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Dry Versus Dehydrated Skin: What’s the Difference?

Skin feeling tight, taut and not so terrific? Put down the thick night cream, as you might be misdiagnosing dehydration with dryness and confusing your complexion.

Here’s how to play skin detective and spot the difference, ensuring your skin is happy, healthy and beautifully balanced, all year round.

Dry Skin

“Dry skin is characterised by a lack of oil, and you’ll often see this skin type referred to as lipid dry,” says La Roche-Posay skincare expert, Rachel McAdam. Alongside oily, normal and combination (normal/dry with an oily t-zone), dry skin is a skin type.

As your skin type is determined by genes, it’s something you’re stuck with for the long haul. It’s therefore important you learn to look after your dry skin. A targeted skincare regime can help strengthen dry skin’s impaired barrier function and compensate for the lack of natural moisturisers.

Spot the signs: Dry skin consistently feels tight and can be easily irritated. Redness is common, skin can appear dull and you may experience flaking. Fine lines are generally more pronounced than with other skin types, while pores are not very apparent.

Dehydrated Skin

On the other hand, all skin types, including dry and oily, can suffer from dehydration. It’s a temporary condition that refers to a lack of water in the skin (don’t forget your 4-6 glasses of water per day!) and can be aggravated by things like climate and seasonal changes. “Dehydrated skin is especially common during winter when humidity levels drop, we’re exposed to harsh winds, and spend much of our time in artificial heating,” says Rachel.

Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, sun exposure, diet and alcohol consumption, can also lead to dehydrated skin.

Spot the signs:
Many of the signs of dryness and dehydration are the same; however, dehydration tends to pass. Dehydrated skin also appears lacklustre and dull, but when pulled taut, it almost seems to wrinkle a little. Dehydrated skin doesn't "bounce back" easily. Like dry skin, dehydrated skin will feel tight and possibly itchy, and will thirstily drink up your skincare products. It’s also prone to irritation and sometimes flaking. Oily skins that are also dehydrated may start to produce even more sebum to compensate, leading to breakouts (fun!). 

Dry Vs Dehydrated Skin: The Treatments

Active ingredients to look out for to help dry and dehydrated skin include Hyaluronic Acid which traps 1000 times its weight in water, Vitamin C and Niacinamide (Vitamin B3). Both Vitamin C and Niacinamide help keep skin hydrated and supple by preventing transepidermal water loss (TEWL) – the evaporation of water through the skin.

Cleanse
Caring for dehydrated and dry skins should start with a targeted, soap-free cleanser. Toleriane Foaming Gel is ideal for normal to combination skins, while Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser is an ultra-gentle cleansing milk with glycerin, perfect for nourishing dry skins.

Alternatively, Micellar Water Ultra Reactive gently cleanses and soothes reactive skin without redness or tightness. With a boosted concentration of glycerin for optimal tolerance, comfort and hydrating power, it is Ideal as a make-up remover and cleanser in one.

Treat
Treating dehydrated skin with an overly rich, nourishing cream can be a mistake many of us tend to make during winter. You still need to take into account your skin type.

The Toleriane range moisturises combination to normal and intolerant skin. For skin which is also red, itchy or irritated, the best options are Toleriane Ultra, or Toleriane Ultra Overnight which has added Neurosensine – an ingredient that soothes irritation caused by dryness. Ultra Overnight also contains Carnosine, Vitamin E and Niacinamide to help repair the skin’s barrier, reducing the occurrence of irritation and redness.

Only extremely dry skin needs a heavy cream to replace the skin’s missing lipids. Enriched with extra nourishing shea butter, Toleriane Riche is an ideal option for very dry and sensitive skin.
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