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Is My Skin Dry or Dehydrated?

Important Difference Between Dry Skin and Dehydrated Skin...and why you need to pay attention!

We often use the words "dry skin" and "dehydrated skin" interchangeably, but there is a big difference. Dry skin is a skin type that lacks oil and dehydrated skin is a skin condition that lacks water. Dehydrated skin is a condition that affects all skin types. Knowing the difference can target the treatment for better skin care.

Dry skin 

Dry skin is a skin type that you were born with and it is characterized by a lack of oil in the skin. Skin needs oil to retain moisture and to build a strong barrier, without it, skin often feels rough, irritated and can be flaky. The lack of oil can cause an abnormal skin barrier function and leave you with red, inflamed and very itchy skin. Dry skin is noticed more in the areas near the eyebrows and around the corners of the nose and mouth. 

If you have dry skin, avoid taking a hot shower. While a hot shower may feel good, it can break down the skin barriers that keep moisture in. Click here to learn how to wash your face the correct way. Don't forget to apply moisturizer immediately after every shower or face wash as it traps existing moisture in your skin.

Dehydrated skin 

Dehydration is a skin condition that anyone can experience regardless of skin type. Dehydrated skin means that the top layer of skin doesn’t hold enough water. It is caused by a number of factors, but the most common are weather, environment, diet, and caffeine consumption.  Dehydrated skin often feels tight, looks dull in the mirror, and you may notice more exaggerated wrinkles.  

You can also have an oily AND dehydrated skin. When skin is dehydrated, it creates more oil to make up for the missing water. This can cause breakouts, irritation, and dry patches. 

A great way to tell if your skin is dehydrated is the pinch test. Pinch a small amount of skin on your cheek, hold for a few seconds. If it's wrinkling with gentle pressure instead of snapping back, your skin is desperate for water. 

Do I need Moisturization or Hydration?

Both! If you want your skin to look and feel its best, you need to both hydrate and moisturize

Hydrating ingredients will add water to the skin while moisturizing ingredients build up a skin barrier to keep moisture in.  If you’re hydrating and moisturizing, use a hydrating product first and then take the steps necessary to seal that moisture in.

When you choose your skincare product, here are the ingredients to look for.

Both Hydrating and Moisturizing

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Ceramide

Hydrating for dehydrating skin

  • Glycerin
  • Cucumber
  • Aloe
  • Honey

Moisturizing for dry skin

  • Nut or seed oil
  • Shea butter
  • Plant oil, rose hip or tea tree

Last but not least, drink enough water! Keeping your body hydrated with lots of water is always a good place to start when dealing with both dry and dehydrated skin. 

Dermalogica has created the helpful infographic below to sum up everything we discussed above.

Is my skin dry or dehydrated

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