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Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin. What's The Difference?

Now we’re getting into the colder months, our skin begins to suffer a little. Does your skin feel a bit dry, flaky or tight? You might head straight for the heavy moisturizers if it does, but did you know there's a difference between dry and dehydrated skin? And they both need treating very differently!

It can be quite difficult to diagnose your skin, as it's normal for your skin to feel temporarily tight and dry after cleansing until your skin releases the sebum it needs. This doesn’t mean your skin is necessarily dry or dehydrated, just that it temporarily will feel so for a little while.

However, if your skin feels dry and tight throughout the day, you will want to keep reading so you can diagnose your skin and treat it effectively. 

Dry Skin

Dry skin is more of a skin type than a condition, something you're usually born with, and it means that your skin lacks the sebum and natural oils it needs. It’s hydrated in the sense that it doesn’t lack water, but simply lacks sebum. When your skin is dry, it’s normally quite dry and flaky in appearance and will be dry no matter what conditions it's put under, or the weather. You can treat dry skin effectively, but your skin type will always be dry. 

Dehydrated Skin

Dehydrated skin is essentially the opposite to dry skin as there is enough sebum, but the skin cells lack the water content they need. For your skin cells to look plump and fresh, they need a certain amount of water, and without it your skin will be left looking dull and feeling tight. 

Dehydrated skin doesn’t have anything to do with your genes but depends on how you treat it. Things like the sun, aging, hot baths and showers, air conditioning and overly harsh skincare can cause our skin to become dehydrated, as well as not drinking enough water.  Particularly in places with hard water, it’s sometimes quite hard to avoid.

How to Treat

Dry Skin

If you suffer from dry skin, no matter what the weather, then one of the most effective ways to treat it is to use highly moisturising products regularly. With dry skin there isn’t much you can do as it’s simply down to your skin type, but it’s still important to avoid harsh, drying products. Follow the tips for avoiding dehydrated skin, too, as those with dry skin are more susceptible to developing dehydrated skin as well, a double whammy you want to avoid. 

For a weekly treatment to help boost your skins moisture levels and fight aging (which happens prematurely in people with dry skin) then a targeted, weekly face mask can help nourish your skin cells for the ultimate skincare booster. 

Having a moisturizing skincare routine will help you keep on top of your dry skin, and allow your skin to replace the oils it's lacking! Specifically developed to increase cell turnover, it works to protect your skin, and press rewind on aging skin.

Dehydrated skin

There are a few things you can do to prevent your skin getting too dehydrated, such as avoid air conditioning where you can, wear SPF everyday (yes, even when it’s cloudy) and ensure you’re using gentle skincare products that aren’t irritating and drying out your skin. You can also increase your hydrate levels from the inside out by making sure you’re drinking enough water and incorporating as much water-rich foods in your diet as you can.

The skin around your eyes is the most delicate, and first to suffer when your skin is dehydrated so it's important to use a potent, but gentle eye serum to protect this area of skin. 

Our Verdict 

So there you have it…

There’s a critical difference in dehydrated and dry skin and it’s very important for you to be able to tell which is which, so you can treat it, but don’t forget it’s possible to have both dry and dehydrated skin. Now the weather is turning it’s incredibly important to look after your skin and keep away from those hot baths and showers so you don’t dehydrate yourself completely.


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Annabel Wood