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Your Oily Skin Could Be Dehydrated - Here's How to Find Out

Oily, dehydrated, normal, dry - the differences between these skin types and conditions are obvious, right? Wrong!

In fact, there’s actually a TON of confusion here. Dehydrated skin can often masquerade as oily skin, and even people who do have an oily skin type may be also dealing with dehydration (what?!). All this confusion leads to ineffective treatments and more problems - after all, if you don’t understand what’s really going on, you’re probably not using the right skincare to address the issue.

Let’s clear up the confusion and give you a game plan that will work.

The Differences Between Dry, Dehydrated, and Oily Skin

dehydrated dry oily skin DAYDREAMER - Restorative Organic Moisturizer - Hyaluronic Acid

Let’s start with the basics of dry, oily, and dehydrated skin:

  • Dry skin: Now, you may have circumstantial dry skin - because of, say, harsh skin care products or a sunburn - or you may have a dry skin type. Dry skin type produces little to no oil. If you have dry skin, you may often notice almost invisible pores, red patches, reduced elasticity, dull complexion, and visible lines. The skin may also be consistently dry and flaky.
  • Oily skin:If you really have an oily skin type, you’ll notice significant shine all over your face along with possible breakouts. You may also notice enlarged pores and a dull, shiny, or thick complexion. Not sure if your skin is dry, oily, or something else? You can find a comprehensive guide to identifying your skin type here.
  • Dehydrated skin:This is not a skin type - it’s a skin condition. You can actually have dehydrated skin if your skin type is oily, dry, normal, or combination! And that’s where the confusion can really begin.

The Confusion: Dehydrated Skin Is Mistaken For Oily

The confusion comes with dehydrated skin. Dehydrated skin is oily, dry, combination, or normal skin that lacks water and feels tight. Any skin type can dehydrate, and dehydrated skin can still produce (or overproduce) oil.

In fact, this is usually what happens. Because your skin is severely lacking water, it will usually over-produce oil to compensate for the lack of moisture. That’s why dehydrated skin can be easily misdiagnosed as oily skin.

What’s more - if you do have oily skin, it’s actually most likely to also be dehydrated. Why? People with oily skin types tend to use the harshest and most stripping skincare products to manage their oil and dry out blemishes, and they don’t usually use enough moisturizer to balance things out and replace the lost water content.

The result? Oily and dehydrated skin that is completely out of whack and totally difficult to treat. That’s how many women end up feeling like no matter what they do, the problem keeps getting worse.

Luckily, there’s a solution.

The Solution: Identify and Treat

Step 1: Identify the Problem 

First, you have to identify the root of the problem. If you think you may have a truly oily skin type, you can find out for sure here.

Alternatively, if you think that your skin is dehydrated, you can do a simple test to confirm:grab a magnifying mirror and pinch your forehead very gently, using your pointer and middle fingers. If you notice a shiny, crinkly effect (like there’s a layer of Saran wrap on your skin) then it’s likely dehydrated. If you’re still not sure, you can repeat the process on other areas of your face, though the forehead is where dehydration is usually most visible.

You may also notice common symptoms like tightness and sensitivity.

Step 2: Treat

Treatment for Oily Skin

Having oily skin does not mean that you should skimp out on moisturizers or other hydrating products. In fact, not applying enough moisturizer will make your skin overcompensate and produce even more oil.

That’s why it’s important for those with an oily skin type to maintain a comprehensive skincare regimen that includes - at the very least - a cleanser, an exfoliant, a moisturizer, and sunscreen.

  • Use a moisturizer that contains humectants like hyaluronic acid - but that's non-comedogenic, oil-free, and silicone-free. You may be better off sticking to lighter formulas like serums, gels, and lotions.
  • Consider incorporating an AHA like glycolic acid to reduce oil production and prevent clogged pores.

And always avoid harsh scrubs and overly-rich products like shea butter or coconut oil.

Treatment for Dehydrated Skin

Treating dehydrated skin starts from within: you have to make sure to keep your body hydrated by consuming enough water (either drinking it or making sure that you incorporate foods with high water content, like watermelon and cucumber).

In terms of topical treatments, it’s important to incorporate serums or moisturizersrich in water-soluble humectants like hyaluronic acid, aloe, or glycerin.Yes, oil products are great and they do help add nutrients, balance the skin, and lock in moisture, but you must use humectants AND oils to actually add moisture and seal it in.If you use oils alone, you will not get the water content that your dehydrated skin needs to recover.

Also, be sure to avoid products with denatured alcohol, alcohol SD or ethanol (they’re different names for the same thing) as an active ingredient. This type of alcohol dries out the skin and any moisture along with it, and it’s usually hiding in more products than you may think.

If you still have questions about your skin type, skin concerns, or the right products for you, feel free to reach out here.