Dry. Dehydrated. Synonyms, right? Wrong!
Dry skin and dehydrated skin are not the same thing. Although they are related, there is a difference, and knowing which you have will make soothing and nourishing your skin much easier. (And if you think dry and/or dehydrated skin is safe from breakouts… nope.)
Dry skin is a skin type, like oily or sensitive. It is hereditary, and will probably be present your whole life (or most of it) and the ageing process will exacerbate it. Those with normal skin could also end up having dry skin as they get older. Dry skin is due to under-active sebaceous glands, and like all body processes, the glands slow down further with age. Having less oil means that the skin is less able to protect itself from the environment and has less ability to retain moisture (which makes it dehydrated, but hold on we’ll get to that.) Having less oil means that there are less cells in the uppermost layer of skin, leading to more visible fine lines and making skin wrinkle easier than oilier skin. The good news is that pores on dry skin are smaller, which means less likely to get clogged and to breakout. But, this is only true for true, technically dry skin. Read on.
It is very, very important to protect dry skin with sufficient skincare products. Our Neroli Midnight Oil (which can be worn during the day as well!) and our Grapefruit Cleanse + Hydrate Balm are excellent for dry skin. See our recommended ritual for dry skin here.
Dehydrated skin is a condition, and a very common one at that. “Dehydration” is something that is done to the skin, and is not a feature of the skin itself (as “dry” is). Dehydrated skin might not necessarily lack oil, but it lacks moisture. It will feel and look dry, scaly and possibly flaky. To see if your skin is dehydrated, check your nose and forehead: does it look like an extra, super thin layer of skin is sitting on top of the rest of your skin? Dehydration.
I’ve discovered that it doesn’t matter if dry air comes from a cold winter with radiator-scorched indoor air or from the desert; dry air is dry air. It searches out moisture and sucks it up regardless of where it comes from, including from your skin. For me, dry skin means not only a less youthful glow, but a sallower, overall less healthy look to my skin, PLUS I start breaking out, because the world is unjust. Dry skin is not just uncomfortable, but leads to wrinkles perhaps a little earlier than you’re comfortable with, so moisturizing, and keeping moisturized, is key.
Here’s how to battle dry skin.
The beauty industry is interesting. For the past year or so, I’ve heard countless women describe their skin type to me. They call themselves oily, dry, sensitive, prone to acne. I nod my head in solemn agreement, but I don’t always tend to actually agree with them. People, due to outside forces (which I’ll mention in a moment) like to over-simplify and pigeon-hole their skin type. “I have combination skin, it’s oily in the T zone” or “my skin is dry”. When I tell them I don’t really believe in “types”, that skin is constantly changing and reacting to the environment, lifestyle and health, I get a few raised eyebrows, as though I’m suggesting that their acne is an illusion or a figment of their imagination.