If you are confused between dry and dehydrated skin, you are not alone. When it comes to skincare, "dry" and "dehydrated" are often used interchangeably, but they are different skin issues. With love for you, we will tell you about both skin imperfections along with valuable methods for their healing
Dry or Dehydrated: How to Tell?
Dry skin tends to stay dry all year round. If you drink lots of water (alcohol doesn’t count!) and your skin still feels dry, flaky even with moisturizer, you probably have dry skin. On the other hand if you are not hydrating adequately (thirsty, with darker urine output) and your skin feels rough, dull, tight, and inflamed when exposed to elements, air conditioning and indoor heat, you are probably water deficient. Dehydrated skin is also generally prone to more premature wrinkling and loss of elasticity. Let's take a closer look at both skin imperfections to understand the difference.
Dry skin is a skin type characterized by a lack of lipids or oils in the dermal layers. It can be attributed to genetics, age, medication, or poor health/diet. The most common dry skin signs are:
- scale skin
- white flakes
Dehydrated skin is a condition that can be experienced by all skin types, even oily skin. With dehydrated skin, it is usually due to lack of water in the upper layer of the dermis, aka stratum corneum. This is mostly caused by external factors such as low humidity, exposure to elements (sun/wind/cold), hard water, wrong skincare; but age and poor diet can also contribute to dehydrated skin as well. Key characteristics of dehydrated skin are:
- fine lines
To know for sure the condition of your skin, conduct a simple dehydrated skin test, better known as a pinch test. Squeeze the skin on your stomach, cheek, chest, or back of your hand for a few seconds and release. If your skin has enough fluid, it will quickly return to its previous shape. If it takes a few minutes to recover, then your skin is dehydrated.
5 Basic Tips for Hydrated Skin
By understanding the difference between dehydrated and dry skin, you can choose the right care with the help of a qualified dermatologist. But what you can do right now is to stick to basic rituals that are equally effective for both skin issues.
1. Drink lots of water.
Water is the primary building block of our cells, and the average adult body is 60% water. Make sure you are properly hydrated to maintain healthy body fluids. If plain water isn’t your thing, try adding lemon, cucumber, or mint to your H20. Or drink something else such as herbal teas, fresh juices, smoothies, and broth. Avoid coffee, highly caffeinated beverages, and alcohol.
2. Wear Sun Protection
The studies show that UVA from the sun can cause dehydration and free-radical damage to the skin. So even in colder months, you want to protect your skin from the sun. Some sunblocks can be drying, add a couple drops of your facial oil for smoother application and a dewy finish.
3. Use a humidifier
Air conditioning and indoor heat offer indoor comfort but rob water from the air, and your skin. Try placing a humidifier nearby or turn off the room heating while you sleep, keeping the temperature at a pleasant 65 - 72 degrees.
4. Keep showers short and warm
Hot water dehydrates the skin. If possible, shower every other day during the winter months. Keep baths/showers short and temperatures not too hot. It also helps to apply body lotions and oils right after.
5. Give Your Skin A Drink
Literally. Our skin needs both water and lipids. Apply your oil serums on damp skin to enhance product penetration and prevent trans epidermal water loss. Layer your skincare routine to maximize results. Start with a hydrating base such as water-based essence or serum. Then apply a layer of oil-based product while the skin is still damp. Repeat another layer if needed. Another way to give your skin a drink is to use a hydrating sheet mask. A high quality sheet mask will give you instantly hydrated complexion.
TCM for Dehydrated & Dry Skin Healing
Sometimes you may notice that dry or dehydrated skin symptoms persist even though you stick to basic moisturizing rituals. It's time to take the problem into a broader perspective. In traditional Chinese medicine, Yang is responsible for warmth and dryness, while Yin is cold and moist. Thus, dry or dehydrated skin indicates a Yin deficiency. Our mission is to restore Yin-Yang balance for a comprehensive and wholesome dehydrated and dry skin treatment.
Always Make Time for Yourself
Daily stress and a busy schedule are the main factors of Yin depletion. This energy has a soft and calm quality in TCM, which is what it expects from us. So whatever your daily routine is, find time for a peaceful activity. Taking a bath, getting a massage, reading a book, journaling, painting, or just taking a walk in nature are all good resets for your Yin energy.
Do Gentle Exercises
Active exercise at high speed and intensity adds more heat and promotes perspiration. Therefore, they should be avoided when struggling with a lack of fluid in the body. Instead, opt for Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or yoga. Smooth movements, improved breathing and focusing on your own thoughts in these practices will help you increase your Yin and strengthen your body.
Take Care of Sleep Quality
Yin energy is associated with the moon and night. Therefore, sleep is especially important for replenishing the deficiency of Yin. Make sure you get at least 8-9 hours of sleep each night. At the same time, it is also important that the time of going to bed and waking up remain the same every day and the place to sleep is quiet and peaceful.
Intake Yin-Boosting Foods
In TCM, the foods that cultivate Yin are those that nourish the blood and fluids. These include: eggs, asparagus, black beans, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, watermelon, cilantro, and so on. To get even more benefit from Yin food, eat without distractions like TV, smartphone, and so on. This will allow you to enjoy the taste and tune in to the needs of your body in order to feel full in time.
Whether it's dehydrated or dry skin, its appearance is unlikely to please you. But there is good news - this is not a constant and we can always change something. By choosing the right skin care products and revising our lifestyle per basic and TCM recommendations, you are much closer to healthy and beautiful skin.
If you are doing everything but your skin still feels rough, itchy, irritated, and sensitive, you might consider checking with your doctor to rule out other underlying conditions. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need a referral for a TCM practitioner who specializes in dermatology.