Is Your Skin Dry or Dehydrated?

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The most common question people ask me is about dry skin and how to fix it. The most common answer I have for them is “It depends”. Helpful, aren’t I? The reason there’s no one answer is because people often confuse dry skin with dehydrated skin and those are two separate conditions with two different methods of combating.

So, what is dry skin?

Dry skin has to do with your body’s natural oil production. That layer of oil helps keep valuable moisture in the skin while keeping environmental stresses off the skin. Oil production naturally lessens with age, so those of us who are *mature* need to help nature maintain that oil barrier. Using a face oil as part of your skincare routine will give it a great boost.

Dry skin may appear tight, dull, and give the appearance of premature aging. Dry skin is the result of simply not being protected by your natural oil layer which allows any moisture your skin may have to evaporate away. All that water you’re drinking (good job!!) just isn’t staying in your skin.

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Your dry skin may be caused by genetics, or by your current skin care routine. Using powder foundation, for example, may absorb all the oil on your skin leaving it exposed and dry. Other products, like harsh cleansers, will actively strip away oils. Ironically, using these products to reduce an oily appearance of the skin may actually cause over-production of oils – especially for people with acne issues. Certain medications may also have a drying effect on your skin.

What is dehydrated skin?

Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, has to do with the water content in your skin. Well hydrated skin will appear smooth, plump, and “glowy”. I made up that word, but you know what I mean! Dehydrated skin will appear “crepey” and in extreme cases may be scaly (like my legs in winter!!) Long term dehydration can result in deeper wrinkles and sagging skin.

Causes of dehydrated skin include lifestyle choices such as smoking, salt intake, use of caffeine, medication, etc., and environmental factors such as indoor heating/cooling, sun exposure, and seasonal changes. Even though drinking water is hugely important to dehydrated skin, it can’t fight dehydration on its own.

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The best approach to dry or dehydrated skin is to identify the real culprit and give your skin the help it needs to function properly. This may mean changes in lifestyle – maybe quit or cut back on smoking, and changes in environment – sunblock! Also keep in mind that most people aren’t one or the other, but rather a combination of both dry and dehydrated.

What’s a girl to do?

Help your skin out by maintaining a healthy oil barrier, feed your skin (and your entire body) with healthy whole foods, drink your water, and moderate your exposure to environmental skin stressors. Doing so will allow your skin to balance and restore itself to its natural state of healthy beauty.