WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE & HOW CAN I TREAT IT?
When looking for new products to add to your routine, it’s sometimes hard to understand where to start and what your skin concern is.
We often hear the terms “dry” and “dehydrated” used interchangeably, but contrary to popular belief, they are not the same thing. We’re here to help you a) work out what each really means for your skin, and more importantly b) how you can remedy them for a luminous, healthy complexion.
What is the difference between dry and dehydrated skin?
Firstly, it’s all about understanding the difference between skin types and skin conditions.
Dry skin is a skin type.
Skin types are what we’re born with, determined by our genetic make-up, so therefore, they cannot be changed. However, they can be managed and maintained through the use of products suitable for your skin needs.
Dehydrated skin is a skin condition
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. Skin can change throughout the seasons, dependent on environmental aggressors like the weather.
Essentially, the key difference is the permanence of skin types, in contrast to the impermanence of skin conditions.
So, what actually defines dry skin? Dry skin is naturally lacking in oil because it produces significantly less sebum than “normal” skin types. This lack of sebum means that the skin is short on the lipids it really needs to build up a super strong barrier to fight and protect against external aggressors, plus being vital to locking in moisture.
But what does dry skin actually feel like? Well, naturally, it looks and feels dry to the touch, and not just on the face. Dry skin will encompass the hands, body and scalp too, so if this is sounding like your skin type, it’s likely that you might experience dry patches all over! Dry skin is also more susceptible to premature aging, so the products you use to address this are paramount.
Notably, black skin can be extra likely to be dry, as it naturally holds lower lipid levels than white skin. Keep in mind that a form of lipids called ceramides - those responsible for giving skin a hydrated, plumped up appearance - could be of help. Essentially, they’re fat molecules. They help to fill in the gaps between skin cells by building up a layer of protection that helps combat loss of moisture and again, helps fight against external damage.
When you’re choosing your next products you’ll see them listed as ceramide EOP, ceramide NG, ceramide NP, ceramide NS, phytosphingosine and sphingosine on the INCI.
How do I know if I have dry skin?
Dry skin is defined by that constant, ever-present lack of moisture. In total contrast to dehydrated skin, your genetics have already defined your skin type, so pretty likely you’ve known that your skin is dry for a while. This isn’t about eliminating dry skin, it’s about learning how to nourish your skin with the products you use, to minimise the visible signs and deeper feels.
Commonly, dry skin will feel rough, scaly, flakey and generally uncomfortable. Darker skin tones may notice a grey or ash-like cast over any areas of skin that are extra dry too.
My skin type is DEFINITELY dry. What should I be doing to help?
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! We cannot stress enough the importance of a good moisturiser when it comes to keeping dry skin plump, soft and full. A top tip is to apply your moisturiser straight out of the shower, as ointments and creams work best by trapping in all that lovely moisture that’s already there.
When it comes to the ashiness we mentioned in darker skin tones, opt for products that include lactic acid to work at hydration and gentle exfoliation at the same time. This is because the ingredients break down some of the skin’s protein, which allows water to bind to the cells.
Asian dry skin, in particular, will benefit from using milder creams and cleansers to help build up their barrier, as their skin naturally has lesser humectant levels than both white and black skin. Alcohol-based toners and overwhelming amounts of acids can be a no-no here, so steer away from anything that could strip the skin of its natural lipids.
Dry, white skin that’s super susceptible to chapped, red patches; soothing, antioxidant packed creams are for you. Avoid using retinol if you experience any raw, inflamed skin, and introduce them back in slowly once you have got your moisture levels sussed.
In general, cold weather is dry skin’s worst nightmare, so always make sure you’re protected against the elements. Hydrating with nighttime oils, and packing in products full of shea butter, lanolin, glycerin, Vitamin E (found in our Radiance Ritual) and hyaluronic acids are all known to give a moisture boost to drier types too.
So, on that note... what is dehydrated skin?
Dehydrated skin is in need of water. Essentially, dehydration can happen to any type of skin when it’s losing more water than it’s taking in.
Initially, dehydrated skin has all the connotations of dry skin, but it’s certainly not exclusive to just a single skin type.
