Ask A Derm
1. What's the difference between dry skin & dehydrated skin. How do you diagnose each?
The two may sound very similar, but dehydrated skin is a temporary condition with loss of water from the epidermis due to environmental stressors or poor skincare. Dehydrated skin can occur in skin type, including oily and acne prone skin. Dry skin, on the other hand, is a skin type, often influenced by genetics, where the skin does not make enough lipids and oil. This decreases the effectiveness of the skin barrier and makes it more prone to transepidermal water loss.
Individuals with dry skin is often rough, flaky, and itchy. Due to the poor barrier function, it can frequently get inflamed and lead to eczema.
Dehydrated skin often will feel tight and rough. It can have a dull appearance often with , with some accentuation of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of photoaging.
2. How do you treat dry skin vs. dehydrated skin?
Because individuals with dry skin often lack ceramides and natural lipids, using products containing these ingredients is key. Furthermore, dry skin is more prone to eczema, therefore lifelong good skincare habits is key. These include using mild hypoallergenic products, avoid using harsh soap, avoid hot water when bathing, and apply a good emollient right after bath or shower.
The causes of dehydrated skin include many environmental stressors such as excessive sun or heat, hot water, and aging. Treating dehydrated skin simply involves adding water back to the epidermis. Drink plenty of water and take lukewarm baths to help add water back. Apply a serum that contains humectants to help draw water into the skin. Moisturizers with humectants are also important.
Wearing sunscreen regularly, eat a well balance diet, get plenty of sleep are also very important.
3. What are the best ingredients for dry and dehydrated skin?
For dry skin, ingredients that help to repair skin barrier, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and ceramides are essential since this is what’s lacking in dry skin. Using petrolatum-based products that acts as occlusive to prevent water loss can also be helpful. Just as important is to avoid ingredients such as fragrance, dye, and preservatives that may irritate dry skin
For dehydrated skin look for humectants, ingredient that help to draw water into skin. These includes glycerin, AHAs, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide. These ingredients can also be used on dry skin.
4. What’s the best morning and evening hydration skincare routine?
- Gentle cleanser to remove oil buildup over night
- Apply a hydrating serum containing niacinamide and hyaluronic acid
- A water- based moisturizer
- Micellar water to gently remove makeup and oil, followed by gentle cleanser
- A retinoid based product helps with skin turnover and exfoliation, improves signs of aging, and dullness
- Don’t forget to always apply moisturizer at the end
- Few times a few, adding in a mild AHA based product to lightly exfoliate and remove dead skin will improve signs of dullness and fine lines.
5. Does the water you drink affect your skin’s hydration level?
Yes and no. The water we drink doesn’t go directly into your skin. However, your skin does ultimately reply on water source either inside or out. For skin to get hydrated, the external environmental has to be > 60-70% humidity. On a daily basis, the epidermis will rely on pulling water from the deeper layers of your skin to stay hydrated. This is how humectants work.