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Dry and sensitive skin tends to be dull with more visible lines.

Your complexion is rough, less elastic and has red patches. Your skin is prone to rashes and bumps when trying out new skincare products and certain products could cause a stinging or burning sensation. Scaling, flaking and itching will develop the longer the dryness persists. This can be unpleasant and can have negative impacts on your quality of life through itching, discomfort and embarrassment about your appearances.

Dry and sensitive skin is a common symptom of several skin conditions, including atopic dermatitis/eczema (AD/AE), ichthyosis, irritant contact dermatitis, psoriasis and other atopic skin disorders. Left untreated, dry and sensitive skin can lead to the onset of eczema-prone skin flare, triggering underlying condition such as AD. Therefore, if your symptoms persist, you should consider visiting a doctor for further evaluation.

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Dry and sensitive skin will usually display scaling, flaking and itching of the skin.

Dry and sensitive skin is a common condition and can occur at any age or race.

It could be caused by various factors, such as:R1, R2

  • Ageing – can cause the skin to become thinner and drier.
  • Skin diseases – like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis
  • Job-related – (e.g., cleaner, healthcare workers) frequent hand washing and water exposure
  • Weather and climate – Dry and cold environment, seasonal changes.
  • Harsh detergents – stripping out the skin’s natural lipids and contain ingredients that irritate the skin

Dry and sensitive skin occurs mainly due to skin barrier defect and is caused by loss of water from the outermost skin layer (stratum corneum, SC). The healthy SC forms an effective permeability barrier referred to as the “skin protective barrier”, which restricts water loss from the body and prevents the penetration of pathogens, allergens and irritants and allergens.

SC comprises tightly packed, well-hydrated corneocytes that are enclosed within a matrix of intercellular lipids. The corneocytes contain natural moisturizing factor (NMF), a collection of hygroscopic compounds, which attract and hold water in the cells. The intercellular lipids of the SC are made up of ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids, and are collectively known as the lipid barrier. Both the lipid barrier and the corneocytes are important for the barrier function and water-holding properties of the skin. Dehydration of the corneocytes and loss of intercellular lipids through enzymatic breakdown would lead to the dysfunction of skin’s protective barrier, leading to loss of skin moisture through evaporation and penetration of pathogens, allergens and irritants.

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Image 2: Illustration of normal skin vs. damage skin structure. Due to the loss of intercellular lipids in damaged skin, moisture lost through evaporation will worsen dry & sensitive skin symptoms, allowing pathogens, allergens and irritants to penetrate the skin’s protective barrier.

Emollient therapy is the most common mainstay therapy to correct some of the factors that contribute to dry and sensitive skin, to restore the skin barrier and reduce the likelihood of further damage.

Emollient products can be formulated with additional ingredients such as humectants, physiological lipids and antipruritic agents. Physiological lipids such as ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids, naturally found in the SC, replenish and restore the intercellular lipid matrix.

Not all emollients are the same, and as our understanding of the pathophysiology of dry and sensitive skin conditions advances. Emollients which contains ceramide-dominant lipid ratio has been clinically proven to rebuild the skin’s protective barriers.R3 For dry and sensitive skin, a moisturiser or emollient with occlusive and humectant ingredients will work best. When combined, occlusive and humectants enhance the water-holding capacity of your skin.

For eczema-prone skin conditions, hydrating the skin isn’t enough. You need to consider a moisturiser that not only hydrates but also helps rebuild skin barrier. Eczema-prone skin is the result of skin barrier defects and can be managed using a ceramide-dominant emollient like Ceradan® Skin Barrier Repair Cream. This moisturizer cream is scientifically designed with lipid ratio of 3:1:1 that helps replenish the lacking ceramide in the skin.

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Ceradan® Hydra Moisturiser, which contains NMF like Hyaluronate, humectants like glycerin and butylene glycol, as well as occlusive like beeswax and cholesterol. Additionally, this colourant-free and fragrance-free hydrating moisturiser are formulated with an optimal 3:1:1 ratio of ceramide, cholesterol and free fatty acids that help reinforce a healthy skin barrier.