What does Dry Skin Look Like?
Effective skincare begins with knowing our skin type. Once we know our skin type, we can then start caring for our skin by using products that our skin type needs.
Dry skin lacks oil. In skincare terminology, this oil is also called sebum. Sebum is secreted by the skin's oil glands. Sebum plays an important role in the skin's barrier function. The visible layer of skin works as a barrier: it prevents water from evaporating through the skin and prevents environmental nasties from attacking our skin. This helps the skin stay hydrated and break out free. The visible layer works as a shield. Sebum helps skin carry out its barrier function. Less sebum (oil) = A compromised barrier function. This is the case with dry skin.
What does dry look like - How can you tell you have dry skin?
Here are the ways in which you can tell:
1. Pinch Test: Pinch your cheek. Hold. Observe the part you are holding. If it feels plump and soft, no dry skin. If it feels dry and flaky and you notice visible lines, you have dry skin.
2. Early Morning Test: Before going to bed, cleanse your face with a cleanser. Don't apply any skincare product to your face. Go to bed. This test works best if there is no heating or air-conditioning turned on at night. We want this test to work without any external influences. Heating and air-conditioning will make your skin dry even if it's not your natural skin type.
In the morning, observe your face. If your skin feels dry, dry on the cheeks, dry on the forehead and nose, you have dry skin. By dry we mean no oil.
3. Blotting / Tissue Test: If you want to be absolutely sure about your skin type, you can add an additional step to your early morning test. Take a couple of blotting paper pieces. Place them on your forehead, cheeks and nose. If it falls off immediately, you have dry skin.
If you don't have blotting paper, you can use a thin layer of tissue. A tissue is made up of a few layers - so try and separate the layers and use just one layer.
4. Stretched and Tight: Does your face feel very tight and stretched? If it does, high chance of dry skin. This test is not sufficient on its own. Combine it with the early morning test.
5. Irritated and sensitive: We know that dry skin lacks oil. Dry skin has a weak barrier because of lack of oil. And this weak barrier cannot protect the skin from external irritants. And so they attack. And so, dry skin is always irritated. It is prone to breakouts. Because of the breakouts, it is sensitive.
6. Pores: Oil gets released into the visible layer through oil glands. Dry skin lacks oil. And so the pores are not that busy in dry skin. Hence pores in dry skin will not be very visible. Pores won't be dilated.
7. Makeup: When you apply makeup on dry skin, it settles into creases. It won't have a smooth appearance.
8. Soaks in moisturisers and facial oils: Dry skin is thirsty for oils and moisturisers. Apply them and you will feel like it is literally soaking them in. This test is not sufficient on its own.
9. Dehydrated: Since dry skin is not strong enough to prevent water loss through evaporation, it can also end up lacking water. This is why most dry skin is also dehydrated. Dehydrated skin feels dull and stiff.
Dry skin is prone to dehydration - but not everyone with dry skin has dehydrated skin. There is a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin.