Is Your Skin Dry or Dehydrated?

Dull, flaky, coarse texture and fine lines: all signs that your skin could be lacking moisture, a particularly common problem come the winter months. Whilst you might think that might be easy to fix, a common misconception is that “dry” and “dehydrated” have the same meanings when it comes to skincare, but they are in fact different issues which require different treatments. 

Read on to see within which category you fall, and how to restore your skin.

Dry Skin

A skin type rather than a condition, dry skin fundamentally lacks lipids (aka oil), which work to lock in moisture and keep dirt and impurities out.

You Know You Have Dry Skin If…

Characteristically dry skin feels tight, and looks dull with flaky patches. It can still have visible blackheads and breakouts, as there is a reduced barrier function keeping blemish-causing bacteria at bay. Pores are small, and skin doesn’t readily absorb moisturisers and creams. There tend to be visible fine lines and the surface is not as plump as it could be. Dry skin tends to be easily irritated too, and reactive with poor skincare.

Treat Dry Skin:

To replenish dry skin and restore its barrier, opt for moisturisers and treatments which are described as “nourishing” or contain protectants and emollients. Look out for ingredients such as Shea Butter, Jojoba or Sunflower Seed Oil: these tend to be rich in fatty acids, which work to restore the oil content of the skin, locking moisture in beneath the surface. Ceramides are a good choice too; a waxy, lipid molecule found naturally in the skin, by replacing these you can help to replace lost lipids and fight dryness.

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Dehydrated Skin

A skin condition, which can affect all skin types including dry, dehydration is caused by a lack of water content within the epidermis. This can be down to a number of factors such as air conditioning, cold weather and central heating which can all suck moisture from the skin. Not drinking enough water and too much caffeine can also exacerbate the issue, too.

You Know You Have Dehydrated Skin If…

Typically dehydrated skin feels tight and dry like dry skin, but can still look oily and breakout – this tends to be down to your skin overcompensating with oil production. You’ll tend to notice that your moisturiser is being absorbed really easily, and it might cause your foundation to become patchy too, as skin takes in any moisture from your makeup. Skin can look ashen and lacklustre, but blackheads and breakouts are still prominent. Many people suffering with dehydrated skin will also tend to suffer with headaches, too.

Treat Dehydrated Skin 

A quick win is to up your water intake. Aim for around 8 glasses a day and you should start to see a difference in your skin, hair and overall wellbeing. For skincare upgrades, look out for words like “hydra” and “hydrating” and avoid temptation to strip oil with harsh toners. Look for ingredients that list Water or Aqua first as these will be rehydrating.

Ingredients-wise, Hyaluronic Acid will be your saviour; this super molecule holds up to 10x it’s weight in moisture, plumping out skin and delivering water beneath the skin’s surface. Glycerin, Allantoin and Propylene Glycol are all good rehydraters, too.

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