As a rule, a healthy, balanced skin barrier should help skin retain all the hydration it needs, whilst a hard working outer layer of the skin (the stratum corneum) should always be 10% to 15% water. Anything below 10% is verging into dehydrated territory. At this level, the skin will then try to overcompensate for this by moving water back up to the surface, which can in turn create a further lack of balance in the skin’s moisture levels.
How do you know if your skin is dehydrated?
Dehydration can show up on the skin in many ways, but most commonly, it’ll appear dull, feel tight and you might spot that lines or dark circles are exaggerated. This is your skin’s way of telling you it needs hydration. Dehydrated skin can be super temperamental, sensitive as well as showing itself through redness, inflammation and congestion.
Surprisingly, unless you’ve experienced it of course, skin can feel oily and dehydrated at the same time. Oily skin can become even oilier when dehydrated, as low moisture levels encourage the skin to produce excess oil in its quest to combat the lack of hydration. As a result of this, oilier skin types can be in danger of breakouts when they are lacking in water.
What actually causes skin to become dehydrated? Many external factors can have a serious effect on skin’s hydration levels, like the weather, your diet, central heating and, obviously, whether you’re actually consuming enough water. The symptoms of water-hungry skin can come and go depending on your exposure to the above factors, so it’s super important to know how to treat it when you are lacking dehydration.
What can help my dehydrated skin?
Humectant-rich products are dehydrated skin’s best friend. Such hydrators work hard to replenish skin’s moisture levels, so be sure to keep an eye out for ingredients that prevent water loss.
An absolute hydration powerhouse comes in the form of Hyaluronic Acid, as its sponge-like molecular make up naturally attracts water, whilst it works it’s way into your skin’s collagen to maximise dewy, plump complexions. Amazingly, it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making it an essential at keeping skin super hydrated.
Gentle exfoliation is a must for dehydrated skin, as it works at removing dead skin cells, meaning that any hydration-hit you apply will really absorb at its best. Use serums that will aid in hydration and remember that serums should be applied before your moisturiser.
In regards to combatting bouts of dehydration, experts suggest a few key lifestyle changes.
Firstly, always wear sun protection. Needless to say, it’s a daily necessity for the many reasons listed in DAILY SPF: WHY IT’S A SKINCARE ESSENTIAL, but UVA in sunlight is also a huge factor when it comes to skin dehydration.
Avoiding excessive alcohol, caffeine and smoking are also said to have a positive impact on the skin’s hydration levels, as well as, of course, keeping your water bottle topped up all day long.
So those are the differences between dry and dehydrated skin, but what should I be doing for both?
As a rule, both dry and dehydrated skin can be sensitive, tight and itchy at their worst. Both can make skin look tired, and certainly not at its radiant best.
Gentle exfoliation, thanks to the balance of AHAs and BHAs in Radiance Ritual’s Mask, helps to remove dead skin cell build up, ensuring that flaky, dry patches are sloughed off to reveal the new skin beneath, allowing you to make the most of its hydrating benefits.
Radiance Ritual Mask has clinically-proven active ingredients including Squalane, Glycerin, Sunflower Seed Oil and Prickly Pear Seed Oil and Vitamin E to hydrate and protect the skin’s barrier whilst keeping the lipids in your skin super fresh.
You can read more about PRICKLY PEAR SEED OIL here.
You can read more about VITAMIN E here.
You can read more about SQUALANE here.
Once you have decided which products are going to give you the helping hand you need, the rest is down to you. Application, and the order in which is do so, is absolutely key. Apply your hydrating, moisturising products in the wrong order, and you may not benefit from the ingredients.
Always start with your lightest layer first, which is a serum, and work your way all the way up to your heavier textures. Creams, oils and SPF always come last.
The order in which you apply products is so important due to their molecule makeup. Products like serums are made up of the smallest of molecules, meaning they are tailored to penetrate into the lower layers of the skin. Thicker products like moisturisers, moisture-locking oils and creams have a larger molecular make-up, which means that they sit on the outer layers. To keep skin hydrated, make sure the ingredients you need are getting to where they will work their magic.
Pop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us @Luneia to tell us if you’ve got any more top tips on banishing dehydration or maintaining dry skin.
Always remember to tag us in your #LuneiaMuse moments when using your Radiance Ritual mask too!