Dry and dehydrated are different kettles of fish. I said this to d’mother at the weekend and she was taken aback. In case others are confused, I thought I’d chat about the difference between dry and dehydrated skin, and give some quick tips on how to look after ’em.
What Causes Dry Skin?
There are glands in your skin that are supposed to pump out sebum, an oil that keeps skin moist. In dry skin, these glands aren’t working hard enough.
This can be genetic, meaning you got the lazy glands from your mama, or a natural slowing down of the process due to ageing.
Outside factors, like excessive sun, central heating, medication, harsh soaps and hot showers can all negatively affect the production of sebum too.
What Causes Dehydrated Skin?
Skin becomes dehydrated when it’s being exposed to damaging external factors like high winds, excessive sun and harsh cleansers.
Taking in too much coffee, cigarettes and fizzy drinks also cause and worsen dehydration. The natural ageing process also reduces the skin’s hydration.
What Does Dry Skin Look and feel Like?
Typically, dry skin is more prone to wrinkling. Its pores will be very refined and not very visible. It’s usually free from spots, but the odd one doesn’t mean the skin isn’t dry. Spots know no bounds, they’re just rare in dry skin.
It will feel rough, dry and delicate – like it’s very thin. It might also cause itching.
What Does Dehydrated Skin Look and feel Like?
Dehydrated skin looks and feels dry, scaly and flaky. When you’ve got foundation on, it might look like you’ve got a very thin layer of skin over your own skin, as the scaly surface separates with the foundation.
As any skin type can become dehydrated, pores might be enlarged or small and your spot situation could range from acne to blemish free.
How Do You Treat Dry Skin?
Treat dry skin as you would want to be treated. No, only joking. Treat dry skin with a boat load of nourishing creams and oils.
Lipids are key – La Roche Posay are brillzo at this, especially the Nutritic Intense range (review here!) – but you should spot ’em on the ingredient list of most good moisturisers.
When cleansing, use something gentle like a milk, lotion, gel or cream. Don’t look twice at foaming cleansers! Exfoliation is best done with a really mild chemical exfoliant, and never with a beads or grains.
Other top ingredients to look for are urea, glycolic acids, nourishing natural oils like Vitamin E, lactic acids and glycerin. Ingredients are listed from how much is in a product to how little, so make sure the moisturising ones are at the top.
How Do You Treat Dehydrated Skin?
I’ve included a picture of the Vichy Aqualia Thermal range because it’s massively hydrating. The brand make no wild claims, it’s just a bish-bash-bosh dehydration smasher.
Hyaluronic acid, the big buzz ingredient of our time, features across the range. It helps skin hold onto moisture, which exactly what dehydrated skin needs.
Pricing on the range is reasonable – Aqualia Thermal Light, €15.50. Aqualia Thermal Serum €24. Thermal Night Spa, €27.
If the Vichy range isn’t your bag, just keep an eye out for other products that are high in hyaluronic acid and glycerin. And, for the love of all that’s good, don’t scrub at your face with harsh cleansers. Skip sulphates, and look for gels or creams.
As a scaly film can settle over dry skin, it’s best to have an exfoliating cleanser or toner on the go. Products won’t sink in properly to skin that’s dead on the surface and not properly clean.
That’s the skinny! If you’ve got dry or dehydrated skin, leave your treatment tips below!