Dry Skin That Doesn’t Quit

The Skin Dork hears from professionals who have clients that no matter what they do dry skin persists.

Let’s explore this. It’s a big and complicated topic to compress.

To begin, 302 Skincare professionals are taught to subtract topical products from their clients first in order to stabilize the skin to its normal metabolism.

In the same first step, the skin pro evaluates the client’s oral pharmaceutical uptake for players that have unwanted side effects for the skin: antidepressants and long term birth control formulas lead the list as root cause of many dry skin cases. Thyroid meds are often in play, too. Suspected other causes range from age to diet to cats and dogs, wheat fields (gluten), radioactive partners and poor choices in wine.

Sidebar: Since COVID-19 the use of Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QAC’s) as sterilizing agents sprayed on about everything in a public setting (exercise equipment, table tops, chairs, bathroom fixtures and so on) have played a leading role in skin irritation, especially of the hands, and this first exhibits as dryness and then patchy rough, irritated skin (as in eczema).

All those factors, and many more, aside, let’s for this discussion assume none of these are causative, that you have systematically eliminated every conceivable source. Now dry skin is different than irritated, inflamed, rosacea type skin which can range from a chronic low level to serious ongoing problem.

Dry skin is just dry. It’s dry everywhere, not just the hands or face, but more so on the hands and especially the face. Not annoyed, just dry. Moisturizers don’t help. They often even make it worse.

Is this a topical problem or a systemic problem?

A simple test can sort this out.

Mix a pea sized amount of petrolatum (as in Vaseline®) with 302’s REVIVE product and spread across your face. The right amount will leave you feeling a bit on the greasy side. Not to worry, this will not cause a breakout.

Apply nothing else. No makeup, no sunscreen (the Skin Dork is not a fan of sunscreens, btw).

Cleanse with REVIVE.

Do this for five days. On the sixth day use only REVIVE as your cleanser and moisturizer and evaluate your skin. Are you still dry? Or, does your skin feel supple, not dry?

Your hands and face will tell the tale.

If supple, your problem is topical choices. Despite all your previous evaluations or second guessing, the verdict is topical. You have missed something important. Cleansers will lead the list, exfoliation chemicals and moisturizers are right up there. Scrubs and makeup are also involved. Sunscreens are frequent dry skin offenders. The sources are many. The message is SUBTRACT.

Now, what if you are still dry? Not supple, not inflamed, but DRY?

The problem is systemic. You must now discover the true source.

  1. Are you becoming a fossil? Maybe you suspect too much calcium in your diet and believe you are about to become a very large seashell. Possible, but unlikely.
  2. Diet can be a factor if it is unbalanced. Way too vegan? Dry skin guaranteed. Living on beef jerky and have a lizard for a friend? Probably going to look like that soon.
  3. Not enough water? Drinking quarts of water per day is not skin healthy, nor is restricting yourself to a cup work well, either. Do not drink distilled water. It will strip out electrolytes (Brawndo answered a market need) and you will be dry as a rock.


“The usual primary cause of systemic dryness is hormonal dysfunction, often accompanied by vaginal and mucosal dryness.”

This factoid is fervently believed by many flawed and narrowly defined studies and as a result is promoted by most physicians who have no further understanding.

But it’s wrong. Or to be kind, a very limited interpretation of causation hinging more on specious correlations as a result of limited biochemical testing scope.

The problem is cell signaling brought on by excess crosslinking in the ExtraCellularMatrix (ECM) caused by metabolic factors that can be controlled.

In other words, reaching for a progesterone cream (which is not an option for at-risk clients – e.g. those with breast cancer in the family or survivors) does not go to the root cause and brings with it many unwanted side effects.

Now what? And what the in world is “excess crosslinking in the ECM?”

If you have dry skin that has no topical cause than you likely have a systemic tendency to excess crosslinking. You are turning into gristle, inside and out. In other words, other things are going wrong, too. Cardiovascular and eye diseases are probably a factor or, will be shortly.

Some of this tendency (a lot?) is inherited. This makes the search for a solution all the more trying.

What can be done? Exercise, avocados (one a day), other good dietary habits, especially avoiding inflammatory foods (as in things from soy), and avoiding most supplements. This is heresy in many quarters but the Skin Dork has seen endless problems from supplements that mean well, but deliver otherwise, especially B vitamins. The pro’s and con’s of many supplements has been written about extensively. Some internet work will pull up these presentations.

Most of our systemically caused dry skin comes from agents that do damage to proper cell signaling. These are often dietary choices and/or prescription drug uptake. It is beyond the scope of this essay to identify the many possible combinations. For now, be aware and begin the personal search.

To sum up: dry skin is systemic or topical in origin. In both situations the problem is cell population. There aren’t enough viable cells to plump the skin with moisture. After all, moisture in the skin is not like puddles on the road. The moisture has to locate somewhere and the more cells, the more moisture.

BUT these must be viable cells, not fragments and sandbags of protein thrown up by the skin to defend itself against a topical attack of lotions, creams and serums. Those skin protein artifacts are not sustainable and often bring rosacea with them.

Notice we haven’t talked about ‘moisturizers’ and that’s because they often create havoc with dry skin. A daily moisturizer as in a lotion or cream makes zero sense. If your skin demands it, then you are probably addicted to it and is the source of the problem. You need more cells, not more bills.

So, back to cell population. How to increase? First of all, you need a weed and feed topical to re-boot the skin. Retinol is the choice of the Skin Dork as found in 302 Skincare’s A 1.0 DROPS or A 0.5 DROPS. Spread with REVIVE and apply twice per week. Your skin will plump and be less dry.

Note bene: apply Retinol every day and you will regret it. Addiction response guaranteed.

As for going on from here, visit the REFERENCE TOPICS at 302skincare.com to find a wealth of information. Follow the TRAINING MODEL, pick and choose carefully topical products and good things will happen.

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