The skin is one of our biggest organs and visible to everyone. This is why it should look good and well cared-for. "Dry skin" – or medically known as "xeroderma" – is one of the most common skin problems. It is frequently accompanied by a feeling of tightness and is also inelastic and tends to result in painful cracks. In addition, there is often more or less pronounced itching, which tempts the affected individual to scratch. However, this can cause further damage to the skin and the scratch marks create ideal entries for germs.
Dry skin primarily occurs on the face, feet, elbows or shins, but can also affect the entire body.
Causes of dry skin
Dry skin itches and feels tight, but in worst cases it can cause cracking and pain. It also feels raw and rough. Dry skin can have a number of causes:
- Seasons and weather can be particularly challenging on the skin: In winter especially, up to 48% of men and women in Germany are affected by dry skin. Heated air and cold temperatures can also increasingly lead to dry skin. The face, hands and lips in particular are exposed to cold air and therefore need special attention.
- Hormonal changes can disrupt the skin's barrier
- Certain medicines can cause dry skin as a side effect
- Excessive washing or cleansing products that are too aggressive can attack the skin's protective layer. The same also applies to long or frequent showers and swimming.
- Predisposition or diseases (e.g. atopic eczema)
If dry skin is caused by certain diseases, a doctor should be consulted regarding treatment.
How does dry skin occur?
Our skin has a natural barrier that prevents it from losing too much moisture. This barrier is made up of corneocytes and
- a thin lipid film on the skin, which alleviates the harmful influence of water on the skin;
- the structural lipids rich in linoleic acid, which are located between and flexibly link the corneocytes; and
- natural moisture factors, which help to stabilise the skin's moisture content
Together with the corneocytes, all these form a protective structure, similar to a wall, which prevents bacteria and harmful substances from penetrating the skin.
If, however, the structural lipids and moisture retention factors are stripped away due to frequent bathing, showering or swimming, or are no longer produced in sufficient amounts, such as with ageing or atopic eczema, the corneocytes separate from one another, creating gaps in the skin’s protective barrier. Whether as a result of internal or external causes, the result is always the same – dry, flaky, rough skin that is increasingly susceptible to inflammation, itchiness and eczema.
Caring for dry skin
To protect the skin against barrier breakdowns and the depletion of its moisture and natural oils, constant replenishment with essential components of healthy skin is vital. Linoleic acid is particularly significant in this respect. The body cannot produce this special polyunsaturated fatty acid on its own – like a vitamin it must be taken in on a regular basis to maintain healthy skin. There is a high concentration of linoleic acid in sunflower oil, thistle oil and wheatgerm oil, for example.
With many skin care products from Linola (e.g. Linola Lotion) this is supplied directly to the skin. Daily care is essential for dry skin. For very dry skin as well as for normal skin during the winter, a higher lipid level is recommended, while a lower level can be adequate in milder cases or during the summer.
It is important to adapt the selected care products to the skin's individual needs.
What are the different products for dry skin?
If you look on the shelves in a chemists for example, you will see an overwhelmingly large number of different skin care products. There are various creams, gels, lotions, pastes, masks and serums. But how do all these products differ? And most importantly: which is the "right" product type for me?
Various formulations for caring for dry skin
Cream is perhaps the most common product type for caring for dry skin. There are 2 different "types" of creams, and these depend on how the aqueous and oily components of the cream are processed together.
Largely independent of the cream's lipid content, a distinction is made between water-in-oil and oil-in-water creams.
The difference between the two product types is based on the distribution of the ingredients. While the aqueous components (e.g. water, glycerin, etc.) are finely distributed as droplets in an "oily" environment with water-in-oil creams, the oily ingredients (e.g. vegetable oils, fats, waxes, etc.) are distributed in an "aqueous" environment with oil-in-water creams.
Tips for selecting suitable products for dry skin
The previously mentioned differences in the creams cannot be detected by the naked eye. Nevertheless, some of the different cream properties can usually be noticed on the skin:
- Water-in-oil creams usually feel "richer" on the skin, frequently leaving a thin lipid film and tending to be absorbed more slowly.
- Oil-in-water creams are frequently perceived to be "lighter" on the skin, can also have cooling properties and are usually quickly absorbed by the skin.
Accordingly, water-in-oil preparations, such as Linola Lotion, are particularly well suited for very dry skin and skin prone to atopic eczema, as well as for particularly stressful conditions such as the dry, cold air during autumn and winter. The thin lipid film on the skin protects it and counteracts an excessive loss of moisture.
On the other hand, oil-in-water preparations, such as Linola Lotion light, are particularly suited to caring for dry skin on a daily basis, especially in warm temperatures such as during the summer months. The skin is supplied with soothing lipids (fats) and is not left with a sticky feeling.
Dry skin needs lipids and moisture. This is why it is essential to drink sufficient quantities of water – approx. two litres a day are recommended – to also provide the skin with moisture from the inside. In winter, it is also recommended to protect the skin as much as possible from the cold and to wrap up particularly sensitive areas well or protect them with a richer cream (water-in-oil creams and lotions are particularly suited for this).
To prevent the skin's barrier function from being additionally stressed especially with dry skin, it is important not to wash or shower excessively. It is advisable to keep showers as short as possible. Water also should not be too hot. Apart from this, it is also recommended to use a mild shower gel so that you can start caring for your skin in the shower. Mild cleansers protect the skin's barrier for dry skin.
For dry skin: Linola
Do you suffer from dry skin? Linola Lotion can provide a remedy. It was specially developed for the basic care of all kinds of dry and stressed skin. By providing the whole body with essential linoleic acids, it is suitable for daily use, is quickly absorbed and can be distributed easily.
Linola Lotion light is also suitable for dry skin. The daily care product for the whole body feels pleasant on the skin even in the summer or in warm or humid weather. It does not leave a sticky feeling, but still visibly improves skin dryness.
Regular use of Linola products on dry skin can help to noticeably relieve the symptoms of dry skin and protect the skin's barrier.
All products are available over the counter in your pharmacy.