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Dry vs. dehydrated skin: differences, symptoms & treatments

Are you constantly having to lather on heavy moisturizers, only to have your skin feeling parched, dull and tight again days later? With winter over and spring fast approaching I’m sure most of you are anticipating your skin will soon bounce back to a dewy, glowing, more moisturized state… but that’s not necessarily the case. Our first instinct is to assume that our skin is dry, however, it’s likely that your skin is dehydrated. Although commonly used to describe the same thing, dry and dehydrated skin are two totally different skin concerns with different causes. It’s important that you understand the difference between dry and dehydrated skin so you are treating it properly.

What is Dry Skin?

Dry skin is a skin type, just like oily and combination skin are skin types. Often a result of genetics, dry skin is a lack of oil or lipids in the skin, resulting in a lack of moisture leaving skin feeling rough, dry or flaky. A lipid, technically referred to as a chemical compound that is not soluble in water, forms the natural skin barrier that retains moisture and blocks out external impurities. Our lipid barrier decreases as we age, causing dry skin to be a more common skin type for older people.

Common Symptoms for Dry Skin

  • Flakiness
  • Tightness (especially after cleansing)
  • Skin appears dry and dull
  • Itchiness
  • Rough texture
  • Lack of Volume
  • Redness

What is Dehydrated Skin?

Dehydrated skin is regularly overlooked, yet far more common than dry skin. Dehydrated skin is simply a lack of water; it is a temporary skin condition that can be present in all skin types and occurs when your skin is moisture-deficient with low water content. The good news is that dehydrated skin is not caused by genetics, making it a lot easier to treat than dry skin. Your skin becomes dehydrated when there is a lack of water on the outer layer of your skin, also known as the stratum corneum, resulting in an overproduction of oil to make up for the missing water. This can cause breakouts, irritation, dryness, and other symptoms listed below.

Common Symptoms for Dehydrated Skin

  • Appearance of smaller pores
  • Scaly, rough and flaky texture
  • Peeling and redness
  • Tightness
  • Increased sensitivity
  • Accelerated signs of aging (fine lines, expression lines, deep wrinkles)
  • Skin absorbs moisture quickly, but is still left parched
  • Makeup may look patchy as your skin absorbs the moisture from underneath
  • Skin appears dull, lackluster and less supple

What Causes Dehydrated Skin?

  • Stress and lack of sleep
  • Poor diet and overconsumption of alcohol and caffeine
  • High sodium intake
  • Use of products that only address the surface layer of your skin
  • The wrong skincare (harsh products, stripping cleansers, & over exfoliating)
  • Not drinking enough water
  • External factors (indoor heating/cooling systems, exposure to sun or cold temperatures)
  • Ageing (increased dehydration & a decline in cell turnover)

Preventing & Treating Dehydrated Skin

Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? Just like your body, your skin needs to be hydrated as well. Neglecting to treat dehydrated skin can result in skin damage and premature aging. To improve the temporary condition of dehydrated skin, it is important that you use products that contain moisture-binding ingredients like hyaluronic acid and collagen to help your skin retain water and stay hydrated.

Hyaluronic acid is an incredibly hydrating ingredient that holds up to 1000 times its weight in water. It helps promote collagen formation (the fibers that firm skin) and absorbs water like a sponge by filling up the spaces between connective fibers of collagen and elastin, to give skin fullness and plumpness to prevent aging. Hyaluronic acid is found in abundance in young skin, but as we age, the body produces less which can cause premature aging.

What Else Can You Do?

A good skincare routine is not the only treatment and solution to prevent issues like dehydration. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that involves a balanced diet, healthy habits, and drinking a lot of water can also help improve water retention in your skin to support a dewy, radiant and hydrated glow.

Product Suggestions

Hydraluron™ Intense Moisture Lotion:

This lotion is made up of a unique blend of high, medium and low molecular weights of hyaluronic acid and to create a multi-layer, long-lasting moisture barrier. Plus, packed with three key minerals; copper, magnesium and zinc, it protects skin from environmental damage.

Hydraluron™ Moisture Serum:

The ultimate serum that is proven to boost moisture levels in your skin daily. It contains the purest form of hyaluronic acid in a low molecular weight to provide maximum delivery of moisture beneath the skin’s surface.

Hydraluron™ Moisture Jelly:

This unique jelly formula uses a combination of 5 scientifically proven ingredients, including high molecular weight hyaluronic acid to provide instant and sustained moisture benefits to the skin’s surface. It defends against loss of hydration by creating a protective layer that locks in moisture and defends against moisture evaporation.