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Dry v/s Dehydrated Skin. What’s The Difference?

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Dr Nishita Ranka

Inputs by Dr. Nishita Ranka Internationally acclaimed dermatologist, Medical Director & Founder of Dr. Nishita'a Clinic for Skin, Hair & Aesthetics

Dry skin and dehydrated skin are both common skincare conditions that can occur in people of all ages. While the two conditions may look and feel similar, they are very different. Dry skin is caused by a lack of oil production, while dehydration is caused by a lack of water in the skin. Understanding the difference between these two conditions is essential to finding the right treatment and achieving healthy, glowing skin. In this article, we will discuss the differences between dryness and dehydration, as well as how to identify them and treat them effectively.

Dry skin is a skin type that doesn't produce enough oils to keep your skin moisturised and protect it from the environment.  Whereas dehydrated skin lacks water and moisture in the uppermost layer of the skin. The loss in water can disrupt the skin’s barrier and can cause your skin to feel itchy, tight and uncomfortable. Dehydrated skin can happen to varying skin types: oily, normal, combination and acne-prone.

How to identify if your skin is dry or dehydrated?

The easiest way to tell if your skin is dehydrated is if you pinch your cheek or the back of your hand and it wrinkles with slight pressure instead of bouncing back. Dehydrated skin will also appear dull and feel tight. On the other hand, dry skin is characterised by lack of oil. So, think flaky, rough and itchy skin. It’s vital to understand if your skin is dehydrated or dry, as your choice of moisturisers would depend on it.

How to treat dry and dehydrated skin?

If you have dry skin then stick to using cream-based and oil-based skincare products to tackle this condition. If you think your skin is dehydrated, then stick to using humectants that will attract moisture to your skin. You should steer clear from products that strip the skin of water. Look for ingredients like squalane, ceramides and peptides that will aid in hydrating your skin, maintaining your skin health, improving your skin barrier and calming inflammation.

To combat dry skin incorporate a moisturising cleanser, sunscreen deemed fit for the pertinent skin type. You may look for ingredients like HA and paraffin that give your skin the adequate amount of hydration, round the clock.

For dehydrated skin, use formulations that will help repair the marred acid mantle while also dwindling episodes of inflammation. Usage of soothing ingredients like Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, Avocado Oil and Olive Oil along with ceramides would be recommended. If you are grappling with dehydrated skin it is advisable to steer clear of actives, from time to time. Case in point:If you have a combination or oily skin type (generally) which is dehydrated at the moment — directing efforts towards treating the skin barrier should take precedence over your regular administration of active-imbued skincare.

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