It’s one of the most searched for skincare phrases online, “Is my skin dry or dehydrated?”, and for good reason too, especially with the extremely cold temperatures we’ve been experiencing this winter.
“While we tend to use the terms dry skin and dehydrated skin interchangeably, they’re actually distinctly different from one another,” explains Clere skincare brand manager, Su-Marie Annandale.
Dry skin is a skin type, like oily or combination skin, where the complexion lacks oils, or lipids, so it takes on a more flaky, dry appearance. If you have dry skin, you may also notice your skin develops a scaly appearance, white flakes, or irritation and an increased incidence of psoriasis, eczema, or dermatitis.
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Dehydrated skin on the other hand is a skin condition that occurs when there’s a lack of water in the skin. This can happen to anyone, regardless of skin type — people with oily or combination skin can experience dehydration. Dehydrated skin typically looks dull and can show premature signs of ageing, like surface wrinkles and loss of elasticity. You may also notice darker circles under your eyes or a general tired eye appearance, itchiness, dullness and more sensitive fine lines and wrinkles.
Annandale says a great way to tell if your skin is dehydrated is to do the pinch test.
“While this test isn’t definitive, it’s a good way to start thinking about your skin from the inside out”:
- Pinch a small amount of skin on your cheek, abdomen, chest, or the back of your hand and hold for a few seconds.
- If your skin snaps back, it’s likely not dehydrated.
- If it takes a few moments to bounce back, it’s likely dehydrated.
- Repeat in other areas if you’d like.
So, what does dry skin and dehydrated skin need?
For dry skin, keep on moisturising. Frequent moisturising helps dry skin retain water and maintain a proper level of hydration. The key to addressing dry skin is finding products that help you lock in moisture, especially overnight. Opt for thicker, moisturising creams, particularly in winter. Annandale says that for dry skin you can also try using a humidifier for added moisture.
For dehydrated skin, oral hydration is a must because it’s adding water into your complexion from the inside. You can also incorporate water-rich foods into your diet, such as watermelon, strawberries, cucumber, and celery. Another easy tip? Carry around a water mist, like rose water.
“If you suffer from dehydrated skin, you want to opt for products that contain humectants. Humectants, such as Glycerine, an ingredient present in all of our formulations, help to reduce water loss from the skin,” concludes Annandale.