Dry Skin, Skin Care Tips and Trends, Skin Regimes, Skin Types

Treating Dry Skin: Choosing The Right Ingredients


Get The Best Advice For Dry Skin 

OK so your skin feels tight and looks dry and flaky at times but there is hope to have a supple, plump and well moisturised skin. Ingredients do exist whose main aim is to moisturise and plump those dry skin cells giving one the best looking skin possible.

The basis of any skin regime irrespective of skin type is to improve the overall look and feel of one’s skin. Dry skin firstly needs moisturisation but it also needs stimulation to renew cells and increase the production of collagen and elastin and more importantly increase the production of our hydrating skin molecules known as GAGS and hyaluronic acid.

Understanding Dry Skin

I often get told in my practice by my patients who suffer from dry skin that no matter what moisturiser they use nothing seems to help. If this sounds familiar then you have most probably also tried numerous different moisturisers which has helped much or not at all.

To add to the confusion there are so many brands to choose from all claiming to be specific for dry skin. The secret in treating dry skin is to look beyond the brand names and rather focus on the ingredients used and more importantly the concentration of these ingredients.

Ingredient Tip:

If an ingredient is high up on the list then typically this means a higher concentration and vice versa.

Dry Skin Care Regime:

  1. Sunscreen:

As with any skin type sun protection is vital and should be the very first choice when starting a good skin care regime. My recommendation is sun screens that contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as these ingredients reflect harmful UV light. These ingredients can be found in the HeliocareSkinCeuticals, Exuviance and Dermaceutic ranges.

  1. Skin Moisturisers:

Polyhydroxy acids (PHA’s) are small molecules that penetrate the skin and have a number of effects including collagen stimulation, increasing hydration by stimulating GAGS and they help to soothe the skin and produce minimal irritation.NeoStrata has a range of products with specific indications and ingredients and their Bionic Face Cream and Bionic Lotion contain PHA’s such as Lactobionic Acid and Gluconolactone.

Lactobionic Acid, a patented non-irritating “Bionic” PHA derived from milk sugar, helps prevent and reverse the appearance of photo-ageing, including fine lines and wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, enlarged pores and roughness. A potent antioxidant used to prevent oxidative damage to transplant organs, Lactobionic Acid promotes firmness by inhibiting the MMP enzyme responsible for degradation of collagen and consequent wrinkling and skin laxity. A natural humectant, it binds water to create a moisturising barrier on skin.

Gluconolactone, a PHA found naturally in the skin, provides full strength anti-ageing benefits without irritation, even for patients with clinically sensitive skin or rosacea, or those who have had cosmetic procedures. Gluconolactone strengthens the skin’s barrier function, reducing sensitivity to irritants and skin redness over time. It helps preserve skin’s collagen by reducing glycation. Gluconolactone does not increase the potential for sun sensitivity.

Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is our own hydrating molecule found in our skins and it is what water needs to stay in our skins. Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan a sugar based protein which acts as a structural component of skin and is found in almost all living organisms (including the human skin and body).

The importance of this ingredient lies in its ability to retain moisture: one HA molecule will bind to a 1000 water molecules – amazing don’t you think? This means that HA is a great ingredient to add to our dry skin care regimes. HA can be found in SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 (a combination of hyaluronic acid and Vitamin B5 ) and in Dermaceutic Hyal Ceutic (a combination of hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera, Jojoba Oil and Vitamin E ).

Ceramides and Cholesterol are fairly new in skin care and should be seen as vital skin care ingredients for dry skin sufferers. Ceramides and cholesterol have a number of skin benefits:

  • Ceramides: restore skin’s barrier function and nourish skin
  • Cholesterol: is essential for building the structure of skin’s barrier and maintaining elasticity

SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 (a combination of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids) is the first optimized 2:4:2 cholesterol-dominant ratios in an anti-aging treatment. Until now, it has been extremely difficult to formulate this ratio of pure, stabilized lipids at high concentrations and just as important Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 offers twice the concentration of lipids as the closest competitor. SkinCeuticals have developed a unique lipid stabilization system and the formula is lightweight and fast-absorbing, benefitting both aging skin and dry skin.

