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Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin: What's the Difference and How to Treat Them

Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin: What's the Difference and How to Treat Them

Dry skin and dehydrated skin may sound very similar, but in fact these are two separate skin conditions that need very different approaches to healing. Just as you may see the terms “moisturization” and “hydration” used interchangeably when talking about skincare, it’s important to define what these terms mean to find the best solution for your skincare problems. 

What is The Difference Between Dry Skin and Dehydrated Skin?

In the simplest terms: dry skin lacks oil, while dehydrated skin lacks water. While this may sound simple, only by understanding the root causes behind lack of oil or water in the skin can you start to heal. Luckily, Japanese skincare solutions offer effective treatments for both dry and dehydrated skin.

Of course, it is important to combine not only quality products, but also lifestyle changes for issues related to dry or dehydrated skin. But before we delve into that, let’s look closer at each term.

What is Dry Skin?

Dry skin is a skin type caused by a lack of sebum production in the skin. This can be caused by genetics, as well as external factors. External factors that contribute to dry skin can include:

  • The weather
  • Taking long, hot showers
  • Use of harsh soaps, or detergents

Dry skin often appears flaky, rough, and tight. Those with severe dry skin may also experience symptoms such as redness or itchiness. 

What is Dehydrated Skin?

Dehydrated skin is usually only a temporary state caused by a lack of water in the uppermost layer of the skin, disrupting the skin’s protective barrier function. Healthy skin should contain around 30% water, which is essential for maintaining skin’s strength, elasticity, and plumpness. If your skin loses more water than it takes in, it will become dehydrated. This can manifest in several ways, including:

  • Dullness
  • Fine lines
  • Tightness
  • Itchiness

Dehydrated skin can also cause the skin to produce excess oil in an attempt to balance itself, which can lead to acne and breakouts.

Causes of Dehydrated Skin

Dehydrated skin can be caused by a wide array of factors, including:

  • Diet: If you do not drink enough water, or eat a diet lacking in water rich foods, it may cause you to become dehydrated. Excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption can also dehydrate the body and skin.
  • Lifestyle choices: Lack of sleep, smoking, and stress can all contribute to dehydrated skin.
  • Climate: Dry or cold weather can strip moisture from the skin, as can exposure to air conditioning or dry indoor heating. 
  • How Do You Know if You Have Dehydrated or Dry Skin?

    One of the easiest ways to tell if you are dehydrated is to do what is known as the “pinch test”. Simply pinch a small amount of skin on your cheek, abdomen, chest, or back of your hand and hold for a few seconds. If your skin snaps back into place quickly, you are likely not dehydrated. If your skin takes more than a few moments to bounce back to normal, you are likely dehydrated. 

    Dryness is one of the five primary skin types (normal, oily, combination, sensitive, or dry). Age also can contribute to dry skin as your skin’s ability to produce sebum over time declines, especially after age 40. 

    How Do I Know If My Skin Needs Moisture or Hydration?

    If your skin is dry, it is lacking oil and therefore needs moisturizing products and care. If your skin is dehydrated, your skin is lacking water and needs hydrating products and care. Remember that while hydration makes skin feel soft, it cannot stay soft if there is no oil to protect that hydration from escaping. 

    Water escapes our skin in a process known as Transepidermal Water Loss, or “TEWL”. TEWL is the amount of water that evaporates through your skin passively due to water vapor pressure gradient on both sides of the skin barrier. This is why it is so important to build up and protect your skin's barrier function, to slow down TEWL and help retain moisture and hydration in the skin. 

    How Do You Rehydrate Your Skin?

    There are some simple lifestyle changes you can make to help rehydrate dehydrated skin. These include things like:

    • Using gentle soaps
    • Using cosmetics and beauty products that are all natural
    • Using all natural laundry detergents
    • Turning on a humidifier in your room during the winter
    • Limiting showers to no more than 10 minutes in lukewarm water
    • Drinking extra water throughout the day. 

    Seiso JBeauty’s Water Velvet Cream uses all natural ingredients to protect dehydrated skin from moisture loss, weather, and pollution, while locking in moisture, and delivering bounce.

    How Do You Treat Dry Skin?

    When treating dry skin, it is vital to use skincare products rich in emollients, which help to hydrate and nourish the skin from within. But beyond products, how you care for your skin can also help to treat dry skin.

    Using the Japanese double cleansing method is actually one of the best ways to care for dry skin. Double cleansing involves starting with an oil-based cleanser, followed by a water based cleanser to effectively remove oil, dirt, and impurities without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

    After cleansing, the use of a hydrating serum or emulsion is recommended to prime skin to receive a rich moisturizer. Make sure to choose a moisturizer rich in emollients to help hydrate skin and protect the skin's barrier to trap hydration and prevent TEWL. If that sounds like a lot, our Lala Vie Moisturizing Trial Set contains a cleansing balm, oil in lotion, and moisturizing chiffon cream to help get you started.

    How Do You Treat Dehydrated Skin?

    Hydrating by drinking water is the first and most important step to treating dehydrated skin. Water rich foods such as cucumber, watermelon, and celery can also be a delicious way to incorporate more water in your diet. A water based mist, such as our After Mask Cream Mist can also help add a refreshing dose of hydration to your skin throughout the day. Remember to limit caffeine and alcohol as well.

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