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5 things you should know about dry skin

1. Dry skin and dehydrated skin are different

Having dry skin is not the same as having dehydrated skin, often these two terms are used mistakenly and many times you end up buying creams for dehydrated skin when what you are looking for are creams for dry skin, and vice versa. In order to understand the differences, let’s first look at what it really means to have dehydrated skin and what it means to have dry skin. 

A dehydrated skin is usually a skin condition and not a skin type (in this post we talk about the differences between skin condition and skin type). Dehydrated skin lacks water. This dehydration makes the skin look tense, with little luminosity, red and flat due to the deflation of the surface cells. Skin is dehydrated by factors such as climate, pollution, lifestyle, diet and/or caffeine consumption.

Unlike dehydrated skin, dry skin lacks oil. The lack of sebum (lipids) in dry skin means that the skin cannot retain moisture and build a strong barrier to protect itself from the external elements and this leads to skin that appears scaly, rough, cracked and not very flexible. This is not a temporary condition, but is considered a type of skin that tends to be more permanent.

 

2. Your skin may be oily and dehydrated

As we have just seen, dehydrated skin is not dry skin. However, a skin can be dehydrated and be oily, combination or resilient. How? Your skin may be producing excess oil to compensate for the lack of water. 

3. Perhaps your acne comes from having dry skin

When the lipid layer and the microbiome of our skin is in imbalance, a deficit of lipids is generated in our skin and it is then when the clear symptoms of a dry skin appear. As we have already seen, dry skin also loses water because the lack of lipids will prevent us from keeping the skin hydrated. During this process, the pH of our skin also suffers, making us susceptible to infections from acne-causing bacteria. In response, the skin will begin to generate excess lipids to combat this imbalance. This is what makes many people with acne believe that their skin is oily, when what happens is that the skin is dry and dehydrated. 

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4. You’re not getting the right treatment

Knowing what type of skin you have and what’s its condition is key to follow a good treatment and be efficient with your skincare routine. On many occasions, we buy skin creams for dry skin (with high lipid content) when we have dehydrated skin. After a few weeks of application, you see that your skin starts to react with pimples or other imperfections and you become alarmed by the brand or product you are using. How many times have you heard “don’t buy products of such a brand, it caused me acne”? The problem is that you have used a product that your skin did not need. If you add lipids to a dehydrated skin that does not have a sebum deficit, it can end up causing acne. 

5. Ingredients to avoid if your skin is dry

  • Alcohol: try to avoid cosmetic products that contain high amounts of alcohol as this is a cosmetic ingredient that dries and irritates the skin, as well as being a common trigger for eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
  • Fragrances: synthetic and/or natural fragrances are often added to enhance the smell of the cosmetic product, but for dry or sensitive skin, fragrances are irritating ingredients.
  • Glycolic Acid: Glycolic Acid is a chemical exfoliant generally used to reduce blackheads and clogged pores. If you have dry skin, you don’t need glycolic acid in your cosmetic formulas.
  • Salicylic acid – This ingredient is generally found in skin care products recommended for people with oily, acne-prone skin. If your skin is dry, stay away from salicylic acid because it can make your skin dryer.
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