Dryness Vs dehydration: What’s the difference?

Posted by Liz Earle Beauty Co. October 4, 2017 | 3 min read

After the warmth and sunshine of summer, the beginning of autumn marks a transition in the beauty calendar. As tans fade, the skin can often feel in need of a serious dose of hydration and nourishment. However, while dry and dehydrated skin share some of the same characteristics, their causes are entirely different. Confused? You may well be. Read on for our expert guide to help you decode the difference and bring your skin − dry, dehydrated or somewhere in between − back to its best this autumn.

Dry skin is a type
Dry skin is a type, determined not by lifestyle or environmental factors, but genetics. Instead of lacking water, dry skin has a weaker protective layer of lipids − a healthy mix of naturally occurring substances including sebum − that help maintain skin barrier function. As a result dry skin can feel tight, flaky and look dull.

Dehydration can affect any skin type
When we lack adequate water in our bodies, the skin’s outermost layers begin to dry out leaving them more susceptible to damage. In real terms, dehydration can leave skin feeling parched and looking flat, but can also result in breakouts − a common sign of dehydration in oily skin. More importantly, dehydration can affect any skin type (including dry) when the body is lacking in water.

What happens to your moisturiser?
Watch what happens when you apply your moisturiser. If it sinks in fast leaving you reaching for the pot again immediately, this thirstiness may indicate that your skin is dehydrated meaning you need to up your fluids. If, however, your skin has difficulty absorbing moisturiser (or any skincare product) and the texture is rough or flaky, it’s probable that your skin type is inherently dry and lacking in natural oils, as opposed to water.

Bring back the balance
Healthy-looking skin is all about balance and now you know what your skin is lacking − either oil or water (or possibly both) – you can begin to make some changes.

All skin types, even breakout-prone, will benefit from a balancing oil formula like our Superskin™ Concentrate for Night which is rich in pure plant oils to help to soften and nourish skin.

Making a concerted effort to drink more water, plus caffeine-free herbal teas, will benefit both dry and dehydrated skins alike and reflect in increased radiance, while selecting the right moisturiser for your skin type will help rehydrate the skin’s uppermost layers and replenish the skin’s moisture barrier.

For on the spot hydration: our Instant Boost™ Skin Tonic is enriched with aloe vera and soothing calendula, chamomile and cucumber. If skin feels tight, our spritzer version delivers an instant veil of moisture that can be useful to apply throughout the day.