The difference between dry and dehydrated skin and how to fix both

Hands up, who knows the difference between dry and dehydrated skin?

You, in the back. Nope, they’re certainly NOT the same, quite different in fact.

Anyone else?

Hmmmm, silence, that’s what I thought. ‘Twould appear you are all as confused as most of the general population is on this particular matter.

Ok, I’ll try my best to explain….but before I do, it probably doesn’t hurt to mention that once you can distinguish between dry or dehydrated skin, you'll be in a much better position to make an informed decision regarding what products are best for your skin should you fall into either category ever again. Winning!

Most of us are familiar with the term skin type, where there are a total of five different skin-types, being: normal, combination, oily, sensitive and dry skin. Each skin type has its own set of characteristics and needs, and requires its own set of conditions and products – after all you wouldn’t treat your children with exactly the same parenting-style would you? No, you would acknowledge the differences in each child, and do your best to care for their individual needs.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand; what actually is dry skin?

Dry skin is characterised by a lack of skin lipids or oils within the skin that results in rough or flaky-looking skin. It can be caused by a myriad of different things including genetics, poor health or most commonly a hormone imbalance commencing around the age of 40 when oestrogen levels fall and we produce less sebum, leaving the skin looking, well, dry!

For interest sakes, there are 2 kinds of lipids within our skin: epidermal (ceramides and fatty acids) and sebaceous (triglycerides, wax esters, and squalene). For healthy, glowing skin, we need both, where lipids are essential to retain moisture and build a strong barrier to protect the skin from the environment.

Dehydrated skin on the other hand is a skin condition, much like congestion, eczema or rosacea. Dehydrated skin occurs because the top layer of skin lacks water, and is a condition characterised by tightness and sensitivity, leading to a dull complexion.

Interestingly, even an oily skin type can suffer from dehydration.

Dehydrated skin can be brought on by environmental factors such as air conditioning, and practices such as chemical exfoliation, not drinking enough water or conversely drinking too much caffeine.

Thankfully by making a few quick and easy tweaks to your lifestyle and skincare routine you can make significant improvements if you are suffering from either dry or dehydrated skin, as follows:

Step 1: Diagnose

If you’re unsure whether your skin is dry or dehydrated perhaps start with hydrating internally by simply having a few glasses of water, and after say an hour lightly pinch your cheek to check whether your skin holds its shape. If it wrinkles easily or shows signs of lines where you don’t usually see lines, your skin is very likely dehydrated. Other common signs can be lots of congestion and inflammation.

Dry skin on the other hand tends to feel itchy, uncomfortable and have a wrinkled and even loose texture. It’s a condition you will likely have been gifted with genetically and thus will have to manage most of your life. As oestrogen levels fall, it tends to get worse - yay!

Step 2: Treatment

There are some quick and easy methods to treat both conditions.

For dehydrated skin, apart from keeping hydrated from the inside out, here are some fantastic skincare products that work wonders:

  1. Firstly, start with a gentle exfoliation to help remove any build-up of dead skin cells to clear the way for follow-on products; the Indira Organics Exfoliating Cream is designed to gently manually exfoliate whilst maintaining the skin’s lipid barrier.
  2. Next add a hydrating serum to your routine such as the Indira Organics Hydrating Serum which incorporates high levels of hyaluronic acid to help retain water in the skin, and a highly effective botanical active which is clinically proven to increase hydration by 128% in 30 days.
  3. Shield your skin from the environment by locking in the moisture with a hydrating moisturiser such the Indira Organics Revitalising Moisturiser. This gorgeous cream contains a blend of super hydrating oils, replenishing aloe vera, and fabulous extracts such as Green Tea and Kakadu Plum to support collagen health.
  4. Finally, products such as our Indira Organics Toning Mist are also amazing at hydrating the skin, offering either a quick pick-me-up or when added before your serum, can tremendously boost hydration.

For dry skin, start with boosting your diet with foods high in essential fatty acids such as nuts and avocados. In addition, you can support your lipid barrier topically, through these wonderful skincare products:

  1. As with dehydrated skin, start with a gentle exfoliation to help remove any build-up of dead skin cells to clear the way for follow on products; the Indira Organics Exfoliating Cream is designed to gently manually exfoliate which maintaining the lipid barrier.
  2. Next take time to gently massage a few drops of precious oils into your skin. If your skin is particularly dry, this step is important to follow both day and night. All of the Indira Organics Oils contain a wonderful blend of nourishing organic oils to feed your skin however our Indira Organics Rich Repair Oil is wonderfully high in oleic acid to strengthen, protect and repair your skin’s lipid barrier.
  3. Lock in the goodness of your oil with our Indira Organics Rich Nurturing Moisturiser which has a huge dose of gorgeously hydrating butters and age-defying Rose Otto Oil. Most importantly however this beautiful moisturiser provides an environmental barrier to help dry skin to better maintain a perfect balance of hydration and lipids for truly glowing skin..

One final tip is to adjust your routine according to your environment. Winter brings with it the harsh cold and low humidity – the result? Cold air tighten pores reduce circulation and reduce our natural sebum production. Plus hot showers and heating also contribute to skin dehydration which is why it’s so important to create a winter-specific regimen.

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