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  • Oil or Water – an Old Dilemma!

    annet croppedOne of the biggest areas that consumers, beauty editors and even some skin therapists can get muddled over is the misconception surrounding dry and dehydrated skin. More often than not, clients complain that their skin is dry, when really it’s dehydrated. This often results in the wrong product and/or treatment recommendation.

    When you consider that a dry skin (lacking oil/alipoid) can also be dehydrated (lacking in water), and oily skin, which has an abundance of oil, can also be dehydrated, eyes can roll back and heads start to spin! Feel dizzy yet? The fact is that there are some significant differences between the two and because of that, there’s a prime opportunity to educate clients and adjust their regimen.

    Oil and WaterSo how do we decipher the difference?

    Generally, we all suffer from dehydration; the body, after all, is about 75% water and a perfect target for moisture zapping environments. If unaddressed, dehydration can also lead to increased skin sensitivity and inflammation. In the case of oily skin, it can lead to an actual increase in more sebum production. Yep, that alcohol in the drugstore acne product dried your skin out and then made your breakouts worse. But dehydration is a skin condition and can affect any skin type. It’s caused by multiple factors that you should verbally cross check while conducting your consultation or when retailing. For example:

    • Environment: Low humidity, warm and cold weather, air conditioning, sun exposure and flight travel.

    • Products: Stripping cleansers and toners, over exfoliation and makeup.

    • Diet & Lifestyle: Medications, high sodium foods, lack of water consumption, caffeine, soda intake and of course alcohol.

    Dehydrated skin is thirsty skin and needs to be rehydrated while vital moisture is locked in. Start by recommending the following: Gel or cream cleanser; Gentle, daily exfoliant; Hydrating spritz toner; Gel-based masques and concentrated serums with Hyaluronic Acid to layer beneath a medium weight moisturizer.

    True dry skin is a genetic skin type and is not confined to face and hands but experienced over the entire body. The sebaceous glands are smaller and under-active, and the follicle opening is tight and fine. Lines will be more evident, and in winter months the extremities will be itchy and flaky.

    Ask your clients who complain of dry skin whether they experience this even in their hair and scalp. This skin requires oil-rich emollient products to nourish and stimulate. You can recommend: Creamy cleansers; Antioxidant packed toners; Full body exfoliation; Replenishing vitamin-based serums; Eye products and heavy weight moisturizers.

    Whatever the skin dilemma, we welcome it with open arms, hands, eyes and ears! This is our unique role as professional skin therapists—who else can truly guide clients and consumers to their healthiest skin?

    3 Comments

    • Annelie Svensson Says:

      Thank you for a good reminder of this. So important to educate our clients of the difference between dry/dehydration.

      December 8, 2015 at 11:24 am
    • Amy Says:

      If you had a bath what would happen if your skin was not water proof? Most moisturises are water based!!! This is the issue.

      December 9, 2015 at 2:30 am
      • admin's Response:

        Hi Amy!
        Yes most moisturizers are water-based, however if you choose a rich, emollient moisturizer with ingredients like Evening Primrose, Shea Butter and/or Argan Oil for example, it will help to replenish lipid content, which will then help reduce trans epidermal water loss.

        December 9, 2015 at 10:21 am

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