Dehydration is the excessive loss of water from the body. In the skin on the face, dehydration occurs when there is a deficiency of water in the surface layer of the skin, the stratum corneum. This is most often caused by environmental exposure, and is aggravated by natural ageing and photoageing of the skin. Examples of environmental factors include wind, which can increase evaporation from the skin, and long showers or other activities characterised by prolonged exposure to water. Air conditioning, air travel, over-cleansing of the skin, use of certain medications, and application of the wrong skincare products can also cause dehydration. The signs of dehydration include skin tightness or tautness, flaking, and fine lines. Dehydration can affect any skin type.
The lipid barrier plays a vital role in helping prevent dehydration. The lipid barrier of the stratum corneum helps to prevent dehydration by retaining vital moisture in the skin. When the lipid barrier is impaired, there is an increase in moisture loss that can result in dry, scaly, cracked, and sensitive skin.
In addition, drier skin can accentuate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The lipid barrier can also be impaired by paramedical skin treatments such as laser resurfacing treatments and facial peels. Treating the skin with appropriate skincare products after paramedical treatments is essential to help restore moisture balance and support the healthy functioning of the lipid barrier.
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