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Should You Moisturise Or Hydrate Your Skin?

June 4, 2020

The right skincare products for the right person; that’s our mantra for healthy skin, and it still applies to when your skin needs a little drink.

The best way to keep your skin healthily hydrated or moisturised will depend on whether it is dehydrated or dry – there is an important difference.

“Dehydrated” means your skin needs water, or a hydrating serum. “Dry” means that your skin is lacking in natural oils, known as sebum, which can be helped with a moisturiser.

How do you know if your skin is dry or dehydrated?

Dry Skin

When your skin produces oil, your pores tend to expand.

“Someone with dry skin won’t have any visible pores,” Senior Clinician Kirsten says, “they’re also more likely to have sensitive skin, or skin that might be red, cracked or sore.” This is because sebum’s purpose in life is to protect the skin, she explains. If your skin is lacking in natural oils, then it’s probably not being protected as well as it could be.

There are five clinical categories used when talking about dry skin:

  • True dry: all areas of the face are lacking in natural oils, no visible pores
  • Combination Dry: some oil on the nose, but the rest of the face is dry
  • Combination: oils in the T-zone (forehead, nose, chin)
  • Combination oily: more oil production than combination, but the sides of the face are dry
  • Oily: there is oil production over the entire face, the skin may feel oily and there may be large pores

Should you moisturise dry skin?

If your skin is dry, moisturisers are often the go-to, and they can help, but Kirsten recommends that you also treat the problem at its root cause. She recommends using serums with ingredients that help your skin regulate its natural oils, such as Vitamin A.

Cleanse first, apply your serums, then moisturise every night.

Should you moisturise oily skin?

BHAs (such as salicylic acid) are an exfoliant that can remove the top layer of dead skin cells so your moisturiser can penetrate, and they’ll help regulate your skin’s natural oils too. Look for them in exfoliating cleansers or leave-on exfoliating serums.

We recommend RejuvAus Clarifying Serum because it has BHAs, AHAs and hydrating properties.

If your skin is oily but dehydrated, you should opt for a hydrating serum. More on that below.

Dehydrated skin

As mentioned above, “dry skin” is lacking in oils, but “dehydrated skin” is lacking in water.

“Most of us have dehydrated skin,” Kirsten says with a laugh. It’s often caused by not drinking enough water or spending time in dry atmospheres with heating or air conditioning.

If you pinch your skin and it crepes like an accordion with lots of little shallow lines, then it’s probably dehydrated. You can normally see the pores on dehydrated skin.

It’s tempting to assume that dehydrated skin needs a moisturiser because moisturisers seal hydration into the skin. This is fine for dry, dehydrated skin, but if your skin is dehydrated and oily, it’s better to opt for a hydrating serum.

How do you hydrate your skin?

“For dehydrated skin, you need a hydrating serum,” Kirsten says. She recommends serums with Hyaluronic Acid, which binds water into the skin, and Vitamin B because it helps support your skin’s natural self-moisturising mechanisms. Hyaluronic Acid occurs in your skin’s natural moisture barrier, so it’s a nice, non-irritating hydrator.

We love RejuvAus Super B Brightening & Hydrating Serum because it has both of these ingredients in one.

Squalene is also an option, and we recommend using a plant-based squalene, normally extracted from olives.

The reason that squalene is such a good hydrator is because it mimics skin’s natural moisturisers (it’s sometimes called “biomimetic” or “skin identical”), so it’s a non-irritating natural hydrator, even when sourced from plants like olives.

Drinking plenty of water and keeping yourself hydrated will also help hydrate your skin.

Would you like to know more about caring for your skin?

Come in for a free consultation with one of our expert Clincians!

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