Skin dryness and the relation to facial skin types

Skin dryness and the relation to facial skin types

Dry facial skin is a common condition, although some people are more prone to it than others. The main facial skin types are normal, dry, oily or combination skin. As people get older they also have to consider how skin ageing affects their skin.

  • Normal type facial skin refers to skin that is neither prone to dryness nor oiliness. Many factors can cause normal facial skin to become dry (see section on ‘Causes of dry facial skin’ below).
  • Dry type facial skin is facial skin that has a tendency to be dry and typically feels tight and slightly very rough in some areas.
  • Oily type facial skin is less likely to become dry, except in the case of excessive washing, or following a poor skin care routine.
  • Combination type facial skin tends to develop dryness in certain areas of the face, particularly on the cheeks, whereas the T-zone is oily.

Signs & symptoms of dry and very dry skin

Dry skin
When facial skin first begins to lose moisture, the dryness may be only noticed as:

  • Tightness
  • Roughness

Very dry skin
If this initial dryness is not treated, it can progress to become:

  • Very tight
  • Scaly
  • Chapped
  • Itchy

At this stage it is possible that dryness-induced fine lines develop, which contributes to premature skin ageing and wrinkle formation.

Sensitive dry facial skin
When the face becomes dry, it will often also be sensitive; however, facial sensitive skin is not always related to dryness. It is always important to avoid skin care products that contain irritating ingredients such as perfumes and colourants. Always check that the product is dermatologically tested on sensitive skin.

Dry facial skin and diseases

  • The medical term for dry skin is Xerosis. It comes from Greek; ‘Xero’, means ‘dry’, and ‘osis’ means ‘disease’.
  • Inflammatory skin conditions like Atopic Dermatitis and Psoriasis are also linked to facial dryness.
  • Metabolic conditions such as diabetes mellitus and kidney diseases can also increase the risk of dry skin.
  • Some acne medications, either topical or oral, can cause oily, acne-prone skin to become very dry.

There is further information on dry skin, including tips on preventing dry skin, as well as information on other skin conditions such as Atopic DermatitisPsoriasis and diabetes, throughout our website. But if you are worried or unsure about your symptoms, or they are becoming worse, we recommend you see your doctor or dermatologist for a face-to-face diagnosis.


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