to the skin and improving moisture retention over a long period of time. As a result, skin cells become stimulated, helping to generate younger and healthier looking skin.
Tocopherol, otherwise known as Vitamin E, is a shield ingredient. The antioxidant properties of Vitamin E work to protect the skin against free radicals that can settle on the skin’s surface, causing irritation. If your skin is feeling irritated then Tocopherol can really help to soothe via its hydration.
Shea butter also works as a shield for the skin, restoring the top layer’s natural barrier, helping to retain moisture. Its high levels of vitamins and fatty acids have a multitude of benefits for skin’s wellbeing.
One of the biggest enemies of moisture-rich skin is aging. Hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in the skin but its prevalence begins to decrease as we get older. As well as retaining moisture, hyaluronic acid has the added benefit of increasing elasticity, which further strengthens skin, which becomes increasingly brittle in old age.
Similar to hyaluronic acid, ceramides are naturally occurring but in the outermost layer of the skin. Another shield ingredient, ceramides help to block harmful irritants, whilst retaining internal moisture, helping to make skin more resilient. A particularly important goal for those suffering from sensitive skin.
Aloe vera is practically a full bucket of water masquerading as a plant, with its makeup consisting of more than 95% water. As well as providing hydration to the skin it can also gently exfoliate, helping to revitalise damaged skin.
Urea is a humectant, which is a fancy word to describe something that retains or preserves moisture. As a result, urea is one of the ultimate ingredients for treating rough and dry skin, helping to smooth it out.
Another shield ingredient for the skin, bisabolol helps to keep skin firm by preventing collagen breakdown, keeping out free radicals that can cause inflammation.
Being one of the only fruits to contain healthy unsaturated fats, its oils are rich in Vitamins A, D and E. These vitamins are particularly nourishing for dry and flaky skin.
Sweet Almond Oil
Much like glycerin, sweet almond oil acts as an emollient. Moisturising and full of antioxidants, it is highly effective in improving skin texture.
Whether you are experiencing a temporary bout of dry skin or are suffering from a more chronic case of sensitive and dry skin, Cetaphil’s high quality ingredients and dermatologically tested products are exactly what your skin needs to look and feel its best.
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