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DRY VS. DEHYDRATED SKIN: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE

02 Jan 2022

‘How to know if my skin is dehydrated or dry?’ To answer this common skincare question, you’ll need to understand the causes and characteristics of both issues. Differentiating between dry or dehydrated skin requires close attention and care, but it’s well worth the time and effort. Learning whether your skin is dry or dehydrated reveals the reasons for your skin issues and empowers you to manage your skin type or concerns in a highly efficacious way.

Keep reading to gain an understanding of the difference between dry and dehydrated skin, what causes each issue and how to help manage your skin with targeted skincare ingredients. We’ll also walk through a skincare routine for both skin issues, including product recommendations from the La Roche-Posay range.

 

UNDERSTANDING DRY VS. DEHYDRATED SKIN

If you’ve been asking yourself ‘Is my skin dehydrated or dry?’, you’re certainly not alone in your confusion. In fact, you might not even be aware that dehydration and dryness are two distinct skin issues because these terms are often used interchangeably in casual conversation.

Another reason people often underestimate the difference between dry and dehydrated skin is because the signs of both can look somewhat similar at first glance. Let’s take a closer look and break down the signs of dry and dehydrated skin.

 

DRY SKIN SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES

What causes dry skin?

Dry skin is a skin type that happens when the skin has inadequate levels of natural oils. Very dry to dry skin is often genetic, meaning many people are born with this skin type. However, your skin type can change gradually over time, especially if you develop dry skin conditions such as skin prone to mild eczema or skin prone to psoriasis. Certain health conditions can also be an underlying cause of dry skin.

What does dry skin look like?

This skin type is characterised by skin with a scaly texture, which can also be prone to white flakes, redness and sensitivity. Dry skin often feels tight or uncomfortable after exposure to water and may look dull.

 

DEHYDRATED SKIN SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES

What causes dehydrated skin?

While dry skin is a skin type, dehydrated skin is more accurately classified as a skin concern. This is because dehydration is something that can happen to the skin temporarily, rather than its inherent nature. Instead of a lack of natural skin oils, dehydrated skin occurs when the skin lacks water. If you’re wondering ‘why is my skin dehydrated?’, the answer likely comes down to your water intake or the condition of your skin moisture barrier. If your overall water intake is inadequate, your skin will become dehydrated from the inside out. Alternatively, if your skin moisture barrier becomes compromised from environmental stressors or an excessive skincare routine, your skin may lose excessive hydration through its surface. This is a process called transepidermal water loss (TEWL).

What does dehydrated skin look like?

Upon close inspection, dehydrated skin appears quite different to dry skin. Complexions experiencing this concern tend to look dull, shadowy and ‘sunken’, with exaggerated dark under-eye circles. Dehydration also de-plumps the skin, increasing the visible appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in a phenomenon known as dehydration lines.

 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DRY AND DEHYDRATED SKIN

Overall, it’s important to look out for the signs of dry skin vs dehydrated skin to help you manage your skin type and concerns efficiently. Dry skin will look redder and flakier, while dehydrated skin will look dull and flat. If you’re still not sure, try pinching the skin on your cheek. If your skin is slow to bounce back, it’s likely dehydrated.

 

SKINCARE FOR DRY SKIN

Your dry skin routine should focus on brightening and moisturising from your face serum to your body moisturiser. We’ve included products from our Lipikar range to directly target a lack of skin oils.

OIL-BASED CLEANSER

Start with our Lipikar Huile Lavante AP+ Cleansing Oil, designed to protect very dry skin as it washes away impurities.

BRIGHTENING SERUM

Follow up with a brightening serum to target the lack of radiance and irregular texture commonly seen with dry skin, like our Pure Vitamin C10 Serum with powerful L-ascorbic acid. There are many possible serum routines for different skin needs, so it’s important to tailor this step.

MOISTURISER

Moisturising is the most important step for dry skin. For the face, use our Toleriane Sensitive Facial Moisturiser. This prebiotic formula targets dryness, visible redness and moisture loss.

If you have dry skin it’s probably an issue all over your body, so you should also use a body moisturiser like our Lipikar AP+M Body Balm. This body balm helps replenish skin oils.

 

SKINCARE FOR DEHYDRATED SKIN

Your dehydrated skin routine should be enriched with hydrating ingredients from your face cleanser onwards. Here are our recommendations.

GENTLE CLEANSER

Our Toleriane Caring Wash Cleanser is enriched with four caring ingredients for a milky, comforting formula. Glycerin locks in moisture while panthenol soothes your skin.

HYDRATING SERUM

Using a potent hydrating serum is one of the best things you can do for dehydrated skin, aside from increasing your intake of water and moisture-rich fruits and vegetables. Our Hyalu B5 Serum directly targets TEWL by drawing in moisture to re-plump and rehydrate your complexion, minimising loss of volume in dehydrated skin. This formula also minimises the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

MOISTURISER

Face moisturiser is where many skincare routines overlap, because all skin needs moisture. Our Toleriane Sensitive Facial Moisturiser will help seal in the hydration from your serum and the prebiotic formula can help support a the skin moisture barrier.

 

Looking for more information on which formulas and ingredients suit your skin concerns? Read our Skincare Ingredients Dictionary to help decipher product ingredient lists.

 

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