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Is Your Skin Dry Or Just Dehydrated? Know The Difference

Most of us have the notion that dry skin and dehydrated skin are the same. And hence, we either deal with both of them the same way or just don't pay the required attention to the dehydrated skin as it needs. And that can turn out to be a grave mistake for your skin. The skin that you think is dry can actually be dehydrated and both of these are completely different things. So today, we talk about the difference between the two and how to tackle dehydrated skin.

Dry Skin Vs Dehydrated Skin- The Difference

Simply put, dry skin is a skin type while dehydrated skin is a skin condition that can come and go. You have dry skin if your skin doesn't produce enough oil or lack enough lipids[1] . Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is caused by lack of water[2] . Your skin can lack water due to various reasons like overexposure to sun, improper diet, wrong use of cosmetic products and weather. What is also important to know is that your skin can be oily and dehydrated at the same time. You need to replenish moisture in your skin to get rid of dehydrated skin.

How many times has it happened that you feel your skin dry and you layer on moisturiser on your face to reduce the dryness but to no avail? No matter how much moisturiser you put on, your skin just doesn't bounce back. And that is because your skin is actually dehydrated not dry and you need to tackle it as such. We will come to that in a bit. For now, let's find out how you can know if your skin is dry or dehydrated.

The Telltale Signs Of Dry And Dehydrated Skin

To decide the course of action, first you need to know whether you have dry or dehydrated skin. Here are certain telltale signs that can help you.

Characteristics of dry skin

  • Rough complexion
  • The entire body feels dry
  • Flakiness
  • Might be painful
  • Red patches

Characteristics of dehydrated skin

  • Looks dull
  • Itchiness
  • Accelerated appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
  • Dark under eyes
  • Feels tight
  • skin becomes sensitive
  • Inflammation
  • Change in skin texture with the change in weather

What Causes Dehydrated Skin?

Dry skin is a skin type and that means you are born with it. But that is not the case with dehydrated skin. Your skin becomes dehydrated over time. Here are some of the major reasons that can cause dehydrated skin.

1. Using the wrong skincare products

Using products meant for your skin type is a piece of skincare advice you must follow. Using products that aren't meant for your skin type can turn out to be too harsh or ineffective for your skin and hence increases the chances of your skin becoming dehydrated as your skin doesn't get the nourishment it needed.

Also, using products meant for your body on the face is another major cause of dehydrated skin. The most common mistake we do is using a body lotion on the face to moisturise. Stop doing that immediately.

2. Overexposure to the sun

Sun damage is the worst kind of damage that can happen to your skin. Overexposure to the harmful rays of the sun can dehydrate your skin, boost the process of skin ageing, increase free radicals in the skin and thus cause a lot of damage[3] . So, it is advisable not to step out in the sun without SPF and to always cover your skin while you are out and about.

3. Hot water baths

Hot water strips the moisture of your skin and thus can make your skin dehydrated. So, no matter how cold the weather is, use lukewarm water to wash your face or take a bath if you want healthy and supple skin.

4. Ageing

As you age, so does your skin. And as your skin ages, its ability to retain water decreases. With age, there are certain structural changes in your skin as well that makes it difficult for your skin to bounce back as easily as it used to. And thus your skin becomes dehydrated[4] . And as your skin becomes dehydrated, the signs of skin ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles become more prominent.

How To Tackle Dehydrated Skin

Now that you have analysed your skin and found that it is dehydrated, let's go through how you can tackle dehydrated skin.

1. Exfoliate your skin regularly

Exfoliation is a necessary step to maintain healthy skin. Our skin sheds cells and so we have a build-up of dead skin cells. These dead skin cells block our skin pores and hinder the absorption of moisturisers on the skin and thus can dehydrate your skin. Exfoliating the skin gets rid of these dead skin cells and refreshes your skin.

2. Use Sunscreen[5]

Exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun is a big reason behind dehydrated skin. So, to protect your skin from the sun rays, always apply sunscreen on your face with an SPF of at least 15.

3. Avoid smoking and drinking[6] [7]

Regular and prolonged consumption of alcohol and smoking severely dehydrates the skin. Not only that, it also triggers the process of skin ageing with fine lines and wrinkles becoming more visible. Smoking and drinking damages the skin extensively and causes breakouts and other skin issues as well.

