Dry or Dehydrated? That is the question...

Some people use "dry" and "dehydrated" to describe their skin interchangeably, when these conditions are actually quite different. 

The simple difference is skin type versus skin condition. Dry skin is a skin type — you were born with it and it’s a result of the composition of your skin. Dehydrated skin is a skin condition caused by external factors such as weather, physical dehydration, diet or product use. It’s essentially a lack of water within the skin. 

When consuming water via drinking and hydrating foods, our skin is the last to reap the benefits. This means, we get a little and we lost a lot. 

Our skin is a part of our excretory system, and approximately 4-6 ounces of water pass through our epidermis every day – known as transepidermal water loss or TEWL. In order for the skin to maintain optimal health, a delicate balance is required to prevent excessive water loss, which can lead to impaired barrier function. Impaired barrier function is characterized by rough, red and flakey skin that is easily irritated due to the skin’s inability to protect itself from the outside environment. 

Maintaining this delicate balance requires drinking plenty of water to keep our skin hydrated, and using products that draw and hold moisture in the skin. I recommend using a hydrator twice daily and adding in a hydrating serum, if necessary. Keep an eye out for beneficial ingredient listings that include hyaluronic acid, glycerin, dimethicone and plant oils. Ingredients that should be avoided are petrolatum, lanolin and mineral oil because of their heavy texture on the skin and higher instances of topical allergens. 

Because our skin only allows a small amount of water to penetrate from the outside in, it is up to us to apply beneficial ingredients to keep our skin healthy and hydrated every day.