When we are looking at skin type a common mistake to make is to confuse dry skin for dehydrated skin and vis versa. Differentiating between the two is important when looking at treatment and changes to skincare routines. Dehydrated skin is very different to dry skin –to put it in basic terms dehydrated skin lacks water and dry skin lacks oil. Therefore skin can be dehydrated yet still be producing oil, although the production can fluctuate, whereas dry skin has little to no oil present. Essentially, you skin could be dehydrated, dry or even both so let’s take a look at some of the signs which will help us to recognise the difference.
Skin often becomes dehydrated as it ages, this is because sebaceous gland activity and the skins ability to regenerate lipids tends to decrease as we get older. Weather and environmental factors can also dehydrate our skin. One of the main concerns being exposure to the sun which cause moisture to evaporate from our skin. However, cold winds and even air conditioners can contribute to dehydration. A good way to tell if you have dehydrated skin is that it tends to look dull and feel tight, even when properly moisturized. Dehydrated skin can look very lacklustre and doesn’t ‘bounce back’ easily. It can also be far more prone to congestion so you may find outbreaks of acne and blackheads. Skin will generally soak up moisturisers, looking oily in patches and yet dry in other areas.
Good skin comes from within and good internal hydration is an essential first step towards healthy looking skin. While drinking water is vital for overall health, if your skin is already dehydrated it alone will not solve your problem. You need to ensure that you eat a varied and nutritious diet that includes plenty of Omega 3 and also supplement your diet with a high quality fish oil or Omega 3. Dehydrated skin is often a sign that your skins barrier function is impaired causing water from your skin is evaporating, resulting in dehydrated skin which is coarse to the touch. As long as you have an impaired barrier your skin will continue to lose water and become dehydrated it is a viscous circle. You need to commit to restoring your skins barrier function through high quality skincare that is suited to your individual skin needs, professional skin treatments that will work in the dermal layer of the skin to restore skin health and finally internally through supplementation.
A good starting point is to choose your cleanser wisely – use a gentle cleanser that does not leave your skin tight, dry or greasy such as CosMedix Purity Solution. Purity Solution removes excess oil, make-up and environmental impurities whilst also nourishing and hydrating. Avoid harsh exfoliates and choose a daily moisturiser which also hydrates such as CosMedix Hydrate+ which also protects from sun exposure.
When our skin is functioning normally it is coated in a thin layer of natural lipids that keep the skin sift and supple by locking in moisture. Dry skin occurs when something is done to strip away this protective layer – this can be something you may be doing to your skin or something environmental. Occasionally, a health condition or a genetic predisposition may be making your skin dry out. In fact the medical term for dry skin is Xerosis coming from the Greek work ‘Xero’ meaning ‘dry’ and ‘Osis’ meaning ‘disease’. Generally, the symptoms of dry skin include a feeling of skin tightness, especially after showing, skin that feels and looks rough, redness and slight to sever flaking, scaling or peeling. It is important to check with your GP if any of these symptoms become severe or you have an unusual outbreak of dry skin to ensure there is no underlying medical issue.
Winter is the most trying month for people who suffer from dry skin. If you do suffer it is important to firstly check to make sure it is not something you are using which is aggravating the problem. The most common culprit is our moisturising lotions and creams. You will need to look for a product which helps to support your skins natural moisturising factor (NMF) such as CosMedix Affirm Antioxidant Firming Serum. This serum penetrates deep into the skin allowing it to breath instead of creating a barrier which many other lotions and creams will do. A mild but effect cleanser is also an essential prerequisite to skin care for dry skin conditions. CosMedix Benefit Clean is a multi-purpose gentle cleanser which is suitable for dry and hypersensitive skin. It is free from irritating surfactants such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) so it cleanses without compromising your skins barrier function.
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