Hydration is a basic tenet of skin health. When moisturized, the skin barrier is strong, and the complexion is plump, smooth, and bright. When dry, the skin barrier is compromised, and the complexion is slack, dull, and prone to premature aging (yes, we’re talking about the early development of fine lines and wrinkles). So, while it might sound cliché, the old adage is worth repeating—hydrated skin is happy skin.

Seeing as the skin is the body’s largest organ, and it protects us from everything we come into contact with throughout our day, including nasty toxins, environmental pollution, and more, it’s critical that we consciously curate our skincare routines to best protect it and maintain it, and hydration is the first and most basic step in that quest.

So, how do you hydrate our skin most effectively? It might sound counterintuitive, but in order to understand skin hydration, you must first understand skin dehydration. It’s like they say, in order to truly recognize something, you have to first be able to recognize its opposite. In this case, that means understanding the difference between dehydration and dryness (because, yes, there’s technically a difference), the causes of skin dehydration, and the products to use to cure it. That’s where we come in. Keep reading to dive into the ins and outs of skin hydration vs. skin dehydration.

The Difference Between Dry Skin and Dehydrated Skin

Although some people use the terms dehydrated and dry interchangeably, many others recognize a difference in between the two words’ meanings. What is that difference? One word refers to a temporary (and fixable) state, while the other refers to an unchanging skin type. Let us explain it further…

Dehydrated skin is temporary. It refers to a lack of water in the skin, and it can be caused by a number of factors, including dry weather, arid environments, lack of proper nourishment, unhealthy lifestyle habits, and using harsh, moisture-stripping skincare products too often. Dry skin is different in that it’s a permanent skin type. It refers to a natural lack of oil, or sebum, produced by the skin.

How to Tell If You Have Dry Skin or Dehydrated Skin

If you’re experiencing flakiness and/or incessant itchiness over the course of weeks and months, it’s likely that you have a naturally dry skin type. With dry skin, people will often notice specific parts of the face stay consistently dry. Most commonly it’s the skin around the mouth and nose and the area that spans across the browbone (just know that having naturally dry skin doesn’t mean you can’t have healthy, glowing skin, too. It comes down to your lifestyle habits and skincare routine (but more on that later).

Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is often characterized by short-term dullness and redness. You will likely feel a sensation of tightness, almost as if your skin is being stretched uncomfortably taut across your face and/or body. If that’s the case, your skin is asking for more moisture, and you can, and should, provide it with moisture in a variety of ways. If you don’t, you’ll likely see the dullness, redness, and sensitivity progress. You might develop uneven, bumpy texture. You might even see premature signs of aging appear, such as sagging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.

How to Turn Dull, Dry, and Dehydrated Skin into Healthy Hydrated Skin

Dehydrated skin can be fixed quite easily once it’s been recognized. Start by eating fruits and vegetables, drinking water, and getting enough sleep each night. These lifestyle habits are extremely important in preserving and promoting the health of the skin and body.

Also be sure to take a look at your current skincare routine. Make sure that you’re only using exfoliants and other reactive skincare products (like those that contain high percentages of vitamin C or retinol) sparingly, because if you’re using them too often, you could be compromising your skin’s natural barrier and thus losing precious hydration.

Your next step is to incorporate hydrating skincare products into your routine. We like those that contain moisture-boosting ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and squalene, all of which provide and/or preserve moisture in the skin.

Squalane is a derivative of squalene, a moisturizing molecule that occurs naturally in our skin. Due to its exceptional moisturizing capabilities, it’s a star ingredient in many skincare products, including the Wake Up Call Overnight Regenerative Facial. This intense overnight moisturizer also includes glycerin, avocado oil, and other moisturizing ingredients to imbue your skin with deep hydration as you sleep.

Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that holds up to 1000 times its own weight in water, keeping the skin plump and hydrated even in the midst of winter. You can find hyaluronic acid, as well as antioxidant-rich kale sprout water and soothing aloe, in Goldfaden’s Mist RX. It’s a super fine face mist that hydrates and refreshes the skin throughout the day.

Glycerin is a humectant, meaning it preserves moisture in the skin. You can find it in Goldfaden’s Detox Hydrating Gel, which is a lightweight moisturizer formulated for people with blemish-prone skin. (It also contains sodium hyaluronate, which is the sodium form of hyaluronic acid and is just as hydrating, and salicylic acid, which is a blemish-fighting exfoliant).

One more thing. Oils trap moisture on the skin, so if your skin is really lacking moisture, consider using an oil-based product as the final step in your skincare routine, because it will secure all of the moisture from the previous skincare products you’ve used underneath. This is why oils are so useful for people with dry skin types, especially. The Fleuressence Native Botanical Cell Oil combines the powers of a number of natural oils, plus free radical-fighting Co-Enzyme Q10 and omega fatty acids to nourish the skin and boost radiance in a big way.

No matter your skin type, know that healthy hydrated skin is possible, and it could be only a few steps away—with healthy habits and proper hydration, that is.

Written by, Kaitlyn McLintock

ABOUT THE WRITER:

Kaitlyn McLintock is a beauty and wellness writer based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in such publications as Popsugar, Byrdie, Hello Giggles, Who What Wear, and more. When she’s not writing, researching, and editing, or testing out the latest skincare and makeup products, she’s drinking coffee and spritzing Goldfaden’s Mist RX all over her skin.

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