Dry or dehydrated skin: what’s the difference?

When we consider our skin type, dry and dehydrated are often lumped in together as the same category. It happens to be a common misconception that people make in thinking that the two terms are interchangeable. In actual fact, dry skin and dehydrated skin are two very different things. So, which one are you? It all boils down to the definition; dry skin is a lack of sebum production that stems from genetics and age. Dehydration, on the other hand, has nothing to with oil production and everything to do with a lack of water. Because of this, dry skin is considered a skin type whereas dehydrated skin is a skin concern. Dry skin is a lack of oil. Dehydrated skin is a lack of water. Once we start to recognise the difference, it becomes easier to determine which is happening to our own skin and, therefore, how to go about correcting the issue. What are the tell-tale signs of dehydrated skin? The first thing you may notice is that dehydrated skin can come and go depending on external factors such as the climate, season and activities you are partaking in. It can also be a result of your diet and/or current skincare regime. These factors play a part in the level of hydration in your skin and can be the reason these levels fluctuate. On the other hand, dry skin does not vary. It will always have little to no oil production. Whilst some external factors can sometimes worsen the condition of the skin, it is classified as dry regardless of external factors. Furthermore, dehydrated skin can occur regardless of your oil production meaning people with oily skin can (and do) also experience dehydration. In fact, when our skin suffers from dehydration, it can trigger excess oil production to make up for the lack of water. This can, in turn, lead to congestion and possible breakouts which we try and treat with harsh and stripping products – leading us back to square one! Dehydrated skin can often feel oily and tight at the same time. It can experience heightened sensitivities as well as itchiness and flakiness. Dehydrated skin generally looks tired and lacklustre with enhanced fine lines and wrinkles. What causes dehydrated skin? Skin Products One of the primary causes of skin dehydration is using the wrong products. Harsh ingredients such as denatured alcohol, retinol, menthol and fragrance can strip the skin of its necessary moisture barrier. It not only draws hydration out but leaves skin weakened and unable to retain its moisture. Furthermore, harsh scrubbing and exfoliating can almost lead to dehydration. That is why griffin+row products use only natural and nourishing ingredients that enrich our skin. Environment The environment we live in can play a huge role in the level of hydration in our skin. Air humidity levels determine how much moisture is drawn from our skin. In summer (when humidity levels are higher) we notice less dryness and flakiness. In winter, as the level of moisture in the air drops, hydration can be drawn from our own skin. This can be exacerbated with climate controlled environments such as air conditioning and heating. If your skin is exposed to these environments regularly it can lead to excessive amounts of water being zapped out of our skin. Lifestyle The lifestyle we lead is another factor in the hydration levels of our skin. Those who regularly consume high amounts of alcohol and/or caffeine may notice it takes its toll on their skin. Furthermore, dietary choices have a powerful impact on our skin’s ability to receive and retain moisture. Fresh, wholesome foods that contain plenty of water content and essential fatty acids are crucial for our skin to function at its optimal level. So how do you fix dehydrated skin? The upside of having dehydrated skin is that it doesn’t need to stay that way. Unlike dry skin, which is a skin type you are often born with, dehydrated skin is a concern which occurs throughout life and can be treated. First and foremost, it’s important to be kind to your skin. It is in a weakened state and needs nourishment and love. Begin by assessing whether your environment might be playing a factor. Does the condition of your skin worsen at a particular time of year or after you complete a certain activity (e.g. swimming)? If you find a correlation between your skin and its environment, you can start to take steps in counteracting them. If you work in a climate controlled office, consider keeping a humidifier at your desk to maintain moisture levels in the air. If you regularly work out, ensure you rinse any perspiration from your face and replenish skin quickly with a hydrating product such as the griffin+row Hydration mist and Nourish cream. Consider the foods you eat and opt for fruit and vegetables which have a high water content such as cucumber and watermelon. Most importantly, it’s time to assess your skin care regime and remove any products which might be stripping and unnecessarily harsh for your skin. Your skin is the last organ to receive nutrients from the food and drink we consume, so any hydration we hope to get from drinking water will reach our skin last. This makes it all the more important to replenish our skin from the outside in using topical products! Here at griffin+row, we tackle hydration head on with two important steps within our five step routine. First, we use Hydrate – a spray which focuses on adding that much-needed hydration back to dehydrated skin. We then follow with Nourish – a moisturising cream which locks in our Hydration and protects from any external factors which try to draw moisture out of our skin. Our range also features a replenishing cleanser and gentle exfoliating cloth which you can use morning and night to ensure the removal of dirt, grime and flaky skin without any danger of stripping or damaging the skin. Visit our shop to take a look at our products. Dehydrated skin is a common concern that goes untreated by many. If you feel like you may have some of the key signs of dehydration, follow the steps above and start to notice a difference. If you are concerned or unsure of your skin type or condition, always seek the guidance of a professional and book in for a skin consultation.