Dehydrated skin lacks water and dry skin lacks natural oils (also called sebum).
Dry skin is a skin type, while dehydration is a condition. Skin types are generally classified as normal, dry, combination, and oily. You're usually born with one type of skin, but that changes with age, hormones and season.
How do you know the difference?
Dehydrated skin tends to look dull and feel tight, even when you moisturise. When your skin is hydrated, it reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and your skin cells can function optimally.
If you have dry skin it means that sebum content is low. This results in rough, dry or flaky skin, irritation and redness. Dry skin is a skin type and can be genetic, hormonal, a sign of premature ageing or chronic illness. It can also be your body releasing toxins for your skin to remove. Certain allergies can also cause dry skin for some people.
The hidden benefits!
Dry and dehydrated skin have different causes and solutions, but increasing your water content is a key factor for both. And that helps not only your skin, but most of your body as well!
Some of the bonuses of drinking more water for your skin include:
Drinking more water helps with weight loss.
Flushing your kidneys so fewer toxins travel to the skin surface.
Muscles in your face and body are more flexible
Connective tissue in your face is less rigid - and that means fewer wrinkles
Your solution for dehydrated skin
Hydrating your skin means increasing the amount of water in your skin cells, which results in a healthy, smooth and plump complexion. I recommend drinking 30 ml of water per kilo of body weight each day. Unlike dry skin, dehydration is treatable with lifestyle changes.
Making a few daily changes to your routine will not only help to keep your skin hydrated and wrinkle free, you'll also have more energy and better sleep.
Drink alcohol in moderation only (if at all).
Use targeted skin serums that contain humectants that help to bind moisture to your skin.
Drink less coffee and other sources of caffeine.
Drink water while you work out.
Get plenty of sleep. (I have some tips for better sleep here.)
Eat more plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Try my favourite skin food salad here.
Your solution for dry skin
Dry skin means that your skin isn’t producing or replenishing enough of its own natural oils. We often think oil is bad for our skin, and that isn’t true. If you have chronic dry skin ask your health professional as it may be an indication of other issues like psoriasis or dermatitis which need specialised treatment.
Your body produces an oil called sebum to protect and moisturise your skin. Sebum also helps the outer layers of your skin retain water, which keeps it hydrated. We all need a certain amount of sebum on our skin for it to be healthy, glowing and moisturised. When your skin is dry skin it can mean that the sebum content is low. This results in rough, dry or flaky skin, irritation and redness. Skin serums that contain hyaluronic acid will penetrate deep into the skin to restore moisture. Natural moisturiser applied after serum will lock in the hydration. Moisturiser also provides a barrier to protect your skin from environmental pollutants.
Other ways you can help to minimise dryness include:
Avoid using soap; use a gentle cream cleanser for your face and an oil based body wash.
Dry brush before showering to stimulate your skin.
After showering or washing your face, pat your skin dry with a soft towel. Never rub your face, as this can cause further damage and irritate dry facial skin.
Use a humidifier when you are using heat or air conditioning.
Mist your face often with a hydrating toning mist.
Make moisturising an essential part of your daily facial routine.
Use a serum before you moisturise. Hyaluronic acid serums bind water to our skin and moisturiser prevents the water from leaving your skin.
Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
Make sure your showers aren’t hot - hot water strips the sebum that your skin needs to retain moisture.
Exfoliate gently twice each week to get rid of dead skin cells and clear the way for younger-looking, hydrated skin.
Your skin loves healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, so try to include foods like almonds, salmon, and avocado along with fruits and vegetables.
While some of us have chronic dry skin, we all experience dry facial skin from time to time. Following these tips and a simple daily skincare routine will help to repair and prevent dry skin.