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  • Lauren Hughes

Is Your Skin Dry or Dehydrated?

I meet clients every day who think they have dry skin but their skin is actually dehydrated. It's an easy mistake to make, so in this post I am going to go into the differences between dry skin and dehydrated skin and how you can help both.


Dry skin is due to an underproduction of oil by the sebaceous glands whereas dehydrated skin means there is a lack of water in the stratum corneum layer of the skin. If you have small pores, flakiness, rough patches and redness then it’s safe to say you have dry skin. But if you have visible or large pores, your skin often feels tight and your fine lines are looking worse than usual, your skin is most likely dehydrated.


Dehydration is a very common skin condition that can affect any skin type. It is very possible to have combination or oily skin with dehydration so a lot of people end up mistaking the dehydration for dryness and use products that are too heavy for their skin which can lead to clogged pores.


Lots of things can cause the skin to lose water and become dehydrated, including air conditioning, central heating, smoking, alcohol, sun exposure, cold weather and excessive bathing with hot water. So before turning to skincare, making sure you’re drinking enough water and cutting out smoking, cutting down on alcohol, protecting your skin from the sun and only using tepid water on your face a maximum of twice a day to help with dehydration. Having a cool mist humidifier in your bedroom over the colder, less humid months can also help.



Products containing hyaluronic acid and/or glycerin are brilliant for dehydrated skin because they draw water from your moisturiser and the air into the skin, which will relieve tightness and plump out fine lines. It is important to always put a moisturiser over the top of a hydrating serum or it is possible for the hyaluronic acid to pull moisture from deeper layers of the skin instead which will make dehydration worse. Products I would recommend for dehydrated skin include the Sarah Chapman Intense Hydrating Booster, the iUNiK Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Toner and the Medik8 Hydr8 B5 serum or the NIOD multi-molecular Hyaluronic Complex.


If your skin is dry, your skin needs oils, ceramides and occlusive ingredients such as shea butter. I don't like fragranced oils (such as essential oils) as these can potentially cause irritation so I prefer to use cold pressed rose hip seed oil, squalane oil and marula oils on dry skin. The Ordinary and The Inkey List are great for oils. Mineral oil based moisturisers can also be really helpful for dry skin e.g. the CeraVe moisturising cream is brilliant and is also packed with ceramides which help repair the skin barrier. If you would prefer not to use mineral oil then the Skin City UK Rich Emulsion is amazing.


If you have any questions please do let me know.



Lauren x


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