The skinny on dehydrated skin vs dry skin

dehydrated skin vs dry skib

Dehydrated Skin Vs Dry Skin – What’s The Fuss? 

Dry skin, dehydrated skin, moisturizers and hydrators – these are  all buzz words that are used interchangeably by many people, but they have different meanings. So what’s the importance in knowing whether you have dehydrated skin vs dry skin?

Well, you can have dry skin and dehydrated skin or just dry skin or dehydrated skin, and it’s not just semantics, these are different skin conditions that require different treatments. So it really does matter whether you have dry or dehydrated skin. 

That’s because if you have dry skin and use skincare products for dehydrated skin then you are wasting your time and money, and vice versa. The problem is that dry skin feels like dehydrated skin, so it’s easy to see how you can be confused.

So lets compare dehydrated skin vs dry skin and look at the best skincare strategies for each condition.

What is dry skin?

Dry skin is a type of skin, so you can have normal skin, dry skin, oily skin or combination skin. This is due to genetics, which means that dry skin is characterised by fewer oil producing glands in your skin, so you actually lack sebum. This means that your skin doesn’t have enough lipids that help to retain moisture in your skin. 

If you suffer from dry skin, it’s a whole body problem with dry skin on your hands, feet, scalp and everywhere else! With dry skin, you usually slather on moisturizers only to see them disappear in a flash and your skin is still dry and flaky.  This dryness often becomes worse in the winter, but it’s a year round problem that needs constant vigilance.

People with dry skin often suffer with scaly white skin flakes, redness or irritation, none of which is resolved with standard moisturizers. It can often become uncomfortable and itchy, as well as embarrassing when clouds of white flaky skin cells fall from your body.

What is dehydrated skin?

Whilst dry skin is caused by a lack of oil in your skin, dehydrated skin is due to a lack of water. This is an important point, because you can actually have an oily skin that is dehydrated. Also, you can treat dehydrated skin whereas dry skin is much more problematical because it’s due to a lack of oil producing glands. 

Another point of difference between dehydrated skin vs dry skin is that dehydrated skin comes and goes, but you will always have dry skin. In fact, some people with dehydrated skin not only have oily skin, but can also suffer from breakouts as well, making the whole situation even more complicated.

How to help your dry skin

Essentially, since your dry skin is due to too few oil producing glands, you need to support your skin with skincare products that are rich in lipids. These are fatty, oily or waxy compounds that are insoluble in water. They are your skin’s natural fats, so you need to look for skincare products that include triglycerides, shea butter or wax esters.

Lipids help to keep your skin looking young, firm, elastic and bouncy, however the amount of lipids in your skin reduces as you age, which is why your skin becomes dryer as you become older. For people with genetic dry skin, however, this problem occurs very early in life and they face a constant battle to keep their skin looking fresh and youthful.

Apart from genetics, other factors such as smoking, diet,  alcohol, pollution and stress can all exacerbate your dry skin. With an abundance of the right lipids in your skin, however, you can help to keep your dry skin at bay by reinforcing your skin’s natural protective barrier.

Adding almonds, pecans, peanuts, pistachios, salmon, avocados, olive oil, peanut oil or canola oil to your diet are all great ways to increase the amount of lipids in your body. Whilst drinking lots of water is important and helps to keep you healthy, it doesn’t fix your dry skin. For this you need skincare products high in lipids with plenty of antioxidants as well, for example SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore, Clinique Moisture Surge or Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream.

How to help your dehydrated skin

When your skin is dehydrated, it’s not lacking in lipids, but in water and this can be due to a poor diet or to a dry climate, even drinking too much coffee! Dehydrated skin often looks tight and dull with too many fine lines and even dark circles under your eyes. You might also notice a redness to your skin, as well as congestion and inflammation.

The solution to dehydrated skin is to ramp up the amount of water you drink, exfoliate and add a hydrating serum to your skincare regime.  Hyaluronic acid serums are key to repairing your dehydrated skin and you can check out our Top 10 Picks to get you started.

Also look for moisturizers that add hydration to your skin, such as Murad Hydration Ultimate Moisturizer, Olay Regenerist or Neutrogena Hydro Boost

How to know if you have dry or dehydrated skin

A simple pinch test is usually enough to determine whether you have dry or dehydrated skin. So pinch the skin on the back of your hand for a few seconds. If it bounces back immediately, then you most probably don’t have dehydrated skin. In this case, if your skin looks dry, it’s most probably because you have inherently dry skin due to your genetics.

If your skin doesn’t bounce back immediately after the pinch test, but takes a few seconds to smooth out, then it’s likely that you have dehydrated skin.  Once you know the cause of your problem, you are one big step closer to fixing it!

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