Most of us are quite familiar with the symptoms of dry skin: itchy, flaky, tight, and often uncomfortable. Common dry areas are on the cheeks, the corners of the nose and the mouth, and even the sides of the forehead.
But we bet you didn’t know this. Dry skin isn’t exactly synonymous with dehydrated skin. In fact, you can have both oily and dehydrated skin, a.k.a. a not-so-popular type of combination skin. Here, we break it down further:
When you have dry skin, it means you have less oil-producing glands in your skin. Oil or sebum is actually necessary as it keeps skin from drying out, and works to reduce water loss from your skin surface while providing a protective barrier against external aggressors. When your skin is not able to produce the needed amount of sebum, this results in skin dryness. So basically, dry skin is a skin type.
Dehydration, meanwhile, is a skin condition. Having dehydrated skin means your skin is lacking water, not oil. It can be caused by many factors, including the weather conditions, the environment, and even your diet (coffee consumption included), all of which can cause the depletion of your skin’s water content.
Here's the thing: Dehydrated skin can exhibit signs similar to dry skin, such as itchiness and tightness. But what you should look out for is dullness, sallowness, and even darkness or discoloration especially around the eyes. Watch out for exaggerated lines and wrinkles, too—especially if they were not there before—as well as redness, inflammation, and lots of congestion: think whiteheads, blackheads, and a thickened skin surface.
You can also try this easy test: Simply pinch your cheek and check if the skin is wrinkling rather than holding its shape. If it appears wrinkly under gentle pressure, it’s parched for water.
Dry skin is best treated with an emollient cream, facial oil, or moisturizer to protect from moisture loss. When it comes to treating dehydrated skin, ~hydration~ is key, of course. But it takes more than just one-time moisturizing step to really nip it in the bud. Here, some skin care steps you can take:
1. Exfoliate skin.
The buildup of dirt, makeup, and dead skin cells on skin can significantly hinder your skin’s absorption of hydrators and other skin care products. Make sure to exfoliate at least once a week to detox skin and slough off unwanted debris. Be wary of using harsh, grainy scrubs and using too much friction, as these can cause more harm than good.
2. Add a serum to your daily routine.
A serum is a skin care product that you apply after cleansing and before moisturizing. The thin consistency makes it easy for skin to absorb, making it effective in delivering powerful ingredients. That said, it’s a great tool for targeting specific skin care concerns, such as dehydration and aging.
3. Moisturize in the a.m. and in the p.m.
Daily exposure to the elements—including the sun and the office A.C.—strips skin of moisture, so it’s important to prep skin in the morning with a potent but lightweight moisturizer, ideally one with skin-nourishing natural extracts and fatty acids.
At night, opt for a heavier, oil-free, and non-comedogenic moisturizer to counteract moisture loss while you sleep, and to boost skin’s nighttime repair. A snail mucin-infused product works wonders, too, as the snail extract is known for its impressive skin-healing powers.
4. Treat skin to a weekly masking session.
Indulging in a hydrating sheet mask once a week not only pampers skin, it also lets you soak up powerful nourishing ingredients in one go. Here are some ingredients to try during your next masking sesh: aloe, glacier water, donkey milk, and horse oil.
5. Drink lots of water
Sorry to state the obvious, but drinking enough water is vital to addressing dehydration—even in the skin. So make sure you consume at least eight glasses of water daily, and eat water-rich fruits and vegetables, such as watermelons and cucumbers. If you sweat a lot or work out regularly, down more fluids to replenish what you lose through sweating.
6. Invest in a humidifier
A humidifier adds moisture to the air in the room, preventing dryness that can affect you and your body. This is especially helpful in air-conditioned rooms, where the air is extra cool and dry.
7. Keep a facial mist handy
A facial mist, like the BYS Hydrating Mist- Rose Quartz, gives skin a quick-me-up by delivering instant hydration. Always keep one in your purse for on-the-go spritzing.
Shop more skin care must-haves here.