  1. Antioxidants

Last but definitely not least are Antioxidants a vital ingredient for any skin type or skin concern including dry skin. Antioxidants are a group of ingredients that reduce free-radical damage and environmental damage within our skins. Very simply when our skin loses its ability to retain water dry skin develops. Anti-oxidants will help repair and prevent this moisture loss and help repair the skin barrier.

My Anti-Oxidants Choices for Dry Skin:

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic for day time use applied in the morning on a cleansed skin that contains Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Ferulic acid all potent antioxidants.

SkinCeuticals Resveratrol BE for night time use that contains Resveratrol, Vitamin B and Vitamin E.

Dermaceutic C25 Cream for day time use that contains 25% vitamin c complex, vitamins A, B5, and E, and polyphenols:

25% Vitamin C: reduces the signs of skin aging.

Vitamin A: improves the structure of the skin and combats the signs of aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, uneven skin texture, and hyperpigmentation.

Vitamin B5: reduces water loss and keeps the skin smooth and elastic due to its moisturizing properties.

Vitamin E: renowned for its antioxidant properties, vitamin E also combats the signs of photoageing.

Polyphenols: naturally present in plants and fruit, polyphenols combat the action of free radicals and preserve the integrity of the skin’s collagen.

I hope you found the above article beneficial in combating dry skin. Pease feel free to send me any questions you may have regarding your skin or feel free to take the Face2Face Skin Assessment (a free online skin consultation and skin assessment) for a personal skin care regime recommended by me.

Kind regards

Dr Alek Nikolic


About Dr Alek Nikolic

Dr Alek Nikolic was born in South Africa and received his MBBCh (Wits) in 1992 and in 2000 he received his MBA (UCT). He has been in private practice for 24 years and is the owner of Aesthetic Facial Enhancement, which has offices in Cape Town. Dr Nikolic specialises in aesthetic medicine and is at the forefront of the latest developments in his field. He is very driven and has lectured extensively and has performed live demonstrations throughout South Africa and Internationally including Bangkok, Rome, Paris, Monte Carlo, Prague, and Warsaw. Dr Nikolic’s focus is on skin care, skin ingredients and cosmetic dermatology treatments such as lasers, chemical peels, Botox, and Dermal Fillers. He has performed over 20 000 procedures to date and as such is responsible for training numerous medical practitioners both in South Africa and internationally. Dr Nikolic is one of the founding members of the South African Allergan Medical Aesthetic Academy and chaired its inaugural launch in 2012. The Allergan Academy provides essential training to keep up with the latest technology in aesthetics. Dr Nikolic holds the advisory position of Allergan Local Country Mentor in Facial Aesthetics and is the Allergan Advanced Botox and Dermal Filler Trainer. He is Vice President of the Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Medicine Society of South Africa (AAMSSA) and is an Associate Member of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS).

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2 thoughts on “Treating Dry Skin: Choosing The Right Ingredients

  1. Jackie says:

    thanks for the great information and product recommendations

  2. Dr Alek Nikolic says:

    Hi Chereen glad you liked it. Lipids are intercellular natural compounds found in the epidermis. While there are many kinds of lipids in skin, ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids are the dominant forms.These lipid components have been found in numerous scientific studies to play a crucial role in skin health, including healthy cell signaling, cell turnover, barrier function, and natural self-repair.
    With age, lipid synthesis declines. As a consequence, barrier function is weakened, imparting a reduction in skin’s natural repair in chronologically-aged skin.
    Aging skin is increasingly susceptible to lipid depletion: the loss of natural fats in skin’s surface, present in the form of ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids. This lipid loss compromises skin’s natural protective barrier, resulting in signs of accelerated aging, as skin loses its ability to effectively self-repair. The visible effects in skin include roughness, dullness, uncomfortable tightness, and loss of facial fullness.
    Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 is formulated with a maximized concentration of reparative lipids:
    2% pure ceramides, 4% natural cholesterol, and 2% fatty acids. This anti-aging lipid correction treatment contains the first cholesterol-dominant ratio to refill lipids, restore skin’s external barrier, and support natural repair, while potently nourishing aging skin.
    I hope the above helps
    Kind regards
    Dr Alek Nikolic

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