One of the most common concerns I get asked about is dry skin; either flaky, tight, and sensitive or pimples or spots. I often get people with oily skin complaining that they are experiencing dry patches and they are not sure why. I also get many complaints about people who have only started struggling with flaky, dry skin patches in their adult life. So what does this mean, let’s put this issue to bed; do they have dry skin or dehydrated skin?
There is a lot of confusion about the two types – normally if you have randomly developed the dry looking skin, the chances are that it is actually dehydrated. However, due to similar display of characteristics, it is misdiagnosed and mistreated. The underlying reasons are miles apart and the treatment is just as different.
So, what is dry skin?
Dry skin is a skin “type” and is when your skin is not producing enough oil to keep it moisturised naturally. Your skin tends to feel tight and looks flaky and dull. This is a result of your genetics and you will suffer from this throughout your life and probably all over your body. You will also notice that your skin can often react to products and feel sensitive or irritated easily. Another sign is the lack of ability to absorb products.
How to treat dry skin
The aim here to replenish the skin with oil based molecules therefore cleansers and moisturises rich in oil content are the key. Some of my personal favourite ranges and products for dry skin include:
- Caudalie Divine Oil
- Elemis Hydra-Boost Day Cream
- Eucerin Aquaporin Active Hydration
- Eve Lom Cleanser
- Nuxe Comforting Cleaning Milk
- Vichy Nutrologie Range
What is dehydrated skin?
Dehydrated skin is a skin “condition” and is when your skin is lacking water. Due to it being a short-term condition, It can affect any skin type from the really dry to really oily and acne prone skin. It is mainly a result of change in lifestyle such as diet, environment, exercise and weather. You may also experience your makeup becomes patchy and you need to moisturise more often as it seems to dissolve in your skin. As with dry skin, there is increased sensitivity and irritation.
Causes of dehydrated skin?
As I mentioned, dry skin is most likely a genetic problem, but dehydrated skin can be a result of many different factors – with the main factor being your lifestyle. Artificial air, working in cold or hot weather, UV rays and not drinking enough water can all lead to dehydrated skin. Skincare routines can also play a role as overuse of some products can lead to stripping skin and allowing water to escape. Other factors include hormonal changes, certain types of medication e.g. retinoids and other skin conditions such as eczema.
How to treat dehydrated skin?
The skin consists of 3 layers; hypodermis, dermis and epidermis. Up to 30% of water is found in the epidermis which is the top layer and the one we can actually see. When this is compromised or damaged, the water is able to escape and eventually evaporates causing dehydration and making skin look dry and unhealthy. Drinking more water does not mean putting the water back into this layer as cells from the hypodermis and dermis need to push water up to epidermis and this can take some time.
In order to overcome dehydration, both internal and external hydration is required. Therefore drinking plenty of water and applying moisturisers together is the best and most effective treatment. However stay away from applying a lot of water to skin as this can actually add to dehydration (think of our fingers after a long bath).
The aim here is to retain the moisture within our skin while aiding hydration physically as well by using products rich in Hyaluronic acid, collagen and glycerine. Other great ingredients to look out for are vitamin C and naicinamide as these help with maintaining the skin barrier.
- Caudalie Vinosource Range
- Eucerin Aquaphor Balm
- La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Range
- Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture
- StriVectin Extreme Cream
- Vichy Aqualia Range
As always, if you have any further questions about your skin or any of the products mentioned then please contact me via email – firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet me @LFpharmacist or even leave a comment below!