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Could You Be Moisturizing Your Skin Without Hydrating it — What’s the Difference?

November 10, 2021 By

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize…that is the one beauty tip agreed on since the beginning of time. And it should be, moisturizing is necessary to keep your skin looking plump and supple. 

But did you know: all the moisturizing in the world will not HYDRATE your skin? 

Dry Skin vs. Dehydrated Skin

Both dry and dehydrated skin can look dull or cause itchiness. So it is very easy to confuse the two. However, dry skin is a skin type. Meaning you can treat it, but you can’t change it.

There Are 4 Skin Types:

• Dry skin
Oily skin
Normal skin
Combination skin

skin type

Each type refers to the amount of oil naturally produced by your sebaceous glands. Dry skin, of course, produces the least amount of oil, which can lead to scaly, flaky, or irritated skin. Moisturizing dry skin helps form a protective barrier to make up for the lack of natural oils.

Dehydrated skin is not lacking oil…it’s lacking water.  

And while dry skin and dehydrated skin sometimes look the same, dehydrated skin takes it to a whole new level.

Dehydrated Skin Can:

• Accentuate dark circles
Make eyes appear sunken
• Exaggerate shadows
• Increase the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles 

The good news is, dehydrated skin is a direct result of environment and lifestyle — which means, unlike dry skin, you CAN change it! 

dry skin effects

How Do I Know If I Have Dry Skin or Dehydrated Skin?

The “Plump Pinch” Test

You can determine if your skin is dry vs. dehydrated with a simple test. No tools necessary, and you can do it in the comfort of your own home. Gently pinch the thickest part of your cheek. If there is any wrinkling or delay in the skin bouncing back, your skin is dehydrated.

cheek wrinkles

Turns Out My Skin is Dehydrated, Now What?

Simply splashing water on your face is not going to do the trick. You need to get deep into the dermal layers to hydrate your skin and stimulate your body’s natural process of keeping skin looking youthful, smooth, and plump.

How Do I Hydrate My Skin?

• Drink water: This amount can be different for everyone depending on size, diet, and lifestyle, but a good rule of thumb is 2-liters. Yes, think of that 2-liter soda bottle at the grocery store, you should be drinking at least that much water throughout the day.
• Sleep: Conventional wisdom says 8 hours, but anywhere from 7-9 is best, and that depends on you! Less than 7 hours, however, can negatively affect your body’s natural functions. It won’t just slow your focus and brain activity, it will also slow your metabolism and a host of other things. Get that beauty rest!
Limit caffeine, alcohol, and avoid smoking altogether: I’m not here to preach to you about vices, but, caffeine is a diuretic that speeds up water loss, alcohol causes inflammation that can seriously deplete your skin, and smoking contains toxins that damage collagen and elastin, constricts blood flow to your cells, and also contains a diuretic, not to mention all the damage it can do to the rest of your body. Everything in moderation, and if/when you can, avoid it altogether.
Balance your diet: water-rich foods can hydrate you just as well as water. Many fruits and vegetables are packed with high water content. Examples are: cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, grapes, zucchini, bell peppers, and so many more.

Environmental Factors Can Also Play a Part, Such As:

Excessive sun exposure
Harsh winds
Cold weather

And here’s an easy step to remember that combats all three: protect yourself!

Always wear an SPF, even on cloudy days, cold days, and days you spend inside. Window panes do not completely block out UV rays. And while cloud cover seems like it’s blocking the sun, UV rays can reflect and refract while traveling through clouds and actually become stronger and more damaging once they reach you on the ground.

For harsh winds, pull your collar up or wrap a scarf lightly around your face — face masks can serve a dual purpose here — even in hot weather. If the winds are fierce, you want to block them from whipping your most sensitive skin.

In the cold, bundle up! It’s easy to wear mittens, hats, and coats while leaving your face completely exposed. Use the same tips for harsh winds to protect yourself from cold temps as well.

wind skin

Does Age Play a Factor in Dehydrated Skin?

The truth is, as you age, your skin loses water content, no matter how diligent you are with your lifestyle choices and how good you are at protecting yourself from the elements. 

When you’re young, your cells are 75% water. That plummets to 50% in adulthood and continues to decrease the older you get. 

So even if you passed the “plump pinch” test above, it’s a good practice to hydrate your skin now to combat the signs of aging.  

The #1 Hydrating Skin Care Tip

As discussed above, moisturizers are a vital part of your skin care routine. But, to truly hydrate your skin, your moisturizer needs to be packed with

Humectants draw moisture from below the skin and bring it to the surface, increasing hydration throughout all the layers of skin. They also delay that moisture from evaporating, prolonging your skin’s hydration. So while you should always be drinking water, you’ll see the most benefits of that water on your skin by pairing it with a humectant. 

The Most Popular Humectants Found in Skin Care Are:

• Hyaluronic Acid:
A molecule, already in your skin, that binds water to collagen keeping your skin plump and hydrated
• Glycol: A chemical compound that binds moisture to the skin and prevents water loss.
• Glycerin: A plant-derived liquid that draws moisture from the deeper layers to the skin’s surface.
• Amino Acids: The building blocks of proteins like elastin and collagen, which keep your skin plump and youthful.
• Peptides: Chains of amino acids that can stimulate collagen production.
• Aloe Vera: Gel from the plant can draw moisture from the environment and bind it to your skin.

Any moisturizer with these added ingredients can help hydrate your skin. 

cruelty-free skin care products

And if you want to truly amp up your hydration levels, add an oil to your routine. Oils penetrate deeper into the skin than creams or lotions, pulling more water to the surface and helping to plump up the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leaving your skin smooth, youthful, supple, and bright.

Dehydrated skin can increase the telltale signs of aging. And while you can’t stop aging, you can slow the visual effects of the aging process. Inside you are beautiful, youthful, and buoyant. Follow these hydrating tips to keep your outside matching your inside and stay beautiful. 


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dry skin tips