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Dry or Dehydrated Skin? Our top tips on both.


December 21, 2022

Brace yourselves — winter is coming. Dry and dehydrated skin tends to really rear its ugly head in our cold, long, long, long, (did we say long?), West Michigan winters. However, did you know that there is actually a difference between the two? Both skin issues are less than desirable for most, can be easily mistaken for one another, and be quite difficult to manage. So how do you figure out what to do? Have no fear. We're here to fill you in on everything that you need to know about dry and dehydrated skin. 


Dry skin is actually a skin type, not a skin condition like dehydration (don’t worry, we’ll explain that later). If you have “dry skin” it literally means that your skin naturally produces less oil than other skin types. People with dry skin are born this way, they tend to be dry all over, they may experience flaking, rough texture, sensitivity, and cracking. Some may even develop eczema and/or premature aging.

The first step in caring for naturally dry skin is to cleanse only with a gentle cream cleanser such as CeraVe® Hydrating Facial Cleanser or SkinBetter® Science Cleansing Gel. According to Esthetician, Jamey Bailey, “It’s important that people with a dry skin type are very careful about how they cleanse. Avoid using wash cloths or other abrasive means to clean your face. Dry skin is already lacking sufficient oils to maintain a healthy barrier. Using harsh implements will only serve to further strip the skin. Cleanse with your fingertips and pat, don't rub, with a towel to dry. If you need to remove eye makeup, I suggest using a trusty makeup wipe.”

We also suggest that you are picky about your moisturizing cream. Not all moisturizers are appropriate for dry skin types. (Mind blowing, right?) People with dry skin should look for products that contain ceramides, hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, and natural oils like jojoba. SkinBetter® Science Trio Rebalancing Moisture Treatment is one such cream that works to provide deep moisture and heal a compromised barrier. It can also be helpful to treat extra dry spots as needed with an occlusive such as Aquaphor® or Alastin® Soothe & Protect Recovery Balm


As previously mentioned, dehydrated skin is actually a skin condition. It differs from naturally dry skin in that it’s caused by a lack of water, not a lack of oil. Dehydrated skin can be characterized by a dull, lackluster appearance, tightness, sensitivity, congestion, redness, and pronounced fine lines. Here’s the kicker; any skin type can become dehydrated! It’s possible to have dry skin that is also dehydrated, oily skin that is dehydrated, and everything in between — YIKES! 

The key to dehydrated skin is identifying it as such, and not treating it as if it’s dry skin. Your skin may produce plenty of oil, but be lacking the amount of water it needs to stay healthy. Aesthetician, Jill Wierks, recommends that you “Start by drinking plenty of water and avoiding caffeine daily. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables such as watermelon and cucumber will also aid in hydration. Use products that contain hyaluronic acid, such as SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier or PCA Skin® Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum. Both of these products work to draw water into your skin, and help your skin maintain its own hyaluronic acid over time. Most HA molecules are actually too large to penetrate the skin, so it's important to note that not all hyaluronic acid products are worthwhile. If the molecules are not micronized or coated for proper delivery, they will just sit on top of the skin. This is one place that medically developed HA serums really shine. Finally, adding a cream such as SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore supports natural barrier repair and can improve overall radiance." Looking for a long-lasting solution to dehydrated skin? SKINVIVE™ by JUVÉDERM® is a hyaluronic acid filler provides smooth, plump skin without the worry of changing facial structure like other fillers. The HA blends smoothly and naturally underneath the skin, providing long lasting hydration and instant results for a healthier complexion.



Are you still struggling to understand if you have dry skin, dehydrated skin, or both? It may be time to schedule an appointment with an expert. A simple visit with a trained esthetician will help you to learn more about your skin type, determine the products that are best for you, and even discover skincare treatments that may speed up your results! 


*Pinterest quote- unknown author.