We often toss around the terms dry and dehydrated interchangeably, but the surprising truth is that these words carry very different meanings. It might sound like we’re getting a bit technical here (and we are), but dry skin and dehydrated skin require distinctive treatments. Consider this – what if you’ve been suffering from dry skin all along, yet you’ve been feeding it dehydrated skin remedies? Or perhaps your skin is just going through a temporary bout of dehydration, but you’re overloading it with oil-heavy products meant for dry skin. Understanding how these two skin concerns compare could make the difference between a meh and game-changing self-care day. Let’s look at some key points below.
Dry skin versus dehydrated skin
1. Dry skin lacks enough lipids
Dry skin is defined as skin that lacks oil. You can easily make out dry skin by its texture – flaky, rough, and cracked on the surface. A good indicator of dry skin is that your skin feels dry all over your body, including your hands and scalp. Overtime, the lack of barrier support and elasticity can lead to premature aging.
2. Dry skin is often genetic
Unlike dehydrated skin, dry skin is a skin type, along with normal, combination, oily, and sensitive. If you have dry skin, it means that your skin naturally produces less oil (sebum) than other skin types. Although dry skin can be exacerbated by external factors like cold weather and hot showers, it is more or less a permanent condition that requires constant tending to.
3. Dehydrated skin lacks enough water
Simply put, dehydrated skin is skin that has suffered water loss in the uppermost layer of the skin. This can impede the skin’s protective barrier function, resulting in skin that looks dull, feels tight and uncomfortable, and even forms fine lines and dark circles.
4. Dehydrated skin tends to be temporary
In most cases, skin dehydration is caused by anything that disrupts the skin barrier, including seasonal changes, sleep deprivation, sun damage, diet, and stress. Using products that dry out your skin can also result in dehydration.
5. Dehydration can happen to anyone
Since dehydrated skin is largely triggered by external factors that come and go, even oily, normal, and combo skin types can experience dehydration. However, if dehydrated skin persists for too long, the skin might produce more oil to compensate for the lack of water. This can lead to that dreaded no man’s zone, where the skin is prone to breakouts and feels dry and oily at the same time.
How to treat dry skin
Since dry skin is a skin type that many people are born with, you can’t necessarily nip it in the bud, but you can pacify it by supplementing oils that dry skin fails to produce on its own. Oil cleansers, cream-based moisturizers, and other products infused with natural oils can help keep dryness at bay. Look for lipid-rich products like the ones below.