4. Change your skincare routine with the change in seasons

Change in the weather also causes dehydrated skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. So, you need to be season-ready and upgrade your skincare routine with the change in seasons.

5. Level up your moisturiser[8]

Your dehydrated skin needs to be moisturised and your usual moisturiser just won't do. So, you need to gear up and shift to a heavier moisturiser, especially during the night. Cleanse your skin properly before going to bed and apply a nice layer of moisturiser. It will surely help.

6. Eat healthily

A proper and nutritious diet can help keep dehydrated skin at bay. So, keep that junk food aside and savour some healthy and delicious meal. Include fruits and green leafy vegetables in your diet and reduce the consumption of high-sugar and oily foods.

7. Drink plenty of water

To tackle the issue of dehydrated skin, you need to work from inside out. Drinking plenty of water is a major step to ensure your skin doesn't get dehydrated. And if regular water gets a tad bit boring, shift to drinks such as fruit juice and coconut water.

8. Check the ingredients before you buy any product

It is important for you to know what you should put on your skin and what you shouldn't. And it becomes even more crucial if you have dehydrated skin. Here is a list of ingredients that you should endorse and that you should avoid if you have dehydrated skin.

Ingredients you need to look for

  • Hyaluronic acid[9]
  • Glycerin[10]
  • Aloe vera extracts[11]
  • Honey
  • Snail mucin
  • Lactic acid[12]
  • Citric acid[12]
  • Ceramide
  • Glycolic acid[12]

Ingredients you need to avoid

  • Fragrance
  • Alcohol[6]

How To Tackle Dry Skin

When it comes to dry skin, there are certain remedies, measures and precautions that you can use to reduce the issues that arise because of dry skin.

Here are some amazing home remedies to tackle dry skin.

Check out these tips you need to follow if you have dry skin.

View Article References
  1. [1] Pons‐Guiraud, A. (2007). Dry skin in dermatology: a complex physiopathology.Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology,21, 1-4.
  2. [2] Duplan, H., & Nocera, T. (2018, May). Skin hydration and hydrating products. InAnnales de dermatologie et de venereologie(Vol. 145, No. 5, pp. 376-384).
  3. [3] Green, H. A., & Drake, L. (1993). Aging, sun damage, and sunscreens.Clinics in plastic surgery,20(1), 1-8.
  4. [4] Ganceviciene, R., Liakou, A. I., Theodoridis, A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Skin anti-aging strategies.Dermato-endocrinology,4(3), 308–319. doi:10.4161/derm.22804
  5. [5] Gabros, S., & Zito, P. M. (2019). Sunscreens And Photoprotection. InStatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.
  6. [6] ROBERTS, K. E. (1963). Mechanism of dehydration following alcohol ingestion.Archives of internal medicine,112(2), 154-157.
  7. [7] Urbańska, M., Nowak, G., & Florek, E. (2012). Cigarette smoking and its influence on skin aging.Przeglad lekarski,69(10), 1111-1114.
  8. [8] Rawlings, A. V., & Harding, C. R. (2004). Moisturization and skin barrier function.Dermatologic therapy,17, 43-48.
  9. [9] Jegasothy, S. M., Zabolotniaia, V., & Bielfeldt, S. (2014). Efficacy of a New Topical Nano-hyaluronic Acid in Humans.The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology,7(3), 27–29.
  10. [10] Lodén, M., Andersson, A. C., Anderson, C., Bergbrant, I. M., Frodin, T., Ohman, H., ... & Pawlik, E. (2002). A double-blind study comparing the effect of glycerin and urea on dry, eczematous skin in atopic patients.Acta Dermato Venereologica,82(1), 45-47.
  11. [11] Surjushe, A., Vasani, R., & Saple, D. G. (2008). Aloe vera: a short review.Indian journal of dermatology,53(4), 163–166. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.44785
  12. [12] Tang, S. C., & Yang, J. H. (2018). Dual effects of alpha-hydroxy acids on the skin.Molecules,23(4), 863.

Story first published: Monday, December 2, 2019, 13:43 [IST]
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