Do I have dry or dehydrated skin?

If the skin feels dry, it should be applied as richly as possible, right? Not necessarily, because there is a big difference between dehydrated and dry skin. Even if both feel the same, they require very different care. Dry skin needs oil, dehydrated skin needs water. what does your skin need This post is right for you if...

  • you cream and cream, but your skin doesn't get smoother.
  • you are surprised that your skin is getting drier overall.
  • your skin feels parched and kinda greasy at the same time.

Habe ich trockene oder feuchtigkeitsarme Haut? | Five Skincare

Photo by Sunny Ng on Unsplash

Lack of moisture does not only affect dry skin types

Some people already had dry skin when their friends were annoyed about puberty pimples. For others, the feeling that the skin lacks moisture sets in later. The typical signs include tightness, brittle or even scaly areas, itching, fine dry lines and a lack of elasticity.

The moisture balance can get mixed up with every skin type. This not only applies if the skin produces too little fat, i.e. with tdry skin type. Also normal skin, oily skin and Combination skin can sometimes feel dry. We then speak of dehydrated skin that temporarily lacks water.

The causes are just as varied as the demands that the skin places on its care. Therefore, learn to understand how you can optimally support your skin! That's what this article is for.

☝️ Does your skin lack moisture because it produces too little oil or because it is dehydrated? Both feel very similar, but need completely different care. So get to the bottom of it!

This is how the skin retains moisture

Moisture is essential for every skin. That's why it's important to understand how your skin retains water. It binds moisture with a combination of water-loving substances. The skin's humectant consists of amino acids, glycerin, hyaluronic acid and more and is called NMF for Natural Moisturizing Factor. You can think of these substances as little magnets in your skin that attract and hold water.

But if the pull is too strong, something will fall off a magnet. We may also secure particularly important items with a strip of Tesa. The skin is very similar. She protects her water twice with the skin barrier. This protective layer of corneal cells cemented with lipids seals the lower layers of the skin and prevents excessive evaporation.

☝️ You want to know exactly? With the article How does my skin retain moisture? you delve deeper into the topic.

One problem, two causes

There are two factors that ensure the moisture content of your skin.On the one hand, there is the presence of enough "water magnets". On the other hand, there is an intact skin barrier that regulates the moisture content of the lower layers of the skin. If one of them does not fit, or both, the transepidermal water loss (TEWL) increases. The problem can therefore be traced back to various causes: a disturbed barrier or an NMF that is too low or both together.

That's why there are two different approaches to cosmetics: rich products with an emphasis on oils (for the skin barrier) and feather-light water-based hydration (for the natural moisturizing factor). That doesn't make it any easier at first. Because which of these is right for you? Get to the bottom of the problem. Determine if your skin is dehydrated or dry.

☝️ The difference between dry and dehydrated skin - we often encounter these terms in cosmetics, but they can be confusing. Let's clear it up for a moment: Dry is in contrast to oily skin. Low moisture, on the other hand, refers to a lack of water.

Dry skin

This is actually barrier-impaired skin. The lack of moisture is caused by too few skin fats (lipids). A very good indicator of whether this applies to you is your skin type. If you already always had dry skin, then that is a predisposition. With this skin type, the sebaceous glands do not produce enough oil to maintain the barrier. However, impurities and clogged pores are the exception here.

In order to eliminate the cause, dry skin needs oil-based care. Vegetable oils are best. The skin can use these skin-like lipids to build up its barrier. This can not be done overnight. Patience and continuity are required here.

Also do without emulsifiers. Their job is to combine fat and water in products. But they also do that on the skin. Here, the next time you wash, they couple lipids from the protective layer with the tap water and hey presto, down the drain!

🌟 Care tip: A natural facial oil helps to repair the barrier. You can simply apply it to damp skin to hydrate it. But until the barrier is more stable, it needs extra moisture. Now also use a moisturizing serum with hyaluron and glycerin - which help to store more water. The care result can thus be significantly improved.

