Dry skin is generally the term that we use to describe our skin when it feels tight and uncomfortable or looks rough and flaky. But did you know that skin dryness and dehydration are in fact two separate things? Understanding why your skin feels dry is the key to understanding how to treat it.
Know the difference
What is the main difference between dry and dehydrated skin? For starters; dry skin is a skin type whereas dehydrated skin is a skin condition. Dry skin is caused by a lack of natural oils while dehydrated skin is a result of lack of moisture.
It is a common misperception that dry skin is caused by a lack of moisture or water when the reality is that dry skin is mainly determined by genetics. Our skin is designed to produce natural oils which form the lipid barrier while also keeping our skin looking healthy and well moisturised. However, in certain individuals, our skin does not produce adequate oils and hence skin becomes dry.
Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is often a result of our lifestyle and external factors which strip the skin of its oils and water from our skin. External factors such as heating, air con and extreme weather conditions can damage the skin barrier leading to water loss which produces results in skin looking dry and dull as well as feeling tight.
How to treat dry or dehydrated skin
To maintain healthy skin and banish dryness, make sure you’re maintaining an optimal balance of both oils and moisture. Remember that when skin is lacking in moisture, it can go into overdrive, producing oil to compensate for the loss of water, which can then cause irritation or breakouts due to blocked pores (and a whole new skin condition to tackle).
In many instances’ prevention is better than a cure – so be delicate with your skin to protect its natural balance. Avoid washing with very hot water or using abrasive materials that might physically remove the skin’s natural oil, such as flannels or loofahs excessively. Wrap up (or cover up) if in very cold or very hot weather and make sure you use body care formulas that are designed to protect and optimise your skin’s health, such as AMELIORATE’s 3 Step System.
What ingredients should you look out for in a moisturiser?
A good moisturiser should have two types of ingredients. Those that protect and repair the natural skin barrier to reduce water from evaporating and those that work to attract and bind water to the skin, known as humectants. The AMELIORATE Transforming Body Cream includes a dose of omega oils, shea butter, cocoa butter and squalene which together meet all the requirements of a good moisturiser and give your skin nourishment and much-needed moisture.
If you suffer from dehydrated skin, avoid using products that contain harsh soaps which can strip natural oils from the skin’s surface, drying it out. Instead, choose a pH-balanced cleanser such as the AMELIORATE Nourishing Body Wash, for a very gentle but effective cleanse. Another great way of avoiding dehydrated skin is by checking the ingredients lists to see whether any alcohol-derivatives are used in the formula. Some can be beneficial to the skin, however, ethanol, SD alcohol, denatured alcohol or isopropyl alcohol should all be avoided.
Top tips for improving skin hydration
There are plenty of other ways you can protect and improve moisture and oils within the skin. Here are our top 5;
- Drink plenty of water!
- Eat a balanced diet including plenty of Omega-rich foods, to fortify the skin’s natural oil barrier
- Choose soft clothing materials such as cotton which don’t irritate the skin, therefore, avoiding flare-ups
- Moisturise skin whilst skin is slightly damp, to lock in water
- Lower central heating or air conditioning where possible
Can AMELIORATE help?
AMELIORATE products are designed specifically for people with dry skin. The active ingredients within our unique Skin Hydration Complex, LaH6, stop water evaporating and draw water to the skin. In our wash off products, skin is moisturised for up to 8 hours whilst with our leave on products – including our cult favourite, AMELIORATE’s Transforming Body Lotion, moisture levels are maintained for up to 24 hours!