What’s Your Skin Condition? Demystifying Dehydration & Sensitivity
If you read yesterday’s post about skin types, you should already know whether you’re dry, normal, oily or combination.
But that’s not all – there is another factor that impacts how your skin behaves and the routine you should use. Let’s talk about skin conditions.
What are skin conditions?
Think of a skin condition as a temporary state or issue your skin is experiencing at a certain time, on top of your regular skin type. If your skin often feels intensely parched and flaky, or sometimes produces a lot of excess oil, you could be experiencing dehydration. Dehydration makes fine lines more pronounced, and your skin will not feel smooth or supple. If your skin also stings or has blotchy patches or diffuse redness, it may be sensitised. These are all skin conditions, which are temporary skin concerns that are treatable.
The most common skin condition you hear about is dehydration.
Dehydrated skin lacks water (as opposed to dry skin which lacks oil, remember?). It gets confusing because the dry skin type and dehydrated skin condition co-exist a lot of the time. This is because it’s the job of our skin’s natural oils and other natural moisturising factors that live between our skin cells to trap water deep in the skin. For those with dry skin and less of these oils to lock in the water, the skin is far more prone to losing this moisture to evaporation. These people might suffer from eczema and dermatitis, rough, peeling and cracking skin, and a tight burning sensation, especially in the winter months.
However many people, myself included, experience dehydration as overly oily skin. When I suffered from this, my skin felt rough, tight and dry but illogically would get greasy really quickly. Once I started to treat my skin with moisture and gentle care instead of stripping it dry, the oil production quickly settled down. I now have a far more balanced skin type.
I believe many people are also experiencing a dehydrated skin CONDITION and mistaking it for a very oily skin TYPE. Do you see excess oil during the day, but have a rough or irritated skin texture and it seems that light moisturisers and foaming or gel cleansers are only making your skin feel drier and look shinier faster? Consider going against your instincts and treating your skin for dehydration.
Sensitive skin (apart from actual allergies) is often very dehydrated skin, rather than a skin type in its own right. Such sensitivity is caused by long-term dehydration from improper, harsh skin care. This can include habits like over-cleansing and using products containing irritating plant extracts or alcohol. Repeated irritation and dehydration in this way can sensitise the skin to the most bland moisturisers – even plain water! Are you are using bar soap or body wash on your face, washing more than twice daily, using hot shower water, or not using a moisturiser? If so, and you believe that your skin is ‘sensitive’, it could be that it just needs to be treated with a little more care.
How do I treat these issues?
The treatment for dehydration and sensitivity entails using a gentle, fragrance free, non-foaming cleanser (I’d recommend something creamy like Neutrogena Ultra Gentle or a micellar water) and a moisturiser containing water-binding ingredients. These pull water from the deeper layers of your skin to the outer skin cells. Two popular ones are hyaluronic acid and glycerin, found in many moisturisers. I personally use Hada Labo Premium Lotion, a watery serum that sinks in fast and makes your skin feel super plump. You should then trap this all in whenever possible with an occlusive layer, like Vaseline, to prevent evaporation (trans-epidermal water loss) ruining all your hard work.
If you feel like your skin has issues beyond skin type, like rough texture or irritation, you might suffer from a skin condition. The two most common skin conditions are DEHYDRATED and SENSITIVE skin, both of which can be caused by harsh treatment (such as using products like baking soda), irritating ingredients and improper moisturisation.
I hope you learnt something new from this post. Be sure to comment with your thoughts below! You can also subscribe to my mailing list so you get my posts in your inbox each week. See you next time!