5 Surprising Things That Make Dry Skin Very Different To Dehydrated Skin

Dry vs dehradated skin

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You long for your skin to be beautiful, strong, and healthy, but it just doesn’t want to cooperate.

You’ve tried more products than you can count, and yet you still can’t get it right.

Perhaps that’s the problem: you don’t know your skin needs and therefore can’t address your concerns.

Here, we’ll help you understand if you have dry skin or dehydrated skin, and how to repair both.

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What Is Dry Skin?

You frequently hear the words dry and dehydrated used interchangeably in skincare, but that’s incorrect.

There are 2 kinds of dry skin. Lipid or oil dry skin and water dry skin. Lipid dry skin happens when you have by an insufficient number of oil-producing glands on the face.

Oil dry skin is a skin type and once you have oil dry skin it tends to be permanent. Oil dry skin has a rough and often flakey texture.

The good news is there are a lot of great products that treat oil dry skin. You can’t make this type of dry skin go away, but you can give it the oil it desperately craves.

You will need to incorporate nourishing oils and thicker moisturisers into your skincare routine.

If you’re not already getting into the habit of going a double cleanse with oil or balm.


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Dehydrated skin lacks water at the surface. To better understand, think of dryness as a lifelong skin type, just like combination or oily skin. Dehydration, on the other hand, is a temporary skin condition.

Understanding these key differences will help to identify your skin’s needs. Dry skin needs moisture, which you can provide with topical products like lotions, creams, and serums. But dehydrated skin needs water, a lack of which is commonly caused by:

  • Diet
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Environmental toxins
  • Weather

Do We Really Have Water In Our Skin?

It’s easy to forget the skin is an organ and is comprised of 64 per cent water. This liquid helps you look plump, soft, and dewy. When you don’t drink enough, you’ll notice tell-tale changes in your complexion, redness, dullness, and breakouts.

Dehydrated skincare starts internally, with drinking more liquids. But it would help if you steered clear of sugary, caffeinated beverages that can actually cause you to urinate more frequently and further reduce hydration levels. Instead, reach for room temperature water; ice-cold water is refreshing but can restrict blood flow, hindering hydration.

Herbal Teas and Coconut Water

If you want a break from plain-old water, caffeine-free herbal teas are just as hydrating. As a bonus, tea contains lots of antioxidants that aid the skin’s natural rejuvenation process. Long-term, this can mean higher collagen and elastin levels, both of which are necessary for a smooth and wrinkle-free face that maintains its youthful structure.

Coconut water is another option that’s far healthier than most juices and sports drinks. But check the label to ensure you’re not downing a bunch of sugar that will counteract the liquid’s benefits.

How to Tell If Skin Is Dry or Dehydrated

First, let’s understand that hydration relates to the way your skin absorbs moisture from the air. That moisture then gives your skin cells water, which in turn expands in size (this is a positive effect) and can hold nutrients.

Moisture is necessary to maintain your skin’s natural protective barrier, which everybody has. The problem is that without enough oil glands to support it naturally, you must turn to topical moisturizers that serve similarly. This means preventing water loss, so the skin doesn’t become dehydrated.

Put Your Skin to the Test

Often, dry skin is that which easily flakes or peels. It can also feel rough to the touch. Dehydrated skin has a few different signs; in addition to those mentioned earlier, you’ll see accelerated ageing signs like the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Dehydrated skin also feels tight.

If you’re still having trouble deciding which, if either, applies to you, pinch your cheek. Now take a look at its appearance. Does it hold its shape, or does it wrinkle with no more than slight pressure? If you see the latter effect, your skin needs hydration. But if you see flakes, your skin needs moisture.

Ways to Correct Dryness

Three key products can eliminate dryness and help protect your skin’s barrier. Let’s start with an exfoliant, which helps slough away dead skin cells sitting on your facial surface and clogging your pores. Exfoliating speeds up your cellular turnover rate, which essentially means it more quickly removes dead skin so healthy cells can rise to the surface.

It also allows your skincare products to absorb more effectively, especially your moisturizer. The key is in choosing a gentle exfoliator that won’t cause further drying. Also, use it only once or twice a week.

Add a Serum

It’s important to understand serums are not moisturizers and should never replace your face cream or lotion. What they can do is supplement your moisturizer to repair your skin’s barrier further. Look for one that contains hyaluronic acid (HA), a sugar your body produces that can hold up to 1.5 gallons of water per molecule.

Wear a Moisturizer at Night

This is especially important during the winter season when heated air causes a natural decline in the skin’s moisture levels as we sleep. A heavier, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic cream can balance these effects. Then, when you wake in the morning, your face will be smoother and more supple in preparation for the day ahead.