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Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin: There is a Difference!

How to Tell If Your Skin Is Dry or Dehydrated.

Dry skin lacks oil because it produces less sebum than normal skin, and the lack of sebum means the skin is without the lipids it needs to retain moisture and to build a strong barrier to protect against external aggressors.

Dehydrated skin does not have enough water. Dehydration is caused by many external factors, but the most common are weather, environment, diet, and caffeine consumption, all of which can result in diminished water content within the skin.

A good test to find out if you have dry or dehydrated skin is to pinch your cheek. If it's wrinkling with gentle pressure instead of holding its shape, your skin cells are desperate for water. Dehydrated skin will feel tight, look dull in the mirror, and you may notice more exaggerated wrinkles, or ones in places you don't remember having them, along with more exaggerated dark circles beneath your eyes.

Dry skin, on the other hand, tends to be uncomfortable, flaky, and itchy. 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, the inside of the arms, and the thighs.

1. Exfoliate

As dead skin builds up, it can diminish the absorption of serums and moisturizers. Exfoliate at least once a week to remove dead skin cells, which allows your skincare products to work better.

2. Add a Serum to Your Routine

Hydrate the skin with serums and apply these before any moisturizer.

Serums are not moisturizers and vice-versa. Find a serum with hyaluronic acid, which is the same ingredient used in many fillers. Your skin naturally produces hyaluronic acid, but supplementing via skin care is key for addressing dehydration. Products that contain hyaluronic acid stimulators containing peptides, boost your skin's ability to produce its own hyaluronic acid.

Since the purpose of hydrating is to bind water to our skin and moisturizing is to prevent the water from leaving our skin, it’s important that hydration comes before moisturizing (when applying products topically).

This is why serums are to be applied first, as most hydrating treatment serums contain a humectant. Once you get that layer of hydration on, you want to seal it all in with a lipid (facial moisturizer). This combination creates a healthy balance.

3. Use a Heavier Moisturizer at Night

Even though we're shielded from the harsh outdoor climate, heated dry air causes us to naturally lose moisture while we sleep. Use a heavier moisturizer at night to counteract this.

4. Drink Water.

It might seem obvious, but it's important to mention that drinking water is important. Internal hydration is vital. Drink plenty of fluids, and eat water-rich fruits and vegetables and essential fatty acids. Drink eight glasses of water per day, but remember eight is just an average. If you workout, all that sweating will cause you to burn through much more water, especially on the skin where sweating will worsen dehydrated skin.

5. Maintenance

Dry skin is an inherent skin condition that will sustain for most of your life, whereas dehydration is more of a state your skin is in that you can fix.

- remember; even when properly moisturized, dehydrated skin tends to look dull and feel tight. Apply your hydrating serum before your moisturizer to lock in the hydration.

- with dry skin, lack of moisture (lipid content) can result in rough, dry or flaky skin. If this is your skin, make sure you're exfoliating at least once a week, and you’re using the right moisturizing ingredients. Moisturizers containing ceramides assist in keeping moisture in skin.


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