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What Are the Differences Between Dry and Dehydrated Skin?

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While the terms "dry" and "dehydrated" might sound interchangeable, dry skin and dehydrated skin are two different skin issues that require different treatments. Many people don't even realize that they have dehydrated skin because their face can also feel oily at the same time. Others may suspect that they have dry skin, but assume that moisturizer is all they need. With a little knowledge and the right products, you can identify and address the underlying reasons why your skin feels dry and tight instead of soft and hydrated.

What is Dry Skin?

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Dry skin isn't due to a simple lack of water in your skin or in your diet: it's a skin type caused by underlying genetic factors. Characterized by an underproduction of sebum, dry skin feels itchy and looks flaky. Because it's a skin type rather than a skin condition, dry skin affects people year round, but can often be worse in the winter. In fact people with dry skin can develop itchy skin symptoms at any time of the year that can lead to rashes, and increased itchiness and inflammation. Dry skin doesn't just occur on the face: it can occur in multiple areas of the body, resulting in flaking and an uncomfortable rubbing sensation.

How Do You Treat Dry Skin?

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Try some of these methods to treat your dry skin: Apply oil-rich emollient products like Nourish Oil or an oil-rich moisturizer like DN-24 Hydracrème to nourish skin and improve overall moisture retention. Add moisturizing overnight products to your skincare regimen. As you sleep, your body focuses on the repair and renewal process. Increased blood flow to the skin means that your nighttime skincare routine should support this natural renewal process by providing the skin with the nutrients and moisture needed to repair itself overnight. Use a humidifier during the dry fall and winter months to add moisture to otherwise dry indoor environments and help keep skin from getting even drier. For very dry skin, occlusive products that create a physical barrier over inflamed areas help to seal moisture into skin and prevent further water loss. Petroleum jelly is the most common occlusive ingredient in skincare, but occlusives also include ingredients like Lanolin, Silicone, and Wax. Dry skin is a permanent condition that you'll have to treat for the rest of your life. Fortunately, a moisturizing skin care regimen will help keep skin feeling more hydrated and nourished.

What is Dehydrated Skin?

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Dehydrated skin is a skin condition caused by external factors like environment, lifestyle, and stress. Unlike dry skin that is genetically predisposed to lack natural oils, those with dehydrated skin suffer from inadequate water retention as a result of lifestyle and environmental stressors. In fact dehydrated skin can often feel tight and itchy, and also be oily at the same time.

How Do You Treat Dehydrated Skin?

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These treatments may help to rehydrate your skin: Wash with a gentle cleanser and limit exfoliation to 1-2x/week or discontinue exfoliation altogether until skin sensitivity subsides. Over-cleansing and over-exfoliating are two of the most common causes of skin barrier disruption, which can lead to increasingly sensitized and inflamed skin. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen like Sun Therapè Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Lotion to keep the sun's UV radiation from damaging skin cells and ultimately drying out your skin. Apply products that contain humectants like Hyaluronic Acid or Glycerin to help bind water to skin without potentially clogging pores. Pharma-C Serum contains Sodium Hyaluronate, the salt form of Hyaluronic Acid that absorbs more readily than its more popular counterpart due to its lower molecular weight. Avoid or minimize caffeine and alcohol consumption. Both act as diuretics that cause the body to rid itself of extra fluids, which can result in decreased water content within the skin. Drink plenty of water and eat water-rich foods like celery, cucumber and watermelon. This is good for your whole body and will help with overall hydration, although you won't likely notice a huge improvement in skin unless you're extremely dehydrated. While dehydrated skin isn't a permanent condition, your skin can quickly lose water if your barrier is compromised, resulting in transepidermal water loss (TEWL) that leaves skin more sensitive and prone to irritation and inflammation. Adjust your regimen and lifestyle throughout the year to accommodate your skin's changing needs, as well as the different environmental stressors affecting it.

Where Can You Find the Right Products for Both?

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Visit the "Dry Skin" section on our website to find a variety of soothing, rehydrating products. Our selection includes cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers, oils, eye creams and masques that treat both dry and dehydrated skin. Get in touch with us if you need help choosing the right products for your skin type. With the right skincare regimen, you'll have hydrated skin that radiates throughout the year.