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Dry skin versus dehydrated skin, what are the differences?

Is this how you feel without your lotion?
Is this how you feel without your lotion?

I was recently told that I had dehydrated skin. I have always assumed I have dry skin (especially when I lived in Denver, Colorado) but that may not me the case. So I've been doing some research and wanted to pass along what I have learned.

  • Dry skin​ - Dry skin is primarily a skin type. This means it is an ongoing situation that the individual must treat appropriately and continually. It can be caused genetically or from underlying conditions such as an underactive thyroid or a hormone imbalance. It is missing the necessary oils that the skin typically requires.
  • Dehydrated skin - Dehydrated skin is primarily a skin condition. This means it is a temporary circumstance, possibly caused by overaggressive cleansing or weather conditions) that can be treated and will usually subside. It is missing the necessary water that keeps the skin hydrated.

Unfortunately, many times these conditions both share very similar symptoms, making it difficult to determine which one you may actually be experiencing. If you end up using products for the incorrect situation, you could make the symptoms worse. For example, if your skin is simply dehydrated instead of dry and you attempt to treat it with heavy moisturizers, you may end up adding acne into the flakiness and tightness.

The easiest way to determine which one you have is to track whether you get shiny in the T-zone by a certain time of day. If you do experience this in conjunction with the tightness of dryness, you have dehydration.

Dry skin should be treated with creamy cleansers, non-abrasive exfoliants, and rich moisturizers. Dehydrated skin should be treated with lighter products and water-based moisturizers.

I hope this helps! I know looking into it will help me make better decisions with my own skincare. I would love to hear how you have treated either condition and what sort of products you use for your regimen.

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