Scroll to top


Danita - November 3, 2023 - 0 comments

Previously posted on fb by Alexia Parker (DermaConcepts) on Oct 4, 2023

A few years back I remember reading an article in a popular women’s magazine about what Danish women do to minimize skin dehydration during the long cold Scandinavian winters.  It seemed like pretty reasonable advice: use a heavy moisturizer after gentle cleansing and drink plenty of water.  However, from a skin physiology standpoint, this could actually make skin even more dehydrated, tight & dry feeling.  Our skin is a highly sophisticated organ governed by the perfect orchestration of skin cell signaling and response.  Wearing a heavy moisturizer can confuse this highly sophisticated signaling by relaying information to the cells below that “they have it covered.”  Therefore, as soon as the heavy topical moisturizer wears off, the skin is even more dehydrated and uncomfortable feeling.

Science provides us with the understanding that dehydrated skin stems from its impaired barrier function, not a direct result of harsh environmental exposures.  The moisture content for the skin is regulated by highly complex mechanisms metabolically and structurally.  Genetics determines how much sebum you produce; however, sebum is only one of the components that comprise the barrier function of the skin. Ceramides from the epidermal bilayers emulsify sebum with secretions from the sudoriferous glands contributing to the establishment of the acid mantle.  However, much of the true water content of the skin is the result of ideal differentiation of keratinocytes from healthy skin cells as they transform into mature coenocytes and form the natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) and hyaluronic acid created by fibroblast to the dermis.  All of these components have to be in place and working in perfect synergies for the skin to meets its moisture requirements as well as prevent trans-epidermal water loss (TEWLS).

Therefore, the most effective way to address skin dehydration is to first normalize the skin metabolism and function by fortifying the keratinocytes’ journey to the terminal differentiation with skin-friendly, fatty forms of vitamin A.  Vitamin A is the dominant molecule in skin DNA regulating proliferation differentiation and specialization.  When vitamin A is missing from the skin cell’s “pantry,” things start to fall apart.  It’s important to know that vitamin A, as well as other important molecules such as vitamin C in exposed areas of our body is depleted every time we go outside into light.  Therefore, we must replace vitamin A every day, rain or shine.  This is the only way we can restore barrier function from a physiologic standpoint, not just temporarily alleviating the symptoms of dehydrated skin.  Vitamin A will, given time, help to reestablish the barrier’s composition and metabolism remedy dehydration.

Because our skin is designed to be an organ capable of adapting to its environment, once it has enough vitamin A, it needs to normalize and restore a healthy functioning barrier.  It will be equipped to provide and maintain moisture from the inside out.  Of course, we always have to take into consideration individual factors such as skin type, sex, age, lifestyle, diet, medications, etc., as well as the time it will take to build up the cutaneous reserves of vitamin A in deficient skin.  Accordingly, we can address the immediate symptoms of dehydration with specific boosters that support the skin’s own natural barrio function.  Ingredients such as niacinamide, Provitamin B5, hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, olive-derived squalene, shea butter, lactic acid and pharmaceutical grade lanolin to name a few. And always remember to check for improper cleansers, swimmers exposed to chlorinated pools, hot yoga goers and other things that may disrupt the lipid bilayers.


Children generally don’t suffer from dehydrated skin.  Dehydrated skin develops over time with the cumulative cutaneous deficiency of vitamin A as well as the environmental assaults.  Ultimately, the skin is designed to take care of itself better than we can ever do as professionals.  We just need to understand and provide what is missing for the skin to regain its optimal health from the inside-out.

Related posts

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *