Dry skin concerns often heighten as the weather cools down and humidity decreases. To protect and maintain the skin’s moisture levels, it is essential to target the cause of dryness. The skin produces a natural oil called sebum that hydrates the skin and protects it from external environmental factors. When the skin is not producing sebum properly, it is left dry and flaky. Dry skin can appear in several forms and severities: a feeling of tightness, rough patches, itchy skin, cracks, redness, or an ashy tone.
Causes of dry skin include climate changes, chemical exposure, over-washing, medical conditions, and hormonal imbalances. While climate and product-related causes can be easily identified and solved, hormonal imbalances can be more difficult to target.
Hormonal Fluctuations & Dry Skin
Dry skin is a common side effect of hormonal imbalances- especially in women. Aging, menopause, and a woman’s menstrual cycle can all be linked to the production of the hormone, estrogen. When estrogen levels are not optimal, dry skin commonly results.
Estrogen plays a major role in sexual development during a woman’s key life stages including puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Estrogen levels can directly affect the skin and a multitude of other physiologic functions. Estrogen affects the production of elastin, collagen, and hyaluronic acid which contributes to the skin’s moisture retention and elasticity. Scientific studies have demonstrated a clear relationship between estrogen levels and the age women appear due to their overall skin health. The decrease in estrogen during perimenopause, menopause, and a woman’s menstrual cycle causes trans-epidermal water loss leading to dehydration. As a result, a woman’s skin will feel drier, rough, and appear more wrinkled.
Perimenopause & Menopause
Estrogen is responsible for stimulating the formation of collagen which keeps the skin smooth and hydrated. As estrogen levels decrease, women in their 40’s will begin to experience increased dryness and trans-epidermal water loss, leading to the wrinkling of the lower eyelid area, the onset of static lines (versus dynamic lines which occur with movement), and a shift in the volume and elasticity of the skin. The skin will begin to appear thinner and drier as the body’s ability to retain moisture diminishes.
Women experience fluctuating levels of estrogen during their menstrual cycle. During the first few days of the cycle, the skin will be drier and duller due to low estrogen and progesterone levels. During this time, the skin will need additional moisture to maintain balance.
The Power of Phytoestrogens
Facial skin has a very high density of estrogen receptors, and it was for this reason that Dr. Zenovia was interested in researching the impact that phytoestrogens have on the skin. Phytoestrogens are a natural compound found in some plants and plant-based foods. Their chemical compound structure is similar, but not identical to the human estrogen molecule. The phytoestrogen molecule basically mimics the effect of human estrogen on the skin without systemic effects. Dr. Zenovia uncovered scientific data proving the power of phytoestrogens to bind to estrogen receptors and initiate important signal pathways in the skin. Her research led to the creation of the first-ever dermatologist-developed skincare technology to help address the appearance of hormone-impacted skin: REG-ulate360 Complex™. This technology incorporates medical-grade actives including Resveratrol, Vitamin E, Green Tea, and a cutting-edge, plant-derived phytoestrogen known as Genistein. The REG-ulate360 Complex™ helps restore the appearance of hormonally imbalanced skin to an optimal healthy state. This technology is incorporated in all of Dr. Zenovia’s products in both her Clear Complexion and Essentials line.
Dry Skin Care Routine
Using topical skincare products formulated for dry, sensitive skin is a great first step toward management and treatment. Recognizing when your skin may need more moisture due to environmental or internal, hormonal factors is key.
Dr. Zenovia recommends cleansing with a gentle, non-stripping face wash morning and night. Using harsh soaps can increase skin dryness and should be avoided. Opt for a hydrating cleanser with ingredients that nourish and maintains the skin’s pH balance. A few essential ingredients to look for include Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera, Bakuchiol, and Bisabolol. Dr. Zenovia’s Bakuchiol Hydrating Cleanser is a gentle and effective option for dry, sensitive skin. It is soap-free and contains clinical-grade ingredients to thoroughly remove environmental pollutants, excess oil, and makeup while refreshing and moisturizing the skin.
Facial serums are designed to be highly concentrated formulations that deliver targeted active ingredients. There are two types of serums: water-based and oil-based. Water-based serums absorb more quickly into the skin and are used as a delivery system for water-soluble ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid. Oil-based serums take a bit longer to absorb into the skin, making them ideal for nighttime treatments. For dry skin, Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C are great, popular options. Hyaluronic Acid encourages the skin to hold onto moisture while Vitamin C is an antioxidant that encourages the synthesis of collagen.
Dr. Zenovia’s Hyaluronic Acid + Peptide Serum features fractionated Hyaluronic Acid and Dr. Zenovia’s REG-ulate360 Complex™ to provide intense hydration and nourishment while helping to visibly plump skin. Hydrating serums should be applied after cleansing and before moisturizing for best results.
Related Article: Derm-Recommended Supplements for Hormonal Acne
Using a moisturizer morning and night is another essential step in the prevention and management of skin dryness. The most important function of a moisturizer is to protect the skin barrier and maintain hydration levels. A few benefits of using a daily moisturizer include reducing trans-epidermal water loss, restoring the skin’s protective barrier, and improving the texture and appearance of the skin.
There are three different types of moisturizing agents:
- Emollients: Mainly made up of lipids and oils, emollients help hydrate and improve the skin barrier function.
- Humectants: Humectants have high water-attracting properties that draw moisture from the dermis to the epidermis and moisture from the environment into the skin.
- Occlusives: Occlusives are made up of oils and waxes that form a physical layer to block water loss and keep in hydration. Occlusives tend to feel heaviest and greasiest on the skin due to the physical barrier they create.
For daytime, Dr. Zenovia’s Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer SPF 30 is a medium weight moisturizer that hydrates and protects the skin from harmful UV rays. Clinical grade Vitamin C-Ester visibly helps minimize the appearance of dark spots, discoloration, fine lines, and wrinkles associated with photoaging.
For nighttime, Dr. Zenovia’s Peptide + Ceramide Repairing Moisturizer contains a unique combination of bio-equivalent ceramides, potent humectants, and emollients to help attract, retain, and distribute moisture to fortify the skin’s protective barrier and combat dryness for a glowing, radiant complexion.
For acneic skin prone to dryness, Dr. Zenovia’s Aloe Vera Blemish Soothing Moisturizer is an ultra-light, oil-free moisturizer infused with medical-grade Aloe Vera, skin-soothing Squalene, and a powerful clinically curated Antioxidant Blend that provides long-lasting hydration, reduces the appearance of redness, and promotes the look of even texture and tone for a supple, glowing, blemish-free complexion.
Dr. Zenovia’s Top Tip: Be sure to contact your local board-certified dermatologist if dryness persists.
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