Skincare manufacturers don’t help people’s confusion of these two differing skin conditions by frequently lumping them together and giving the impression that they are the same thing.
The two, however, have totally different causes mechanically within the skin it’s self. They also occur in the population at vastly different rates. Once you know the difference, they are a lot easier to care for and de-hydration can even be completely resolved with the right products.
What Is Dry Skin?
Dry skin is a skin condition caused by a lack of natural fats and oils within the skin. The skin does not produce enough natural oils to lubricate and protect its self, the condition does not vary throughout the year however cold weather extremes, wind and sun exposure may exacerbate the problem and make things more noticeable and even painful. Remember, how much oil our skin produces is mostly genetic.
Examples of external causes are things such as low-fat or non-fat diets which can deprive our skin (and brains!) of essential fatty acids which protect against water loss and keep skin supple. Sun damage over the course of time can slowly damage the skin leading to dryness.
What Is De-Hydrated Skin?
De-hydration is a concern caused by a lack of water within the skin. All skin types, even oily skin, can experience dehydration as dehydration is a lack of water in the skin. De-hydrated skins still produce their regular amount of oil but but even an oily skin can appear flaky and even feel tight like dry skin when de-hydrated, fine lines will appear deeper and more pronounced. The condition can fluctuate seasonally or depending on various other external factors. Most of the modern population suffer with some level of de-hydrated skin as a result of lifestyle.
Environmental causes of de-hydrated skin include pollution, central heating and air-conditioning, crash dieting, smoking, alcohol consumption, using incorrect skin care products and of course generally not drinking enough fluid to keep the whole body hydrated.
How Can I Tell Which I Have?
If your skin has a natural oil (sebum) film sitting on the surface at all the chances are you are an oily or combination skin type rather than simply dry. Dry skin is the least common skin type. If you have no or very little oil present at any time of day and only tiny little pores you probably have dry skin. Most people have combination skin with some areas being oiler than others, usually the forehead, nose and chin. Oily skin has larger more visible pores as they are more active and may require mattifying make-up products.
I hope this helps some of you discern which of the two problems you might have so that you can be more informed when choosing products. If you have dry skin my favourite product is Trilogy Rosehip oil, it’s truly amazing stuff. For dehydrated skins a good alcohol free toner with a humectant is a must and hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient to look out for as it binds to water. Do post in the comments if you have any questions,