It’s normal to deal with somewhat dryer skin in the winter months, but it’s important to understand the root cause. If you're struggling with dryness and flaking along with odd breakouts, or inflammation there could be two very different issues at play. You may be one of many that fit into the category of having a “dry” skin type. In this instance, dry is used to describe a skin type that produces less sebum, which is an oil that secretes from small glands in the skin. Due to the lack of sebum, the skin lacks an appropriate amount of lipids to retain moisture and protect itself from outside influences. While having a dry skin type is fairly common, to the untrained eye it can be confused with a very sneaky skin condition, dehydrated skin.
Although dehydrated skin is one of the most common skin conditions, it’s misunderstood and often treated incorrectly. Why is this so important? For the simple fact that treating dehydrated skin as a dry skin type won’t solve the issue and causes more problems in the long-run. While dry skin lacks sebum, dehydrated skin does not. Dehydrated skin is stripped of its acid mantle and is severely lacking water. To put it simply, dry skin needs oil, dehydrated skin needs H20.
Like most skin conditions, dehydration is typically due to outside forces (i.e. environmental or lack of/incorrect products) and can be treated through a specific skin care protocol. At this point, you may be thinking about just increasing your water intake or maybe insisting to yourself that you drink plenty of water. It’s important to note that while most of us could benefit from a few extra cups of water, merely drinking water won’t solve the issue. The outer most layers of the skin are the last to be replenished, getting the leftovers from your very thirsty organs.
Misdiagnosis and Its Effects
So, do you have a dry skin type or suffer from dehydrated skin? If so, how can you be sure and how do you properly treat dehydrated skin? I typically know when my clients are suffering from dehydration when they come to me desperate for answers exclaiming “Nothing is working, I’ve tried everything!”. These individuals typically have been told or just assumed that they have a dry skin type and were most likely given or opted for the most obvious solutions, a heavy moisturizer.
Misdiagnosed dehydrated skin is easily missed because breakouts and inflammation can be so prevalent that the root issue is often overlooked. In these severe cases, it's common for an individual to be prescribed or unknowingly attempt to treat just the acne. A standard acne kit may help to clear up some of the breakouts but in the long run, will strip the acid mantle of the skin. Your acid mantle is a natural protective film that helps to ward off pesky microorganisms, stripping this protective barrier will only worsen issues. There are some that do indeed have a dry skin type and suffer from dehydrated skin. In this case, a heavy moisturizer is needed, however, until hydrated a heavy cream will not penetrate through the layer of dehydrated skin. This is why dehydrated skin tends to look crinkly and flaky but can be shiny at the same time.
Luckily, changing just a few skin care habits can resolve dehydrated skin. Treatment needs to first improve water content to the superficial layers of the skin without adding unnecessary oils. This is accomplished by introducing hyaluronic acid. This amazing molecule naturally occurs in the body and has the ability to bind water to your skin. This one step can completely resolve the issue. Additionally, you may need to make minor tweaks to your home care, by eliminating harsher products like foaming cleansers, full acne lines, and/or change out your current sunscreen. Lastly, apply your hyaluronic acid serum right after leaving the shower. This will seal in moisture from your warm shower.
Struggling with a failing skin protocol or even knowing where to start when tweaking it can be overwhelming, you should not have to do it alone. The guidance of a professional can invaluable and in most cases is necessary. If you think you may be dealing with this issue or need assistance with fine-tuning your current protocol be sure to take advantage of our online consultations. Our trained experts guide you through the selection of specific products that are perfectly suited to your unique skin type and any issues you may be dealing with.
Let us know if you need any help! Stay moisturized and hydrated Lovelies