Dehydrated skin

Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, either lacks the ability to bind water or lacks water supply. can affect all skin types. Even an oily complexion and impurities, especially underlayers, often go hand in hand with dehydration. The skin tries to compensate for the lack of moisture by increasing lipid production. In the absence of water, however, the sebum is very viscous and cannot drain off. This is how impurities are formed.

So if you have oily skin that still feels kind of dry, that's a clear sign of a lack of moisture. It is not uncommon for scaly skin to occur because the renewal of the horny layer requires a certain water level.But what are the causes?

Water shortage caused by environmental factors

Even a "well oiled", intact skin barrier has a hard time with external influences such as heat, wind or heating air It cannot absorb moisture from dry ambient air. Without water-based care, it therefore dehydrates.

🌟 Care tip: The same circumstances that dry out your skin, specifically with a moisturizing serum. Use oil very sparingly, especially in hot weather.

Lack of water due to an unfavorable care routine

Unfortunately, dehydration can also be homemade. Let's look at the two biggest skin care mistakes that contribute to this!

  • Number 1 is facial cleansing with soaps and surfactants. They are specially designed to loosen fat. We are often told that we have to lather thoroughly several times a day and rinse off with plenty of water - you will know this especially with oily, impure skin. However, studies show that the combination of lipid loss and water significantly reduces skin hydration. It can take hours for their moisture balance to return to normal1.2. Incidentally, this also applies to excessive washing with just water3. Less is more here!

    🌟 Tip: Clean gently! Only with lukewarm water or, if you can't do without, with a very mild natural cosmetic wash gel. The surfactants used in it are gentler than in conventional products. Generally avoid strong foaming cleaning products! And make-up is best removed with a little oil.

  • Number 2 are drying ingredients. Some hydrating care products contain alcohols. They create the feather-light texture we love. And they make the barrier permeable so that active ingredients can enter the skin. However, this is not a one-way street. This also causes more water to escape.

    🌟 Tip: Avoid products that contain alcohol, Alcohol denat., Ethanol or Wine spirit. Instead, use serums that provide plenty of moisture with plant hydrosols, glycerin and hyaluronic acid.

Lack of water in mature skin

Decreasing elasticity also indicates a lack of water in the skin. Now I don't want to fool you that you can turn back time with a super moisturizer - although that would be really great! But it definitely helps to prevent premature skin aging or to slow down the process. Very important: be consistent and don't wait too long! If the skin is well cared for over years or decades, it shows gratitude.

But why is it that mature skin becomes dehydrated? It stores less water and it evaporates faster. There are several reasons for this:

  • The connective tissue can absorb less water than before.
  • At the same time, the amino acid content in the horny layer is reduced and with it the NMF4.
  • The skin becomes thinner and sebum production decreases, which weakens the skin barrier.
  • Regeneration is also slowed down. The skin takes longer to recover from harmful care and cleaning substances.

🌟 Care tip: Mature skin needs the full program of oil and moisture.

  • Rely on high-quality care oils (summer) or even richer balms (winter), which nourish your skin barrier with the urgently needed fatty acids because these become rare over time in the skin5.
  • Complement the oil care with a moisturizing serum with hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which bind a lot of water.

Conclusion: fat, moisture or both?

Oil alone is not enough to finally get your dry skin soft and supple. Get to the bottom of it and give it what it really needs. What signs do you see in yourself and what do they indicate? Let's recap.

  • Has your skin always been dry? Then stick to an oil-based regimen that you top off with a moisturizer.
  • If you've only had dry skin for a while, get rid of products and habits that disrupt the barrier and give it plenty of moisture.
  • If your skin is dehydrated and oily at the same time, it probably just lacks moisture.
  • Pamper mature skin with the full range of oil and moisture.

A good supply of moisture is therefore useful for all skin types and becomes more and more important with increasing age. Your skin's needs change over time. So listen to your instincts and keep adjusting your care routine.

All the best!
Your Anna


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"No cream should have more ingredients than you can count on one hand."

Anna Pfeiffer