Dry or Dehydrated
What is the difference between
dry skin and dehydrated skin?
Dry skin is a skin type that is determined by genetics. When you have dry skin, your skin doesn’t produce enough natural oils (sebum) to keep it moisturised. As a result, you may experience dry, flakey, or rough skin year-round, and this condition can worsen during colder months. People with dry skin tend to have smaller pores.
On the other hand, dehydrated skin is a skin concern that can affect any skin type. This occurs when your skin lacks water, which can be caused by external factors such as weather conditions, air conditioning, or harsh skincare products, as well as internal factors such as diet or health issues. Dehydrated skin is typically temporary and can make your skin feel tight, itchy, or rough. Interestingly, dehydrated skin can also feel oily and dry at the same time, as your skin tries to compensate for the lack of moisture by overproducing sebum.
What are the similarities between dry and dehydrated skin?
Dry skin and dehydrated skin share some similarities in terms of their effects on the skin.
While there are similarities between dry skin and dehydrated skin, it’s important to understand their differences as well. Dry skin is a skin type that is determined by genetics, while dehydrated skin is a temporary condition caused by a lack of water.
Tightness and Flakiness
Both dry skin and dehydrated skin can cause your skin to feel tight, and they may also result in flakiness and a rough skin texture.
Dullness and Fine Lines
Both conditions can lead to dull, lacklustre skin tone and accentuate fine lines, making your skin look less radiant and dull.
Dry skin and dehydrated skin can also cause your skin to feel sensitive, with an increated risk of irritation, redness, and itchiness.
What are the causes of
dry skin vs dehydrated skin?
Dry skin can be caused by a variety of factors…
Our skin type is largely determined by our genetics, which can limit our natural moisturising factor (sebum production) and increase the risk of dry skin.
Hormonal imbalances, such as those that occur during menopause, can cause dry skin due to declining levels of reproductive hormones that stimulate oil production.
Hypothyroidism can cause dry skin through decreased eccrine gland secretion.
Some medications can decrease the body’s overall water content, leading to dry skin.
As we age, our pores naturally produce less oil, which can increase the risk of dry skin.
During menopause, our skin’s natural oil production rapidly depletes, leaving our skin at risk of dryness.
Dehydration can occur when your skin loses more water than it takes in…
A damaged skin barrier
Your skin’s barrier helps lock moisture in and keep irritants out. If it is damaged and not functioning properly, it cannot hold onto essential hydration and protect your skin from external aggressors.
Extreme temperatures, such as hot weather or cold winds, can cause water loss from the body and draw moisture away from the skin.
Incorrect skincare products
Using skincare products that are not formulated for your skin type can strip your skin of its natural oils and cause dehydration. It’s important to use products that restore the water content in your skin, especially if you have dehydrated skin.
Artificial heating and air conditioning can also contribute to skin dehydration by reducing humidity levels in the air.
Tiny particles and gases in dirt, exhaust fumes, or smog can penetrate skin cells and damage the skin’s barrier, leading to transepidermal water loss and dehydration.
What can you do to manage
dry skin vs dehydrated skin?
Managing dry skin can help prevent discomfort, itching, and other skin problems.
Choose skincare products carefully
Avoid using skincare products, soaps, and household cleaners that contain harsh chemicals, fragrances, dyes, and other ingredients that can irritate delicate skin. Look for gentle, fragrance-free and hypoallergenic products that are formulated for dry skin.
Avoid hot water
Hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils and worsen dryness. Instead, wash your face and shower with lukewarm water.
Applying a moisturiser is key to managing dry skin. Look for a moisturiser that contains humectants, emollients, and even occlusives if your skin is extremely dry. Apply moisturiser immediately after bathing or showering, while your skin is still damp, to lock in moisture.
Use a humidifier
Dry air can exacerbate dry skin. Using a humidifier in your home or workplace can help restore moisture to the air and prevent it from drawing moisture away from your skin.
Drinking enough water can help keep your skin hydrated from the inside out. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
Repairing dehydrated skin can help to restore your skin’s equilibrium.
Hydrating ingredients deliver water to the skin and promote skin hydration. Look for products that contain humectants, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, polyglutamic acid, lactic acid, and sodium PCA. These ingredients help to draw water into the skin and keep it hydrated.
Repair the skin barrier
A strong skin barrier is essential for healthy, hydrated skin. Look for products that contain emollients, such as ceramides, fatty alcohols, and squalane, to help rebuild the skin barrier. Occlusives, such as petrolatum and your skin’s natural sebum production, can also create a physical barrier to help lock in moisture.
Avoid harsh ingredients
Avoid using products that contain harsh, drying ingredients like alcohol, sulfates, and fragrances. These can strip the skin of its natural oils and further dehydrate it.
Gentle, light exfoliation can help remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover, which can help improve the skin’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. However, be careful not to over-exfoliate, as this can further damage the skin barrier.