Feels dry? Looks dry? You’ve got dry skin. Or have you?
Though both can look and feel similar - tightness, flaking, dullness - there is a fundamental difference between the two which affects how you should tweak your routine to bring your skin back into balance.
Ah, summer. It's finally here. As we happily wave goodbye to the winter that seemed to go FOREVER, we may also be noticing that our skin has emerged looking rather the worse for wear.
If like us you’re a big fan of the hot shower, the snuggly central heating and the odd warming beverage, your skin might have taken a bit of a knock over the colder months.
But before you go plastering on the product, you’ll see better results if you work out if your skin is behaving this way because it’s naturally dry, or just because it’s feeling a little parched.
How can I tell? And what should I do?
Dry skin lacks oil, and dehydrated skin lacks moisture.
Dry skin is a skin type, like oily or combination.
If you have dry skin, it’s likely always been this way (though like everything, there are times when it’s worse than others), and is usually the same all over - from your face to your scalp to your body.
If you’ve got dry skin, you’ll usually find it:
- Feels tight, especially after cleansing
- Can look dull
- Prone to dry, flaky patches
Whilst hydration is important for all skin, the key to balancing dry skin is to add moisture, because it’s your lack of lipids that causes the roughness and flaking.
Your moisturiser needs to be rich enough to penetrate and plump. If your skin is drinking it up as fast as you’re putting it on, you will probably benefit from something with a richer, more creamy texture and/or a serum and moisturiser combination.
Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is a skin condition.
You can have dehydrated skin no matter what your skin type - so you could have oily, dehydrated skin or a lovely double whammy of skin which is dry AND dehydrated (thanks for that, body).
If your skin is dehydrated, it presents in the same way as dry skin, with added “bonuses” like:
- Increased sensitivity
- Shows fine lines
- Over-production of oils (trying to rebalance the lack of water)
- Reactive to products
All kinds of factors can cause and aggravate dehydrated skin, including
- Your diet and water consumption;
- The weather (sun, wind, cold);
- Heating or air conditioning;
- Using the wrong products.
If you suspect your skin is dehydrated, do try and identify the cause and eliminate it if possible - especially if it’s a rogue product.
From personal experience, continued use of something which is causing your skin to first dehydrate and then become increasingly reactive only makes the situation worse over time.
Look out for products which are hydrating and make sure to apply them first, before your moisturiser.
Why? Because in skincare, hydrating your skin means binding water to it, whilst moisturising means stopping the water from leaving it. So you need to add the hydration, and then seal it in.
What else can I do?
Water, water, water…
The good news is that there are some easy wins - the first being just to keep yourself hydrated (that old chestnut ;)
And no single-use plastics please - get yourself a reusable water bottle and drink your 2l a day.
As the body’s largest organ, your skin is the last to absorb the moisture we ingest, so it’s vital to keep yourself topped up.
A good diet
We (mostly) practice an 80/20 rule here at CloudCloth® HQ, aiming for lots of green veg, lean proteins and good fats in our diet. With additional chocolate. And cake.
Check out our Insta feed for tips on the best foods for your skin.
Use sun protection
UVA rays are the main culprit in skin’s sun-related woes, so use sun protection with a good UVA filter to stave off those naughty free radicals.
Turn the temperature down
Try and stick to warm water rather than hot, and don’t stay in for too long, especially if you live in an area with hard water.
Unfortunately, as well as ruining your kettle, the limestone also sucks moisture from your skin.
Look out for Hyaluronic Acid in your Products
A big favourite of ours, hyaluronic acid is a moisturising agent which is naturally present in our bodies, meaning there’s less chance of a reaction.
It’s particularly good at keeping moisture in the skin, and it helps prevent the signs of ageing - so it’s a win-win in our book.
Exfoliate - Gently
Dry or dehydrated skin needs extra TLC, but those extra dead skin cells and flakes need to be removed to reveal fresh, healthy skin beneath.
Ditch the scrubs and opt for a gentle cleansing cloth, like our very own CloudCloth®.
Designed with 2 sides; one cloud-soft and gentle enough for even the most delicate skin and one to buff and polish, it’s ideal for helping restore your healthy, radiant glow.