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How to tell if your skin is dry or dehydrated
We lean towards hydrating products when our skin is dry, just as we increase our water intake when we are dehydrated.
But did you know having dry skin and having dehydrated skin are two totally separate issues?
Melbourne based dermatologist, Dr Shyamalar Gunatheesan, explains that when referencing 'dry' skin it is your ‘genetically determined skin type’, whereas 'dehydrated' describes the skin's ‘current state or condition’.
If you’ve got oily skin, this still may be of relevance to you as "individuals with oily skin can also suffer from dehydrated skin if this homestatic state is disrupted."
How to tell the difference between dry or dehydrated skin
When identifying dry skin, the telltale signs are anything flaky and scaly, with particular attention drawn to "scaling around the eyebrows, corners of the mouth and nose,” says Dr Gunatheesan.
However, when suffering from dehydration, she explains the skin will feel tight, while looking sallow and dull, as well as an increase in appearance of wrinkling and dark circles under the eyes. “I see this commonly present as sensitive, inflammed skin with areas of congestion and breakouts”.
If you’re still unsure, “pinch the upper part or apples of your cheek to have a feel of the underlying dermis or collagen”.
After this step, “if the skin does not spring back immediately or there are fine lines and wrinkles, this might suggest loss of turgor or elasticity”.
The pinch test will immediately expose side effects present in dehydrated skin.
How to prevent dehydration
While most causes of dehydrated skin are reversible —"harsh cleansers, over-washing skin with hot water, central heating, air-conditioning, incorrect skin care and inadequate fluid intake" — the prevention methods for dry and dehydrated skin are even easier.
Dr Gunatheesan cites “soaps or sulphates, harsh exfoliants, hot water, alcohol, smoking” as some of the major players to avoid and also encourages getting an adequate amount of sleep as she reveals, “studies have shown sleeping less than six hours per night increases trans-epidermal water loss”.
Diet plays an important factor too, with Dr Gunatheesan recommending “water rich fruits and vegetables such as watermelon and cucumber” as well as “foods rich in omega-3 oils” to nourish the skin from the inside.
As for your topical routine, products that are "rich in hyaluronic acid, and ceramides" will work wonders, with serums applied first, followed by moisturisers while “the skin is [still] moist” for “best penetration, absorption and less trans-epidermal water loss”.
Vitamin C as well as niacinamide are important ingredients to look out for too, as they're both considered an "antioxidant that can repair photo-ageing, thereby preventing one of the causes of dehydration".
Main image credit: @laraworthington
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