Dehydrated or Dry Skin? Understanding the Difference & What to Do

Water plays a critical role in helping you achieve a youthful glow. It helps skin stay healthy, helping to mitigate environmental damage, minimize dryness and fight the telltale signs of aging.

While staying well-hydrated and drinking the recommended eight glasses (or more) of water a day is a crucial piece of the puzzle, you should also incorporate products into your skincare regimen to keep your skin luminous.

Hydration vs. Moisturization

While hydrating and moisturizing may seem like interchangeable terms, hydration and moisturization are really two different skincare goals. Topical hydrating products infuse your skin cells with water, making it easier for your skin to reflect light to give you that glow, while also boosting the absorption of nutrients and moisture.

Moisturizing products don't add moisture like hydrating products, but rather they seal in the moisture that your cells already have. Doing so improves skin texture while helping to deter water loss on a cellular level. 

Understanding Your Skin's Needs

To determine whether you need a moisturizer or hydrator or even both, consider the condition of your skin. Flakey, dry skin means that you need a moisturizer to build more of your skin's protective lipid barrier. Many people experience this need in dry winter weather, or when using chemical exfoliants. 

If your skin is looking dull and fine lines are becoming increasingly noticeable, it may need more than just a moisturizer and instead need water on a cellular level. Dehydrated cells don't have the volume needed to reflect light well, causing a lackluster look. If this is what you are experiencing, you need a hydrating product to plump up and hydrate your skin cells to improve luminosity from within.

Dryness and dehydration are not mutually exclusive. If you notice that your skin is both flaky and dull in appearance, you may need both hydration and moisturizing products.

What to Look for

When it comes to hydrating products, an active hydration serum is going to be one of the most targeted formulas to help you get to the root of the issue. Look for a hydrating serum with key ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which are humectants that help hydrate while also preventing moisture loss. 

When choosing a moisturizer, it is important to keep your skin type in mind when finding a formula. Those with dry skin can benefit most from a rich cream or serum. Oily, acne-prone skin types benefit most from lighter, oil-free moisturizers. Combination skin types can use a cream or a lotion, depending on your climate and the time of year. 

Order of Application

The order that you apply your skincare products makes a difference. Experts agree that skincare products should generally be applied thinnest to thickest, treating with thinner consistency hydrating serums before layering a moisturizer and SPF. The general morning skincare routine should be: cleanse, tone, treat, moisturize and then apply eye cream and sunscreen. 

Get Your Glow 

Now that you understand the difference between hydration and moisturization and the specific needs of your own skin, finding the right products can be a little bit easier. Consistent use is crucial if you want to see noticeable results, so find ways to make a habit of your new skincare routine. Simply reframing it as indulgent self-care time can make it easier to do consistently than if you think of it as just another item on your to-do list.




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