Think you have oily skin? Turns out it might actually be dehydrated

Your shine could be a sign...

27 Sep 2018

It can be incredibly difficult to tell what skin type you have without visiting a dermatologist, which is why many of us often misdiagnose. Not to mention our skin is very susceptible to change and won't sit in the same skin type box forever.

One such common mistake people make is automatically thinking they have an oily skin type at the first sign of oil. But your shine could actually be a sign of dehydration...

What is dehydrated skin?

Contrary to what you may assume, dehydrated skin isn't necessarily 'overly dry' skin. "Dehydrated skin can be oily, combination, or normal skin type that is lacking water and feels tight", says Patricia Boland, International skin educator and lead product developer at Colorescience UK. "Dehydrated skin is a skin condition, lacking water content, but may still produce oil."

"It can also be over-producing oil to compensate for the lack of moisture in the skin, which is why dehydrated skin can be easily mistaken for oily skin."

In fact, those with acne-prone or oily skin are more likely to suffer from dehydration, as they often choose to use harsh products which strip the skin of moisture.

How can you tell if you have dehydrated skin?

Telltale signs of dehydrated skin include dullness, tightness, increased sensitivity, rough texture, dark undereye circles and fine lines.

"If your skin is severely dehydrated it may also have flaky patches in the dryer areas", says Patricia.

But as we've learnt, it's also very possible to be oily at the same time. So in order to tell the difference and determine your skin type/concern, Patricia recommends this easy 3-step test:

  1. Check to see how your skin feels. If your skin feels tight it’s likely to be dry, while oily skin will feel greasy and shiny all over.
  2. Examine your pores. We all have visible pores no matter our skin type, but the size and how often they get clogged can tell you a lot. Typically, large clogged pores around the nose are an indicator of oily skin, while people with dry skin will have small pores that feel tight.
  3. Think about how often you need to moisturise. If you have oily skin, you may not moisturise or use as much, as you may find it makes your skin even oilier and shiny. With dry skin, you may find you are needing to apply it regularly to keep skin feeling hydrated.

And if you're still confused, Patricia also has this handy hint for recognising the difference between oily skin and dry skin that's producing oil: "Oily skin types normally produce oil all throughout the day, with the T-zone being most affected. Whereas oil production in dry skin usually comes into play after exfoliating or using a scrub, which will cause the skin to be irritated."

How to fix dehydrated skin

If you suspect you have dehydrated skin from your testing, you may want to look at switching up your skincare routine.

Patricia recommends washing with a gentle cleanser and adding a hyaluronic acid serum before moisturiser. "This is an extremely effective way to replenish dehydrated skin, and will help retain moisture keeping skin soft and pillowy."

You could also try an overnight hydrating treatment like Olay Regenerist Overnight Miracle Firming Mask (£29.99) for some serious moisture, or massaging in an oil pre-bed.

It could also be handy to keep a hydrating mist on your desk or in your handbag to combat air-conditioning. Patricia recommends the Colorescience Hydrating Mist (£25.95), which includes ingredients such as chamomile and ylang-ylang to help hydrate, calm and soothe the skin.

In terms of lifestyle, caffeine and alcohol are the main culprits of dehydrated skin. Bloody typical.

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