’Tis the season for cold weather, indoor heat, and overindulging in food and alcohol. It’s a fun time of year, yes, but also murder on your easily dehydrated skin. Dryness and dehydration are particularly problematic at this time of year, which is just one reason why a trip to your favorite skincare professional is more important than ever. They will be able to tell you exactly why your skin is looking and feeling the way it is, and how best to address your particular needs.
Dry Skin vs. Dehydrated Skin – There’s A Difference?
There are many misconceptions about dehydration and dryness, the most common being that they are the same thing. Definitely not: dry skin is lacking in oil production, with characteristics such as small pores, rough patches, flakiness, wrinkles, and inflammation. Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, signifies water deficiency. If your skin feels tight and you notice fine lines, or tiny triangular-shaped wrinkles, then chances are that lack of water, not oil, is to blame.
While dryness can be found in people of any age, it is more commonly found in aging skin. Dehydration can be found in skin of any age, and in my experience, almost everyone suffers from it to some degree.
Another common misconception is that people with oily skin won’t get dehydrated. In fact, dehydration is very common in those with oilier skin types, particularly those with acne, since they will often use harsh products that strip the skin of water. Dehydrated oily skin is not an uncommon occurrence, but is very often left untreated.
Treating Dehydration Is Not The Same As Treating Dryness
This is where the correct skin diagnosis is key. Before you go slathering on the thickest, oiliest moisturizer you can find in an effort to restore your skin to it pre-winterized condition, get your face analyzed first! What is good for one condition is definitely not the way to go for there other.
If you are suffering from dry skin, the lipid (fat) barrier needs to be restored, and it will benefit from ingredients such as ceramides, shea butter and jojoba; plus sweet almond, safflower, grape, and argan oils.These plant-derived oils can also provide a protective barrier against environmental damage and boost elasticity that is missing in dry skin.
If your skin is dehydrated but still producing sufficient oil, that occlusive skin cream, while likely giving you some temporary relief, could very likely block your pores and cause breakouts, giving you yet another problem to address in the future. A better alternative for dehydrated skin is a humectant such as sodium PCA, glycerin, aloe vera, or hyaluronic acid. My personal favorite, and something I use on every single one of my clients, is hylaluronic acid, a naturally occurring molecule that holds up to 6,000 times its molecular weight in water. It literally absorbs moisture from the environment and binds it to your skin.
For most people, hydration is more important than moisturizing. Using a mild cleanser, followed by a toner, a hydrating serum and then a moisturizer is a great daily regimen in between visits to your facialist. If your skin is dry, adding a face serum will also help. And of course, always add a sunscreen during the day, to ward off pigmentation, wrinkles and skin cancer.
A visit to your favorite skincare professional is always a the best idea to kick-start the process of getting your skin re-hydrated and glowing. An expert analysis, followed by professional-grade products, will enliven even the most weather-beaten skin. And the side benefit of a relaxing treatment at this hectic time of year can’t be overstated!