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Skincare · February 22, 2018

Ask a Derm: Whats the Difference Between Dry and Dehydrated Skin?

Dehydrated skin lacks water.

Its as simple as that. Anyone and everyones skin can become dehydrated, even if its acne-prone or oily, points out Dr. Henry. It sometimes goes hand-in-hand with overall dehydrationthink after youve had the stomach flu, enjoyed one too many margaritas, or just arent drinking enough water in general. The skin is one of the first places dehydration shows up, Dr. Henry explains. If you arent getting enough water, the body will start to take water from the skin and send it to your other organs. So, along with pounding H2O and eating water-rich foods, applying water-based products is also a good move, she adds. Gel formulas (which consist of mostly water) are a great choice, as are ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which pull water from the air into your skin. Here are a few of our faves:

Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Ultimate Hydro Gel
The name says it all. Ingredients such as Belgian hot spring water and hyaluronic acid make this a great product for dehydrated skin, notes Dr. Henry. Bonus: Gel formulas are also cooling and refreshingour go-to for hot summer days or after a sweaty workout.

Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream
With not one, but two different types of hyaluronic acid, this is a top pick for drawing much-needed water to dehydrated skin, advises Dr. Henry. This particular formula also has exfoliating and brightening ingredients, leaving you with a more hydrated, smoother, and glowier complexion.

Avne Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum
Made with thermal spring water, this also contains glycerin, another great ingredient for pulling water into your skin, Dr. Henry tells us. Plus, the hydration is time-released (translation: it lasts for up to 24 hours). If youre super dehydrated, layer this underneath a water-based cream.

Dr. Jart+ Dermask Vital Hydra Solution Deep Hydration Sheet Mask
Pop on this single-use sheet mask for just 15-20 minutes and reap the (almost) instantaneous hydration benefits. Credit aloe, which is not only supersoothing, but also great at drawing water to your skin, says Dr. Henry.

Dry skin lacks oil.

Our skin naturally produces oil, which helps coat our skin and lock in moisture, explains Dr. Henry. If youre lacking it, dont blame yourself: Dry skin is a skin type thats a result of your genetics. Youre born this way, she explains. While you cant change your genes, you can remedy the situation with the right productsnamely rich, oil-based creams or ones with skin-strengthening ingredients such as ceramides. These products fit the bill:

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream
This fan-favorite is packed with squalene, an oil thats naturally produced by your own skin cells, making it a top pick for anyone dealing with dryness, says Dr. Henry. Need more convincing? This cream has been known to keep ice trekkers skin moisturized (yes, as in Arctic explorers). Sold.

Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream
When the thin skin around your eyes gets dry, any little lines or wrinkles will start to look more noticeableand thats never fun. Reach for this 99 percent natural eye cream; Dr. Henry loves that it has rich jojoba seed oil to combat dryness.

So, how do you know which one you have?

Theres definitely some overlap between the two conditions, but you can look for few key differences. Dehydrated cells are shrunken, so the skin doesnt look as robust. Picture a raisin instead of a grape, explains Dr. Henry. If it seems like you just woke up one day and your face cream suddenly wasnt working, thats likely dehydration, a more temporary concern. On the flip slide, dry skin will look and feel rough and flaky, since its lacking the oil that keeps it nice and plump. And finally, if youre having issues not just on your face, but also on other parts of your bodywhich is commonyoure likely dealing with dryness, a more chronic problem.


Alexis Bridenbaugh