A common misconception when it comes to skincare is that dry skin and dehydrated skin are one in the same. The two terms are mistakenly interchanged regularly, but dry and dehydrated skin are two very different things.
To best understand the difference between dry and dehydrated we must first understand the difference between a skin type and a skin condition.
Skin type is predetermined by genes. It’s the skin you’re born with and the skin you will have for life. There are basically three skin types: oily, normal and dry. Some people may have more than one skin type, which is often referred to as combination skin.
Skin conditions, on the other hand, can refer to temporary conditions of the body. Pregnancy, menopause, psoriasis, and a host of other illnesses fall under the skin condition category. The difference is the permanence of skin types vs the impermanence of skin conditions.
So, what does all this have to do with Dry and Dehydrated skin?
Excellent question! Dry skin is referring to a skin type. If you have a dry skin type, it means your skin naturally has fewer oil-producing glands than normal skin. Less oil-producing glands results in less sebum production which means the skin is without the natural lipids it needs to retain moisture and build a strong barrier. It’s identifiable by uncomfortable, flaky and itchy patches. The worst areas are typically near the eyebrows and around the corners of the nose and mouth. On the body, common trouble areas include the neck and the inside of the arms. It’s not something you can change but it is something you can cater to with a specific skincare regime.
Dehydrated Skin, however, is a skin condition. Rather than lacking oil, dehydrated skin lacks water. Dehydration is caused by many external factors, but the most common are weather, environment and diet. A healthy skin barrier helps skin retain water and, when working efficiently, should hold 10 percent to 15 percent of water. When that percentage drops below 10 percent, skin becomes dehydrated. But here’s where it gets tricky: When skin is dehydrated, it creates more oil to compensate for the missing water. This can cause breakouts, irritation and dry patches. Dehydration is something that can happen to anyone and is easily treatable with the right products.
So, now we know the difference, how do we treat Dry and Dehydrated Skin?
You can’t necessarily ‘fix’ dry skin, but you can improve its appearance by increasing oils and lipid. First, you’ll want to bolster your skincare regimen with an ultra-nourishing face oil like this one. Avoid foaming cleansers that are going to strip the skin and instead, use an oil-based cleanser that will inject moisture as it cleanses. Skincare ingredients such as natural botanical oils and coconut oil are particularly good at peeling away that rough, flaky texture and replacing it with pillowy soft skin.
For dehydrated skin, the most likely cause is a damaged moisture barrier. Read here on the best ways to repair and care for your moisture barrier.