Why You Need To Know The Difference Between Dehydrated & Dry Skin

by Grace Min

We may think we know our skin type, but many of us have gotten it wrong! This could’ve led you to buy all types of products that ended up not giving what your skin needs. Each skin type and condition requires different treatments. It’s hard to tell if you have dehydrated or dry skin because they can show similar side effects. We’re here to help you decipher whether you have a dry skin type or a dehydrated skin condition so you can get the best results for your skin. Let’s get into the details!


Dehydrated Skin Characteristics

  • Dark circles or tired eye appearance

Dry Skin Characteristics

  • White flaky skin
  • Scaly appearance
  • Worsening of psoriasis, eczema, or dermatitis

Shared Characteristics

  • Dull skin appearance
  • Itchy skin
  • Sensitive fine lines & wrinkles

Defining Dry Skin

This skin type means you don’t produce enough sebum or oil than a normal skin type. This makes it harder for your skin to retain moisture, thus leaving your skin dry and tight. Dry skin can be caused by just being born with naturally more dry skin, environmental factors like sun damage & extreme temperatures, or aging. 

Treatment. Using products that are oil-rich and hydrating will assist in retaining and providing the moisture your skin needs. Moisturizer is key. Make sure any facial oil products are non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging) so you can avoid unwanted skin reactions. Avoid foam cleansers that strip oil away, and look for an oil-based cleanser since it injects moisture as it cleanses. Also avoid high heat whether it’s in your shower or your heater.   


Defining Dehydrated Skin

Unlike dry skin and its relationship to oil, dehydrated skin has a relationship to water. It means it is losing more water than it is gaining. Your skin barrier needs hydration and moisture to stay healthy. When it knows you’re lacking in water, it tries to compensate to protect your skin by moving any water up to the surface; however, this creates an imbalance of moisture and can lead to the overproduction of sebum. Many people who think they have very oily skin, can actually have very dehydrated skin.  

Treatment. Water. Water. Water. Consuming enough water whether it is drinking it or eating it (foods that are high in water), is extremely effective in having healthy and glowing skin. For topical treatment, use hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid to help boost your skin’s moisture. 


Now that you know the difference, I hope you’re one step closer to getting healthier skin!


Everyone has their unique skin barrier and conditions. Always consult with your dermatologist & esthetician for what is right for you.

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