Dehydrated Skin vs. Dry Skin: Top 7 Tips To Hydrate Your Skin

Dehydrated Skin vs. Dry Skin: Top 7 Tips To Hydrate Your Skin

You must have heard the terms' dry' and 'dehydrated' often used interchangeably. There are pretty good chances that you often thought of these two conditions as being synonymous. But, sorry folks, you are wrong this time. Dry and dehydrated skin is not the same thing.

Both conditions share some similar characteristics, but there lies a significant albeit important difference in skin conditions when it comes to skincare. Dry skin is a skin type like normal, combination or oily skin, but dehydrated skin is a skin condition that can happen to anyone.

It is essential to decode the significant differences between these two skin conditions for optimal treatment. Dermatologists and skincare experts have studied the differences between these two terms and suggest different strategies to treat them.

Let's dive deep to discover major differences and skincare solutions to treat these two conditions for moisturized and radiant skin.

In this article, we will discuss:

Let's talk about dehydrated skin first?

Dehydration is a condition when your skin lacks water or it is low in moisture. It is usually caused by external conditions such as extreme temperature, environmental change, dietary habits, excess consumption of caffeine, drinking alcohol and smoking.

Do you know? Smoking significantly affects your skin, making it more dry, saggy, and aged. Here's how.


Let's talk about dehydrated skin first?

An efficient stratum corneum (the outer layer of the skin) should have 10-15% of water content, essential to maintain the skin's healthy barrier function.

(Also, understand different layers of skin.)

If this percentage drops, your skin becomes dehydrated, making your skin barrier function weaker and prone to environmental irritants. Your skin will start to produce excess oil to compensate for water loss, making it oily and acne-prone.

So, please don't confuse; dehydration can happen to any skin type person whether it is dry, oily, normal or combination. It is quite possible that you can either have oily and dehydrated skin or dry and dehydrated skin at the same time.

Now, what is dry skin?

Dry skin is a skin type, which is purely genetic. You are naturally born with this skin type. Dryness usually occurs all over your body, from skin, hair and nails to your hands and feet.

If you have dry skin, it means your skin lacks oil and lipids, producing less sebum. Oils and lipids are required to retain moisture and build a protective shield against environmental aggressors.


Now, what is dry skin?

According to the American College of Dermatology, aging (older adults above 40 years), certain medications, hormonal imbalance, thyroid, diabetes, vitamin deficiency, extreme temperature, lifestyle habits and exposure to sun radiations can cause the skin to become excessively dry.

Related- What are the pros and cons of sun exposure?

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

Not sure whether you are struggling with dryness and dehydration? Here are some signs and characteristics which can help to identify whether you are dealing with dry or dehydrated skin:

Characteristics of dry skin:

Characteristics of dehydrated skin:

  • Your skin looks dull

  • Your skin becomes more sensitive

  • Your skin feels tight and quickly form fine lines

  • Your skin looks shiny with no visible oil

  • Your skin shows accelerated signs of ageing, like sagging skin and deep wrinkles

Still unsure? You can do the famous pinch test to determine whether you are suffering from dehydration or not:

  • Cleanse your face and gently pinch a small section of your cheek

  • Hold for a few seconds and leave it.

  • If your skin snaps back and holds its shape then, it is not dehydrated. But, if it takes a few seconds to bounce back despite applying gentle pressure, then you are likely to be dehydrated.


pinch test to determine whether you are suffering from dehydration or not

How to treat dehydrated skin?

Dehydrated skin is a temporary condition and luckily can be treated by maintaining adequate hydration inside out. You should follow a skincare routine with products specially formulated to keep your water levels. Below are some effective tips to relieve your dehydrated skin:

  • Cleanse your face with a gentle foaming face wash to clear all impurities and hydrate your skin without stripping off moisture.

  • Don't leave the skin bare for more than 60 seconds after cleansing, and use an alcohol-free toner. Check more about face toner here!

  • Avoid harsh scrubs and gently exfoliate to remove dead and dehydrated skin cells. Wondering- how to remove dead skin cells from the face easily? Click here.

  • Look for serums that contain hyaluronic acid, ceramides and niacinamide, the best ingredients for dehydrated skin. These ingredients bind water making your skin plump, dewy and healthy.

  • Always use moisturizers that contain humectants such as glycerin, allantoin, algae extract, aloe vera, cucumber extract and sodium hyaluronate that draws water from the dermis (lower layer) to the epidermis (upper layer). Here are some facts you should know about hyaluronic acid.


