Is your skin dehydrated or dry?

What is dry skin?

Dry skin, as a skin type is known as alipidic skin. This means the skin does not produce much oil. If your skin doesn’t retain moisture, it becomes dry.

How do you recognise dry skin?

Pores are medium to small and often even nearly invisible which usually results in a smoother texture. Follicles don’t have a chance to dilate and stretch pores because there isn’t as much oil production. Oily skin types have to use retinol to achieve smaller-looking pores.


There is minimal to no acne as oil is one of the main causes of blemishes.

Skin feels tight and dry, and appears rough and flaky. And the skin can take on a dull or ashy look. Dry skin also has fine lines and wrinkles that are pronounced.  Dry skin means the skin barrier is compromised, and that’s why you might see an increase in sensitivity. Inflammation causes a chain of biochemical reactions that lead to collagen and elastin breakdown. Keeping skin irritation to a minimum is essential.

What causes dry skin?

Genetics: Dryness, unlike dehydration, is something you’re born with.

Age: The skin has a harder time retaining moisture, as you get older.

Lifestyle: Airplane travel, alcohol consumption, and antihistamines taken for allergies are big contributors.

Environment: This can include climate, heaters, and air conditioning units.

Prolonged exposure to the sun and heat

Overly drying skincare products such as bar soaps, high-foaming cleansers, and prescription retinoids

Hormones: Oestrogen, which normally retains water in the dermis for a plump, moist look, naturally diminishes with age. The skin deflates and wrinkles become more pronounced.


How can you treat dry skin?

The best way is to use a skincare routine designed for dry skin. A routine, which includes gentle exfoliants to smooth away the dry cells leading to a rough texture, the right type of moisturiser or oil with protectants and emollients to create a barrier preventing moisture loss.

Wash your face with mild cleansing lotions formulated for dry skin and avoids using bar soap or harsh foaming cleansers.

After washing your face, never leave the skin bare for more than 60 seconds, as it will help prevent loss of moisture. You should always immediately apply your next product.

Apply a moisturising serum before your moisturiser to provide an additional layer of protection.

Finally, layer oil on top of your moisturiser and use retinol very carefully. 



What Exactly is Dehydrated Skin?

Dehydrated skin is skin which lacks water content.

If you get breakouts but your skin seems dry, it is simply dehydrated not dry. Dehydration is common in oily to combination skin and is often a direct result of using overly harsh products.

How to recognise dehydrated skin?

Your skin feels tight and easily forms fine lines due to lack of water in surface cells. It may feel tight one day and normal the next day. If you are regularly using drying products or regularly over-exfoliating then it will feel tight consistently.

Causes for dehydrated skin includes lifestyle such as air travel and alcohol consumption as well as age, which slows down cell cycle significantly. Another culprit is overly drying skin care products such as bar soaps, high-foaming cleansers, and prescription retinoids.


How to treat dehydrated skin?

The best way is to use a skincare routine designed for keeping moisture in the skin. This should include gentle exfoliators to smooth away the surface dehydrated cells that can contribute to skin tightness.

Use a moisturiser containing humectants with ingredients like glycerine, sodium hyaluronate, sodium PCA, sorbitol, allantoin and algae. Humectants are good to draw water from the second layer of skin into the outer layer. Use alcohol-free toners containing humectants. 

After cleansing, never leave the skin bare for more than 60 seconds to prevent moisture evaporation. You must immediately apply your next products which should be a moisturising toner


Apply a serum underneath your moisturiser for a better hydration.

Do not use exfoliants and scrubs too often and too much as they can cause dehydration and inflammation.

Choose sulphate-free cleansing gels as it prevents unnecessary dehydration.

When the skin is dry or dehydrated, it’s usually more sensitive.

Because dry skin does not retain water easily, you need to use oil in order to properly retain water.

Choose your moisturiser wisely : moisturisers are comprised of emollients and hydrators, or humectants. Emollients keep moisture in the skin, and hydrators attract water to the skin. All moisturisers contain a mixture of both. If your skin is on the oily side, you should choose a light lotion that contains more humectants and fewer emollients. But if your skin does not produce oil, then you need a richer cream with more emollients. These will act as a seal and protect the skin from water loss.