If you’ve ever had skin that looks vaguely parchment like, had small patches of flakiness on your face, or just had the general sense that your skin feels taut and a bit, well, uncomfortable at certain times of the day, you’ve probably made the assumption that you have dry skin.
The truth is though that not all flaky, itchy and tight skin is dry – some skins with all of these issues are actually dehydrated! Confused?! Don’t panic! Here’s how to tell if your skin is dry or dehydrated…
Here’s the lowdown: As a general rule, dry skin is a skin type, often present from birth and occurs when your skin lacks oil. By contrast, dehydrated skin lacks water– it’s perfectly possible to have an oily skin type and have dehydrated skin at the same time. Tricky huh?
Is your skin dry or dehydrated? Check out these characteristics:
Dry Skin Characteristics:
- Often feels dry all over including on your body and scalp
- Tends to show fine lines early- and they don’t come and go
- Has small pores
- Is often sensitive
Dehydrated Skin characteristics:
- Can be experienced by anyone, whatever their skin type
- May experience breakouts and can have large or small pores
- Fine lines can appear to come and go as skin becomes more/less dehydrated
- Comes and goes depending on diet, product use, weather, environment, air conditioning etc.
Dehydrated And Dry Skin characteristics:
Worked it out? Once you’ve decided whether your skin is dry or dehydrated (or both!) you need to treat it according to its type. Treating oily, dehydrated skin as if it were dry skin could actually make you break out and skin that needs oil won’t benefit from water based moisturisers.
If your skin is dry look for products that add oil to the skin; nourishing moisturisers, facial oils and cream or balm cleansers work best. Choose body oils and rich moisturisers for the body too if the skin on your body is dry and uncomfortable.
For dehydrated skins look for moisturisers and serums labelled as hydrating; products containing hyaluronic acid are particularly good. Avoid treating dehydrated skin with very oily moisturisers unless your skin is also dry- too much oil will encourage breakouts, not resolve the dehydration.