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Do You Really Have Oily Skin?

How to differentiate 'oily' from 'dehydrated.'
PHOTO: istockphoto

You've read all the oily skin signs—enlarged pores, excessive shine, and a greasy T-zone—and you've even taken the test, but what if we told you that you could be mistaken? That what you assume to be oily skin is actually something else entirely?

There's one option you might not have considered because it's synonymous to dryness: Dehydrated skin. In reality, it's not a skin type but a skin condition wherein "somehow the skin has been altered and affected and has lost its ability to retain moisture," but it can still produce oil, leading to over-production to compensate for the loss of water. [via XOJane, Byrdie]

So how can you find out—once and for all—if you truly have a dehydrated complexion? Read below for the five things to look out for.

1. It feels oily and dry at the same time

Like we mentioned above, because your skin lacks water, it's trying to make up for it by producing more sebum. We suggest taking a blotting sheet to remove the excess oil in your skin, and once it's gone, take note if it feels dry and tight.


2. It has flaky patches

If you've never experienced having flaky skin before, this could be a good indicator that your complexion is dehydrated.

3. Your dark circles are more pronounced

Have you been getting enough sleep lately? If you answered yes to that but have noticed that your eye bags are darker and your complexion is grayer, it's a telltale sign of having dehydrated skin as it's associated with a dull and tired complexion.

4. Fine lines have popped up

This could especially be alarming if you're just in your 20s, but keep in mind that wrinkles are also easier to spot. If you're not sure, try the turgor test: Lightly pinch a piece of your cheek and pull it up a bit, then after a few seconds let go. If the skin bounces back, you're in the clear! But if it takes time to settle back down, then it's dehydrated.

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5. It's more sensitive

Since one of the leading causes of dehydrated skin is the use of products with harsh chemicals, one of the major effects is increased sensitivity, according to The International Dermal Institute. If this sounds familiar to you, we recommend you change your skincare routine and try products that are gentle and have a water base. 

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