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Is my skin dry or dehydrated?

I often hear clients say they have really dry skin or oily skin and ask me what they can do about it. Very rarely do I hear a client say that they have dehydrated skin. Yet this is a skin condition that many of us have. Can you be oily and dehydrated? And what is the difference between dry or dehydrated skin? Is there anything you can do to help?

Skin type v skin condition

The main difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin is that dry skin is a skin type (like oily skin) while dehydrated skin is a temporary skin condition that any type of skin can experience from time to time.

The question to ask is have you always had dry skin? Or do you only get it occasionally eg in winter? Or do you have patches of dry skin while the rest of your face is oily?

If you have always had dry skin then most likely your skin type is dry and you have inherited it from your genetics. Dry skin tends to have trouble holding onto hydration year round. You might also find that your dry skin looks flaky, dry, red or scaly. You may also have more incidences of psoriasis, dermatitis or eczema. But don't worry too much - there are some things you can do to help!

If you have patches of dry and oily where your skin feels tight in certain areas you most likely have the skin condition of dehydration. This is common in the winter months when we use lots of heating and the air is cool and lacks the humidity that summer brings. Dehydrated skin often appears dull and can have the appearance of premature signs of ageing like wrinkles and loss of elasticity. It might seem strange that your skin is oily at the same time as being dry/tight however The good thing is that dehydration is temporary and you can help to get rid of this or minimise it.


Here is the simple rule:

For dry skin types you are lacking oil so you can add that in by using nourishing plant oils like squalene, jojoba or rose hip oil. You can also use nut oils like almond, coconut and hemp. Other good ingredients to look for are mineral oils, lanolin and shea butter.

If you have skin that is dehydration you could drink a tonne of water however the skin is the last organ to receive water so while that is a good health practice - it won't necessarily help your skin. You can add water straight to the skin by use of hydrating toners (not stripping toners like witch hazel or alcohol based ones) and using a hydrating mist before you apply moisturiser.

Ingredients that benefit both dry skin and dehydrated skin are ceramides and hyaluronic acid. Ceramides help create a barrier on the skin. This means that moisture is locked in and will prevent your skin from losing moisture, preventing dryness and irritation. Hyaluronic acid holds and locks in water to the skin. Its also an antioxidant (bonus!) and can plump up the skin giving the appearance of less wrinkles and more collagen (yes please!)

Hopefully these tips have helped and you can get back to your glowing youthful skin!

What products have you found help for dry or dehydrated skin? Let me know below!

Sarah xx

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