Dry or dehydrated? What’s the difference, and how can I treat both? I’ve recently discovered that there is a difference between the two. For the past couple of years I thought my skin was exhibiting symptoms of dry skin. However, doing research revealed that my skin is showing signs of dehydration! It’s very common to mistake the two, and here’s how you can determine your skin type.
Dry skin: For those of you that suffer from dryness, your skin type is called alipidic (Rouleau), or skin that does not produce oil. You’ll notice that you’re pores are smaller and the hair follicles aren’t dilated, because there is no oil being produced. Fine lines are more pronounced and rough patches form on the skin. Dry skin can eventually damage the barrier function of the skin and will lead to higher sensitivity and inflammation (Rouleau). This is why extreme winter and summer weather can be so harsh for those with dry skin. When inflammation occurs, it can slowly break down the collagen layer. This is why dry skin is prone to premature aging. For those seeking to treat dry skin use protectants and emollients to add an extra protective layer to the skin. Ingredients to look for in moisturizing products are: Shea butter, Beeswax, Jojoba oil (see my article “Fighting Oil with Oil” for more information on Jojoba Oil), and Sunflower Seed Oil (Rouleau). Make sure and use gentle exfoliants to remove dry flaking skin. This will help lipid production and normal cell function. Using mild cleansing lotions are much better than using a bar of soap. Find something that is formulated for your skin type. Also, your environment can be altered to relieve the skin. Use a humidifier in dry conditions to help keep moisture in the air.
Dehydrated skin: Dehydrated skin is a condition where your skin layers lack natural water content. You’re pores can still be enlarged, allowing them to produce oil. This is very common in those who suffer from acne. Dehydrated skin can be tight and can emphasis fine lines. The surface cells will look deflated and can have triangular fine lines (Rouleau) (this is what tipped me off in determining my skin condition.) Dehydrated skin can be brought on by using harsh acne products that strip the skin of water. To treat, try using products that have ingredients such as glycerine, propylene glycol, or Sorbitol (Rouleau). These ingredients will bind water to the surface of the skin. Exfoliants should be used sparingly; the acid will strip the skin further. Sulphate-free cleansing products are recommended, and will stop unnecessary moisture loss.
Knowing the difference between the two can mean the world to those suffering from these conditions. Please, before you use products with any of these ingredients, consult a skin care specialist. They can help you determine the skin condition you’re suffering from.
Rouleau, Renée. “Dry skin vs. Dehydrated Skin. What’s the difference.” Renée Rouleau: For Beautiful skin . Renée Rouleau, 04 Aug 2011. Web. 26 Jun. 2012.