Dry vs. Dehydrated skin

Pretty often the words moisturize and hydrate are used interchangeably when it comes to skin care. However, they mean two completely different things and why some people moisturizer like crazy and still feel and look dry. It is important to distinguish between the two so they can be treated properly.

Dry skin type

Generally, dry skin is considered a skin type and means lack of oil being produced in the skin. This skin type is characterized by smaller pores, parched skin and may have flakey patches.

As we age our skin becomes dryer as we produce less oil. The use of topical skin products like prescription Retin-A or acne medications may also contribute to a lack of oil in the skin.

Dehydrated skin condition

When the skin lacks water it is considered to be dehydrated. This is a skin condition that any skin type can have including the oiliest. It is most characterized by tightness, but also may be itchy or sensitive. Often fine lines and wrinkles may be accentuated and makeup may settle into those lines making the skin look older than it really is. You simply may just be dehydrated!

If you have ever noticed your skin feeling shiny and oily, but tight at the same time this is a clear indicator that your skin is dehydrated and lacking water. 

Causes that contribute to the dehydration of the skin are many environment factors such as lack of humidity in the air, flying on an airplane, hormones, steam rooms, overly stripping skin care products like many cleansers and overly exfoliating products.

Moisturizing skin care products

Moisturizing products make the skin feel softer and smoother. The function of moisturizer is to form a protective barrier on the skin preventing moisture loss. These types of products contain emollient ingredients such as apricot oil, hemp seed oil, rose hip oil and avocado oil to name a few. These ingredients essentially coat the skin to trap hydration in as well as provide nourishing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

This means if your skin is truly dehydrated and needs hydration, applying moisturizer really won't hydrate your skin much if at all. You first need water soluble humectant ingredients to lock in.

Hydrating skin care products

Skin care products that hydrate the skin contain water soluble humectant ingredients. They work by attracting water molecules to the skin like a magnet. Some of these ingredients include vegetable glycerin, sorbitol and my personal favorite vegan hyaluronic acid. By far the gold standard in hydrating ingredients is hyaluronic acid. This ingredient our bodies naturally produce to lubricate our joints and holds 1000 times its weight in water! This tiny molecule will also take a crinkled skin cell, plump it and make it nice and round smoothing fine lines.

Drinking water + Hydration

A common myth is drinking water will hydrate the skin. This is actually FALSE! Only 1% of what you ingest actually reaches the layers of the skin. This means when you drink water it has to pass through your entire digestive tract which is pretty hostile and acidic, excretory organs and muscle tissue. The process is too quick and you'll urinate it out before it ever reaches the skin. 

The myth comes from people seeing a difference in the skin after drinking a good amount of water for a period of time. Well, you have your kidneys to thank for flushing out all those toxins making the skin appear better. However, it does not actually lubricate the skin and topical application of products is the best most effective way to do so.

Here are some of my favorite clean hydrating products that have water attracting ingredients!

100% Pure Organic Cucumber Juice Collection - They have everything from a cleansing foam, tonique, serum, moisturizer and eye cream.