The difference between dry, genetically dry, and dehydrated skin

The difference between dry, genetically dry, and dehydrated skin

Dealing with Dry Skin?

Although dry skin and dehydrated skin sound like the same issue, they are different problems that require different approaches and different products. Dry skin occurs from a lack of oil in the skin where dehydrated skin is due to a lack of moisture or water in the skin. Dry skin can also be a result of over-stripping the skin by using harsh products or can be genetic in nature.

Dry Skin

Together with proteins & lipids, water gives skin its essential characteristics of softness, flexibility & elasticity. The outer layer of the skin contains sebum and sweat and serves to retain moisture in the skin.

Intrinsically dry skin can also be caused by a genetic deficiency in a substance called fillagrin or natural moisturizing factor. Natural moisturizing factor is made up of substances within the skin’s outermost layer that help to keep moisture in the skin. This is essentially your skin’s mini hydration system and together with the naturally occurring lipids in the skin, natural moisturizing factor works to keep the skin’s surface moist. Deficiencies with the fillagrin or NMF interfere with the production of natural oils that protect the skin’s outer layer. These deficiencies then allow water to evaporate from the skin.

Extrinsically dry skin is over stripping the skin. Foaming cleansers, which are made out of surfactants or products with alcohol and astringents, can strip the skin of its natural oils, which can leave the skin barrier dry and susceptible to irritation.

Dehydrated Skin

Where dry skin is caused from a lack of oil in the skin, dehydrated skin is due to a lack of moisture or water in the skin. The skin may contain the appropriate amounts of oil, but there is no moisture to keep the skin healthy. When the skin lacks water, it appears loose, more wrinkles, flaky, and red. Like dry skin, over cleansing the skin can also make the skin become dehydrated.

Ingredients for Hydration

Whether you have dry or dehydrated skin, avoid lathering cleansers and instead, pick gentle milky cleanser or even oil-based cleansers.

Although there is no “cure” for dry skin, there are things you can do to help. First, look for products that contain lipids such as ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids, which help prevent water evaporation by creating a healthy barrier.

When looking for products for dehydrated skin, look for skincare that helps to retain water and prevent water evaporation. Humectant products are critical for hydration. Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, urea, pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA), lactic acid, and sorbitol, are all examples of these ingredients. Occlusive ingredients are also essential for dehydrated skin and skin protection. These ingredients have natural water barrier effects and include shea butter, avocado, sunflower oil, cocoa butter, jojoba, and macadamia oil.


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