Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin - Sanctuary Spa & Skin Care

February 3, 2023

We have finally reached our first week of summer! And just as we were adjusting to Southern California’s notorious “June Gloom” the sun decided to make its grand entrance (maybe a little too grand?) giving cause to higher electric bills and beach cravings for days. The dry heat has rolled on in, and it got us thinking about what that word “dry” really means. We see people for facials all the time who claim to have dry skin. But do they?

The truth is, there is a very big difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin. Before taking a bath in shea butter, first discover which type of skin you’re battling. Your current regimen could be a dead-end if you’re treating your skin for the wrong thing.

Let’s Start with Hydration vs. Moisture

Hydration refers to the water content in your skin. While drinking water is crucial to our overall organ health, sometimes our skin needs a little extra help than just our good ol’ pal, H2O. Skin is the very last organ to absorb hydration, so applying topical ingredients that boost hydration may be necessary. Ingredients that love hydrating our skin include things like hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, glycerin, honey, and aloe!

Moisture refers to the oil content in your skin. Attached to the the teensy tiny hair follicles across our skin are itty bitty oil committee workers that produce sebum, the oily substance that helps protect, lubricate, and nourish our skin. Individuals with oily or acne-prone skin may produce too much sebum, while individuals with dry skin may not produce enough.

With that information, here’s the takeaway: dehydrated skin lacks water, while dry skin lacks oil. 

Which Type Do I Have?

If your skin looks dull and feels tight, even when it’s moisturized, it’s most likely dehydrated. 
If your skin is rough and flaky, it’s most likely dry. 

Dehydrated skin (skin lacking water) is a skin condition. Dry skin (skin lacking oil) is a skin type. The difference is that a condition is temporary and can be fixed. In most cases, dehydrated skin is caused by the weather or by using skin care products that are too harsh. A skin type, like dry skin, is usually a simple result of genetics and is permanent.

Proper Treatment

To hydrate your skin means to bind water to your skin cells. To moisturize your skin means to prevent water from leaving them. That means that no matter what, hydration must come first. If you have dehydrated skin, applying a moisturizer over and over will not bring the results your skin craves. Again, moisturizing your skin means to keep water from leaving. How can your moisturizer be its most effective if there is no water to hold? This is the very reason your esthetician will tell you to apply your serums before your moisturizer; you need to hydrate prior to moisturizing.

To treat a dehydrated skin condition, invest in a topical serum that contains one of the hydration-loving ingredients we mentioned (hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, glycerin, honey, aloe) and apply it daily before your moisturizer and continue to drink plenty of water! We love the Hydrating B5 Gel from SkinCeuticals, which contains hyaluronic acid, the body’s natural hydrator. This serum also helps bind moisture to your skin and maximize the benefits of your daily moisturizer.

To treat a dry skin type, make sure your skin is first hydrated, then try using an oil rather than a lotion moisturizer. Oils penetrate the skin deeper than lotions, while allowing your skin to breathe. For those suffering with incredibly irritated, dry skin, try using an oil underneath your regular moisturizing lotion for double the love! Our favorite is the Rosehip Triple C+E Firming Oil from Eminence Organics. This organic, gentle oil contains jojoba oil, which is incredibly nourishing and luxurious. Not to mention, the added environmental protection from all the delicious vitamins found in this product!

For advanced help and recommendations, visit one of our highly-trained estheticians at Sanctuary Spa. 

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Our mission is to provide outstanding services that nurture, heal, and revitalize your mind, body, and soul. We pride ourselves on our decadent, personalized services that are enriched by our seasoned professionals.

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