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Hydrated Skin Equals A Healthy You

Our skin is an important component for our overall health as it controls our body’s temperature and helps detect different senses such as cold, heat, and pain.

To care for our skin, we have to ensure it is hydrated always, as skin dryness or dehydration brings a big impact physically, and that could affect our lives in the long run. Picture courtesy of Sunway Medical Centre.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 – Our skin is more than just being a foundation for beauty; it is our largest organ which protects our internal organs from injuries, germs, or bacteria, as well as from exposure to extreme weather.

It is an important component for our overall health as it controls our body’s temperature and helps detect different senses such as cold, heat, and pain.

To care for our skin, we have to ensure it is hydrated always as skin dryness or dehydration brings a big impact to us physically and that could affect our lives in the long run.

According to Sunway Medical Centre dermatologist Dr Felix Yap: “Lack of water or skin dehydration will cause dry skin where it will peel, crack, irritate, itch and become sensitive.

“If we scratch when it itches, it may lead to damage of the skin’s first layer or the epidermis (a protective layer), causing it to become thinner or eventually recede away.”

He explained that the skin on the human body consists of three layers:

  • Epidermis: Outermost layer of the skin, and is responsible for waterproofing and giving colour or tone to the skin.
  • Dermis: Below the epidermis, containing nerves, strong connective tissue and hair follicles.
  • Hypodermis: The deepest layer, which is the layer of subcutaneous tissue that is rich in fat and has protein to help the skin tissue return to its original shape after being stretched.

“When the epidermis is compromised, germs and dust can penetrate into the second layer of the skin or dermis, causing inflammation, in addition to causing other skin problems, such as eczema and psoriasis,” he continued.

Cause Of Skin Dryness

Usually, he said, skin dryness is caused by genetic factors. Some individuals are born without a protective skin layer, causing their skin to be easily dehydrated.

Besides that, improper selection of products can also cause skin dryness, for example, frequent usage of body scrubs or soaps with a higher pH level (i.e. pH above 7).

“Being in an air-conditioned room and under the hot sun for a long period of time will also cause the skin to become dry.

Therefore, in order to prevent skin dehydration, applying moisturisers are a practical way to ensure that the skin is healthy and has a good level of hydration.

However, if dryness is at a serious level, it is recommended to use medicated moisturisers,” said Dr Yap.

Know Your Skin Type

Dr Yap reminds everyone to identify their own skin type before choosing products to ensure that they are suitable for long-term use.

“For dry skin types, oil-based moisturisers are more suitable because the oil content will moisturise the skin and reduce itching or peeling, while individuals with oily skin can choose oil control moisturisers to prevent acne growth.

“For sensitive skin, it is recommended to use special moisturisers, products without fragrance or chemicals produced by certified medical brands,” he explained.

If unsure on the type of products to use, Dr Felix suggests using a sample first to ensure that the selected product is suitable for your skin type.

Misconceptions

There are many misconceptions about skin hydration, one of it being the idea of drinking a lot of water and regularly consuming vegetables will help the skin to stay hydrated.

However, this has been proven to be inaccurate.

“Lack of water in the body will certainly affect the quality of the skin, but drinking a lot of water at one time does not help the skin to stay hydrated.

“Also, consuming a lot of vegetables does not necessarily help to hydrate the skin as the skin requires a balanced diet which includes a variety of nutrients and not just vegetables,” said Dr Yap.

Healthy Lifestyle For Healthy Skin

In addition to identifying your own skin type, he also reminded that a healthy lifestyle is equally important to ensure water balance in the skin.

“Adequate and quality rest or sleep can help protect the skin. For example, sleeping for seven hours a day and having a consistent bedtime, preferably before 12 midnight.

“In addition, being active in sports can also improve the immune system because low immunity can cause skin diseases such as eczema,” he said.

“The water content in the skin will also decrease as we age. The protective layer will become thinner and its efficiency to trap water will also become lower when we reach between 40 to 50 years old.

“Therefore, do not take skin care for granted and take care of your skin from young to avoid skin problems in the future.

“Use moisturisers before going to bed, especially in rooms with air conditioning. At the same time, it is also encouraged to apply sunscreen before leaving the house,” he advised.

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