Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dry vs. Dehydrated

Many people come see me complaining of “dry” skin. After taking a look through the magnifying lamp, I usually see one of two things. There are clogged pores, blackheads, and even some tiny whiteheads. Or, it’s the opposite: No breakouts, but flaky, irritated, and tight skin. In either case, the skin is suffering from dehydration. Now listen very carefully. A truly dry skin has zero oil, which means it would never, ever break out! So, with that said, most people fall into the category of dehydrated skin.

How can you tell if your skin is dehydrated?
Do you wash your face with soap or something foamy?
Does your skin feel really tight after you wash it, like if you don’t put moisturizer on right away, your face might crack?
Does your skin flake an hour or two after moisturizing or using specialized treatments?
Does your skin have red splotchy areas that look similar to a sunburn?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you probably have dehydrated skin. Most of us do. We are so obsessed with exfoliating and getting our skin squeaky clean that we strip the protective barrier and all the oils in our skin to keep it nourished.

This is my easiest explanation:
Your skin feels really tight after you wash it, right? That tightness you feel is dehydration. That dehydration is actually water loss, and what happens when your skin loses water? It sends a signal to your oil glands to produce more oil to lubricate your skin.

Ok, let’s pretend for a second that you have a layer of saran wrap on your skin. That layer is so tight that now your over productive oil glands have nowhere to put that excess oil. The pores are working so hard to let the oil out, but they have no place to go. Hence, your pores get stretched out (large pores), and your pores get clogged. It’s really that simple. I see too much exfoliation and stripping of the skin with oily clad gals. Stop it! Oil is good for your skin. It’s just when you have an overload of oil that it needs help simmering down.

Dehydration feels the same way for dry skin, but instead of getting over active oil glands (remember? Dry skin has no oil), this skin utilizes its collagen and elastin for replenishment. Therefore, dry skinned people are more apt to get premature wrinkles and sagging skin far sooner than their oily skinned peers.

The most common thing I hear is this: “But, I drink so much water!” And, my reply? That’s great! But, our skin is the largest organ in our body so it the last to receive anything we put into it. That’s why it is so important to nourish our bodies both inside and out. Whatever we put on our skin absorbs into our body, and vice versa.

It is crucial to use the correct products for your skin type. Start thinking of your skin as an organ (because it is!) that is just as important as any other organ. You wouldn’t neglect your heart if it was on the outside, would you?

We all need hydration, even oily skins. Without it, we are depleting our skin of the nutrients it needs to survive. I hope that helps!



  1. You writing and examples are fabulous!
    Keep it up!

  2. Thank you for that explanation! Now, I feel like my skin is dehydrated although I say I drink water constantly! I do moisturize but like you said sometimes it doesn't help. I started a new routine and I think it works really well. Thanks again.

  3. Thank for the info!! Love it :)

    Following you back

  4. What a great write up! Now, what is the solution, haha :) JK
    Stopped over from FTLOB. Have a good weekend! ;)

  5. Hi TexaGermaNadian! Thanks for the blog love! If you have any specific questions about your skin, please feel free ask on my question page and I will do my best to help you out! I bet they have some amazing products over there in Germany!

  6. good to know info! love your blog :) I need all the help I can get and don't have time to go to sa specialist for face maintenance, so now I have you to get info. from :) I'm Winning! lol
    your new follower