Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin

I have heard some people say they have dry skin, when really it is dehydrated. “But isn’t that the same thing?” You might be asking yourself? It’s not. But, it’s easy to get the two muddled up, especially as some of the symptoms are exactly the same.

Both dry and dehydrated skin may cause the following:

  • Flakiness
  • Tight feeling
  • Rough to touch
  • Itchy

Dry skin, is a skin type. It’s genetic. Just like oily skin, is a skin type or combination skin, which is a combination of oily and dry skin. You might have dry cheeks, but then also an oily forehead or chin.

Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is a skin condition. And it’s a skin condition that can affect even those with oily skin. The good thing though is that this can be temporary as it is caused by external factors. These factors might include the weather, harsh face scrubs, not eating enough water-rich vegetables, such as celery and cucumber, or having a wee too much alcohol and caffeine. (Guilty.)

So let’s break down the differences:

Dry Skin (Remember, this is a skin type)

It’s caused by lack of oil in the skin – not lack of water

Fine lines may appear early


Make up less likely to slide off during the day

Dehydrated Skin (This is the skin condition and can be temporary. Hurrah!)

It’s caused by lack of water in skin. Even oily skin types can experience dehydrated skin

Ashen appearance

May have some red, itchy patches

Make up appears patchy throughout the day, as your skin soaks up the moisture in your foundation, concealer etc.

Some science

Skin is made up of 70% water. The top layer of your skin (epidermis) is made up of 30% water.

Right. So How Can I Manage It?

Yes, you’ve got it. You can only manage dry skin – but, you can fix dehydrated skin. But know your triggers, because it could come back!

Use gentle milk cleansers. Avoid foaming cleansers – these will dry out your skin like nothing before.

Use a serum. For dehydrated skin, this is even more important! I like Superdrug’s Simply Pure Hydrating Serum.

Use a moisturiser with hydration in it. I like L’oreal Revitalift, which also includes SPF 30. Also moisturisers with hyaluronic acid will help plump skin up. Although these moisturisers are more pricey.

For harsher weather and winter months, use an additional balm or serum.

To combat dehydrated skin, revise your water intake and be mindful of your diet. Cucumber is your friend. Back away from the diet cokes and coffee!

So, hope this has cleared things up a little. The main takeaway is that there are two issues here. Dry and dehydrated skin. I have both. (Yay). Make sure you are addressing both.

How do you manage dry and dehydrated skin? Let me know in comments below: