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What’s the difference between Dry or Dehydrated skin?

women with dry cracked mud on skin to show dry skin condition W

What’s the difference between dry or dehydrated skin? We all know that water = hydration right? But if this is the case, why isn’t everyone walking around with glowing, plumped-up skin? Because when it comes to skincare it is slightly more complicated than that… 

Usually dry, dehydrated, hydrated and moisturised are terms that are frequently used interchangeably but they are vastly different from each other. It IS confusing, I will give you that, but understanding these subtle differences could very well set you on your way to replenish your skin to its former glory. 

Let’s start with the basic rundown. 

Dry vs Dehydrated Skin

Dry skin is a skin type. Typically, the skin will lack lipids and oils to keep itself moisturised and will result in a flaky and dry texture. Here are a few signs that signals you may have dry skin:

  • Scaly appearance 
  • Irritation or redness
  • White flakes
  • Increased instances of dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis
flower in dry cracked mud

Whereas dehydrated skin lacks water. Anyone can have this issue, even the ones with an oily or normal skin type. A prolonged dehydrated bout can leave the skin looking dull and can begin showing signs of premature ageing, including loss of elasticity and wrinkles. Here are a few signs:

  • Itchiness
  • Tired eyes or dark under-eye circles
  • Sensitive wrinkles and fine lines 
  • Dullness 

A great test is to pinch your skin at various body parts. If the skin takes time to spring back into its original shape and is wrinkling under the gentle pressure, then you have some parched cells, desperate for water. 

Ingredients Best to Combat Dry and/or Dehydrated Skin 

The following are some of the best ingredients to lock in moisture into the skin:

  • Occlusives such as cocoa butter, waxes, many plant oils and d-panthenol (pro vitamin B5) work by forming a protective layer on the surface of your skin and create a barrier to prevent moisture loss. A process that’s often called TWEL (trans-epidermal-water-loss).
  • Humectants: Hyaluronic acid, honey, glycerine/glycerol extracts and allantoin are all are water-loving ingredients that draw moisture into the top layer of skin.
  • Emollients are actually moisturising agents that soften and soothe skin. Whilst there’s lots of cross overs between emollients, humectants and occlusives, particular ingredients in this category include some of the heavier fats and oils such as coconut oil and shea butter but also ingredients such as aloe vera and lanolin. We don’t use lanolin in our products as many people are sensitive to it but if your skin can handle it, it’s amazing stuff (just ask any shepherdess!).

A great test is to pinch your skin at various body parts. If the skin takes time to spring back into its original shape and is wrinkling under the gentle pressure, then you have some parched cells, desperate for water. 

How to look after each skin type?

daily defender moisturiser for dry or dehydrated skin

For Dry Skin – A thicker, emollient moisturiser will work best for a dry skin type and help lock the moisture in. Occlusive agents work best for this skin type too; you will also benefit from incorporating shea butter, ceramides, and phytoactive plant oils.  Plankton based ingredients and marine algae are great for dry and scaly skin. Squalane which is derived from olive oil is also an excellent ingredient for dry skin. (Nb. Squalane also comes from shark livers but we would only ever use the olive oil derivative!).

Dry skin is tough to deal with. Add in the harshness of rural life into the mix, it becomes even more challenging! That’s why I developed our Daily Defender to seal moisture into the skin before you go outdoors with its invisible protective barrier against the elements. It is rich in plant oils (occlusives) such as white poppy seed, raspberry and avocado that all add important but nutritional lipids back into the skin.

For Dehydrated Skin – Your skin needs water, meaning hyaluronic acid is a must. Honey is also another great humectant to incorporate in your skincare products. However, the point remains that you cannot replace drinking water with products, no matter how good they are. You need to hydrate your skin from the inside out, and given that skin is the last organ to receive water, you need to drink loads. Adding in water-rich foods such as cucumber, watermelon, strawberries will also help your body get its hydration content. 

If you are a particular sufferer of dehydrated skin, the 12 Bore Boost Mist could be your saviour. It’s loaded with hydrators such as hyaluronic acid, glycerol plant actives (humectants), hydrosols (flower waters), cucumber extract and Pro-Vitamin B5 all replace lost moisture. It also has loads of other amazing actives to soothe sore skin, even skin tone and generally revitalise the complexion. 

12 bore boost mist for hydrating skin

But dry or dehydrated skin, isn’t just on the face – it can of course happen anywhere on the body. If dry cracked hands are an issue because of over-washing, you could try  our award winning Intensive Hand & Nail Cream that contains honey (humectant) as well as loads of other highly hydrating ingredients too.

For Oily, Dehydrated Skin – This one’s tricky and a tough balance to maintain. However, it is a myth that oily skin does not need hydration. Without sufficient hydration, the skin will produce more oils to compensate for the lack of it. A water-based or gel-based moisturiser that easily seeps into the skin without feeling heavy are your best friends. They feel lighter on the skin and do not clog pores while still providing hydration. Using oils with a low freezing point such as hazelnut, thistle or squalane are great at re-balancing sebum production and help oily skin.

It can be a lot to take in. Your first step is to identify your particular issue and then build your gentle skincare regime around that. And remember, you’ll always get better results buying products that are made using natural plant based ingredients that are carefully balanced to feel great on the skin as well as actually work. Clean products with no-nonsense ingredients are definitely the way to go for beautiful, nourished skin!

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