When it comes to the skin, subtle differences do matter. Is your skin dry? Dehydrated? Do these terms just both refer to thirst? Will drinking water help? To get to a happy balance in your skin, and have steady results, it’s important to diagnose the problem right.
Signs of Dry Skin
- Dry skin describes skin that is low in natural oils or skin-protecting sebum. It’s a temporary state, as well as a skin type— a consistent tendency of your skin’s sebaceous glands to produce less oil.
- Pores are small-to-medium sized. For those with a dry skin type, there is less oil production, and the follicles don’t have as much of a chance to dilate and stretch.
- Minimal breakouts. With a dry skin type, breakouts aren’t impossible; but often, they’re limited to a few spots on the face or body and might occur only in times of stress. This indicates minimal active oil production in your skin.
- Roughness, flaking, and absent itching. Dry skin can manifest as white flakiness, in mild cases, and riverbed cracks, in serious cases. If you find yourself rubbing or tapping at your skin regularly without thinking about it, and leaving little streaks, it’s often a sign that the skin is a bit dry and thus prone to discomfort.
- Increase in sensitivity. With less of a skin barrier, inflammation comes more easily, and can lead to collagen and elastin breakdown.
To treat dry skin, plant-based ingredients that have occlusive and emollient properties are effective. Occlusives, such as waxes, create a physical barrier on the skin to prevent trans-epidermal water loss and seal in hydration. Emollients moisturize and soften the skin. Emollient plant-based actives (butters, oils, esters, lipids and fatty acids) therapeutically keep the skin supple, and decrease inflammation, so the skin feels more comfortable or less itchy.
Signs of Dehydrated Skin
Dehydration, in the context of skincare, is the same as dehydration of the body. Dehydrated skin lacks water. Systemically speaking, it means that the body is losing more water than it is is taking in.
- Skin feels tight. A lack of water in surface cells leads to the skin feeling tight; not in that healthy, pert way, but as if it’s drawn too thinly over the body. Unlike dry skin, which can be a consistent skin type, dehydrated skin isn’t always prolonged. The tight sensation can change day by day.
- Fine lines. This has also been described as fine, tiny, triangular lines or a crisscross pattern. Press a finger firmly to your forehead or cheek, move it in tiny circles. While doing this, pay attention to the skin’s texture.
- Dull, listless skin. When water is lacking, the skin lacks a bounce. Those lines from your pillow may take longer to fade in the morning. Shadows appear more prominent, and under-eye bags can seem to darken.
Treatment for dehydrated skin is both internal and external. Drink enough water on a regular basis and reduce consuming diuretics like caffeine, which cause you to purge liquids from your body. Next, choose humectant botanicals: natural ingredients that help feed and retain moisture to the skin. In a formulation, humectant ingredients rapidly absorb into the body to ‘plump’ up a dull and dehydrated appearance. Common examples include aloe vera and glycerin.
Stephens, C., Patel, R., & Marks, J. (n.d.). Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin: 8 Traits to Help You Tell the Difference. Healthline. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/dry-vs-dehydrated