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The difference between dry and dehydrated skin.

Posted by Shopify on


Here is what you need to know to determine whether your skin is either dry OR dehydrated (or both) and what you can do about it!

The terms "dry" and "dehydrated" are often used interchangeably, but they’re not the same.

DRY SKIN is a skin type characterized by a chronic underproduction of sebum, or oil. It’s usually persistent and may be accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms like itching or tightness. The severity of these symptoms can be affected by environmental factors, like weather and seasons.

DEHYDRATED SKIN refers to the amount of water in the skin. Healthy skin contains around 30% water, which is essential for maintaining the skin’s structure, strength, and resiliency. When the skin loses too much water, it becomes dehydrated. The symptoms of dehydrated and dry skin are often similar and may include roughness or a loss of elasticity, sagging, dull and premature and prominent fine lines and wrinkles. However, while dry skin is a specific skin type, dehydrated skin can affect anyone—even those with naturally oily skin! That said, those with dry skin types may be more likely to also have dehydrated skin, as the skin’s natural oils play an important role in retaining water and minimizing water loss.

DRY SKIN What causes dry skin? -Extreme temperatures. -Harsh skincare products that strip the skin can remove too much oil. -Medical conditions, lifestyle, hormones, and the natural aging process. How can you help dry skin? -Minimizing exposure to environmental influences, like hot water (even though a long hot shower feels so good, your skin might not agree!). -Restore the skin’s surface lipids. -Use ingredients that are EMOLLIENTS, which are typically fatty acid rich and smooth the skin by filling in any spaces with droplets of oil. They can heal already damaged skin and typically soften and supple the skin. Some of the best include plant oils, shea butter, squalene, fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol, stearic acid, aloe vera, kokum, babassu, coconut & mango butter to name a few. Emollients really are the secret to getting rid of dry skin! Emollients are also good for those with eczema, psoriasis and contact dermatitis. - Use ingredients that are OCCLUSIVES which create an actual barrier to trap and prevent water loss as well as further damage. They physically block water loss! Some of the best include cocoa butter, beeswax, Argan, Jojoba, olive, palm, allantoin, primrose oil, safflower oil, lanolin, capric/caprylic triglyceride, mango butter, rice bran oil and murumuru butter.

DEHYDRATED SKIN What causes dehydrated skin? -Excessive water loss. -Extreme weather or arid conditions. -Lack of water in diet. -Damaged skin barrier. -Lack of sleep. How can you help dehydrated skin? -Drink plenty of water and get your sleep! -Use skin "strengthening products" such as serums containing ingredients that promote elasticity and collagen production. -Use ingredients that are HUMECTANTS. Humectants add water to the skin by drawing our moisture from the air! They do this by bonding to water molecules and drawing water to the skin. Pretty fascinating really. -Look for products with ingredients like aloe, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, honey, panthenol, sorbitol & mango butter to name a few. A lot of times serums and toners have high amounts of humectants in them.


The 3 main groups of moisturizers are emollients, occlusives and humectants but the majority of moisturizers contain some combination of emollients, occlusives and humectants. Emollients can be found in a range of moisturizing products. Lotions being the lightest as they are made with a higher proportion of water, they are thin, absorb fast and are best suited for normal to oily skin types. Cremes containing emollients are made with water, oil and sometimes butters, making them middle range thickness and are thick enough to lock in moisture without leaving a greasy residue. Best suited for normal to dry skin. Balms, butters and ointments have no water and are also considered occlusive emollients which form a protective barrier to lock or seal in moisture. I live in CO and use my whipped body butters all winter long and I do not get dry skin! I use them diligently though, after the shower and before bed. I use balms on my hands and feet before bed too. I never get dry, cracked skin!

In general here are a few tips for your daily routine if you have dry or dehydrated skin...

1) Make sure your cleanser is gentle! Cleansers with harsh ingredients such as sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate, preservatives, exfoliants, strong acids and synthetic fragrances can damage the skin's barrier, making you more prone to losing natural oils and water. Instead, look for gentle all-natural cleansers such as our SHEA BUTTER FACIAL CLEANSING BAR or just plain lukewarm water or use our ARGAN OIL as a super gentle oil cleanser that doesnt clog pores and dissolves impurities while removing makeup and combatting the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles! For the body, skin the liquid body wash and use an all natural body soap bar that has moisturizing butters as oils such as our PEPPERMINT SOAP. There are plenty of all natural bar soaps on the market that are made by handmade artisans! Don't wash with hot water, use more lukewarm water. Some people find that using coconut oil as a cleansing oil is gentle and effective as well.

2) Address signs of dehydration with anti-aging formulas that contain humectants. Since some of the most prominent signs of dehydration are also signs of premature aging, choose products with humectants such as glycerin and aloe, vitamins, hyaluronic acid and anti aging ingredients. Our CUCUMBER & GREEN TEA TONER makes a great mist including humectants and anti-aging ingredients! Use it before you moisturizer. Serums are also great for dehydrated skin types and ours contain anti-aging stem cells as well as aloe, glycerin and hyaluronic acid. We sell a PLANT STEM CELL SERUM and a CBD SERUM.

3) Especially important for dry skin, protect your skin's barrier by using products rich in emollients and occlusives. There are so many incredible plant derived oils and butters that can help! Check out our face cremes and oils here and our body butters here! For cracked skin, like those pesky fingertip cracks, our CALENDULA & COMFREY BALM is an incredible barrier with so many herbs and fatty acids.

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