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Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin: What’s the difference?

If you think that dry and dehydrated skin are more or less the same thing, you wouldn’t be alone. While dry and dehydrated skin do share similar characteristics, they are fundamentally different, and it’s important to know why.

So, what’s the actual difference?

While dry skin is a skin type, dehydrated skin is a condition that anyone can experience, regardless of skin type. The key point of difference between the two lies in what they are lacking. Let’s dive into that a bit more…

Dry skin:

If you have a dry skin type, your skin is lacking lipids, otherwise known as oil. Lipids are needed to retain moisture and build a protective shield against external factors. Dry skin is genetic, so it isn’t determined by lifestyle or environmental factors. But, when the skin isn’t able to build that protective skin shield, the skin is more vulnerable to external factors and radicals. Without a strong skin barrier function, dry skin can feel tight, flaky and irritated.

Dehydrated skin:

On the flip side, dehydrated skin lacks enough water. When the skin’s ability to store water in the top layer of skin is impaired, the skin is left looking dull, tight and flat. To confuse things further, when the skin is dehydrated it kicks into overdrive and starts to produce more oil to counteract the missing water. This can cause breakouts and irritation as the skin can even feel oily and dry at the same time.

Dehydrated skin is caused by external factors such as weather, diet, makeup and the wrong skincare products. Because of this, you can have dehydrated skin on top of your genetic skin type, whether that be dry, oily, combination or normal.

How can I rehydrate my skin?

It’s no surprise that one of the best ways to combat skin that is lacking water is to re-introduce water back to the skin cells. It’s also really important to take a look at the skincare you’re currently using to see whether your routine is doing more harm than good. You should:

  • Look out for serums in particular that contain Hyaluronic Acid, our gold standard ingredient for dehydrated skin. Working like a sponge, this molecule naturally attracts water deeply into the skin for skin that appears plumper, dewy and much healthier.
  • Enlist the help of a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin of its necessary moisture.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for products containing alcohols and sulfates which have drying effects that will cause dullness and flakiness.
  • Avoid using harsh scrubs with abrasive ingredients that will damage the skin’s surface.
  • Choose products that are packed full of antioxidants and replenishing and restoring ingredients.

It may also sound slightly obvious, but drinking more water will improve skin’s hydration levels and plumpness. If you’re not someone who can drink 2 litres of water a day, you can also incorporate water-rich foods into your diet. These include strawberries, watermelon, cucumber and celery, yum!

If you’re struggling to find the right products to rehydrate dehydrated skin, or keep dry skin’s protective barrier in shape, we can vouch for our favourites to treat these two concerns.

Dehydrated skin:

Dry skin:

The eagle eyed amongst us may have noticed that products to treat dehydrated skin are interchangeable with those suitable for dry skin types. This is because while dehydrated skin needs a replenishment of hydration, greater hydration also strengthens the skin’s protective barrier – key for improving dry, irritated and flaky skin.

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