How to treat dehydrated skin?

  • Choose eye creams or gels which are free of alcohol and sulfates, which prevents unnecessary dehydration.

  • Replenish and restore natural skin barrier by using antioxidants rich products and foods. Here are 15 antioxidant-rich foods you should include in your diet.

How to treat dry skin?

Dry skin is your skin type and is permanent. Therefore, it cannot be cured; however, it is possible to treat it by retaining moisture. It is recommended to incorporate skincare products that moisturize and provide nourishment for relieving dry skin.

  • Begin by cleansing with a mild cleansing lotion formulated for your skin type. These lotions are soothing for dry and itchy skin.

  • Use gentle AHA (such as lactic acid and glycolic acid), which deeply exfoliates while improving the production of intracellular lipids such as collagen and maintaining healthy skin barrier function. Know the 10 unbeatable benefits of AHA for the skin.

  • Nourish your dry skin with an ultra-hydrating moisturizer with a combination of protectants and emollients. Emollients will help to replenish the skin's natural moisture reservoir and restores the skin barrier function.


How to treat dry skin?


  • Always include a moisturizing skin serum before layering moisturizer for an added boost of hydration and nourishment.

  • Don't skip under-eye cream-gel, as the under-eye area is delicate and susceptible to age-related concerns such as dark circles, puffiness and fine lines. Optimum moisturizing formula will provide deep hydration and improve the texture of under-eye skin.

  • Apply night cream rich in retinol, peptides daily, which repairs, hydrates and rejuvenates deeply to ensure proper nourishment. Here's a complete guide to a night skincare routine.

  • If you have dry hands and feet, use an effective hand and foot cream. These creams are enriched with ingredients such as petroleum jelly and specially formulated to calm dry, irritated skin. Also, learn some foot care tips for healthy and beautiful feet.

7 Important tips to prevent dry and dehydrated skin

Following a specific skincare routine as per your skin needs is essential for treating dry and dehydrated skin. But, it would be best if you also addressed your lifestyle habits for boosting your overall skin health. Keep reading for some additional tips that will keep your skin healthy and prevent both dryness and dehydration.

Tip#1 You should keep yourself hydrated and drink at least eight glasses of water a day, no matter what your skin type is. Also, incorporate water-rich foods into your diet, including strawberries, watermelon, and cucumber. [Related: Balanced Diet- A Key To Healthy Living]


7 Additional tips to prevent dry and dehydrated skin

Tip#2 Be prepared for the change in weather and season and design your skincare routine accordingly.

Tip#3 Always use sun sunscreen while getting outdoors to protect your skin from sun damage. You should apply sunscreen correctly to ensure maximum protection from the sun. Here's how.

Tip#4 Use a humidifier for your room during the winter season


7 Additional tips to prevent dry and dehydrated skin

Tip#5 Avoid certain habits that make your skin prone to dehydration and worsen your dryness, such as hot water showers, excessive washing, and heaters in winters.

Tip#6 Lower caffeine and alcohol consumption which depletes the water content of your skin and make it prone to dryness

Tip#7 Always try to use paraben, sulphate and fragrance-free skincare products

There is a lot more about avoiding dry skin; you can read it here.

Bottom line

By now, you must have learnt the difference between dry and dehydrated skin. It is essential to use a specific skincare routine and products as per the needs of the skin. Therefore, you must provide the optimum care and use personalized combos explicitly designed for dry and dehydrated skin to achieve the desired results.

Although skin care regimen and products are equally important, you should not forget the importance of a healthy diet. You should be conscientious about what you are putting in and on your body. Eating a healthy diet and keeping your body and skin hydrated is the key to maintain healthy and youthful skin. Remember, healthy skin always beautiful.

If you desire picture perfect glowing skin, check out some natural tips for healthy and radiant skin.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  1. Why my face is suddenly dry?

Your face may have sudden dryness due to various factors such as extreme humidity and temperature, medical conditions like eczema and atopic dermatitis, or using harsh soap and skincare products that strip off moisture from your skin. To get rid of dryness on the face overnight, try these home remedies.

  1. How do I know if my skin needs hydration or moisture?

If your skin is dry and lacks oil, it needs moisturization, whereas if your skin is dehydrated and lacks water, it needs to be hydrated. 

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