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Dry Vs. Dehydrated Skin: What Are They & What's Your Skin Type?

Dry or Dehydrated— Set Your Skin The Way You Want

Dry vs dehydrated skin

Hello there, healthy skin enthusiast; welcome to our dry vs dehydrated skin head-on.

Often, dry skin is discussed as the same thing as dehydrated skin, yet, they are entirely two different phenomena. 

The dry vs dehydrated skin confusion could be because the two sometimes share similarities. And you are probably confused because of the dryness the two result in.  

My right guess would be that you are here because you don’t know the difference between the two. Or, maybe you are unsure if you should use Pico Toner on your skin type.

In this article, we discuss how to differentiate the two. We also teach you how you can diagnose and treat both dry and dehydrated skin.

Shall we get started? 

What is Dry Skin? 

what is dry skin

Dry skin lacks oil. The lack of oil means the skin produces less sebum than it is supposed to. Lack of sebum means the skin has fewer lipids needed for the skin to retain moisture. The skin also becomes more susceptible to external aggressors (1).  

Dry skin is a skin type, and people are born with a skin type. The three skin types are:

  • dry skin
  • normal skin
  • oily skin

This is to say that dry skin type is not a temporary condition because you are born with it. Dry skin types are permanent. However, skin types may change, though rarely. 

You take some steps to suppress dry skin. 

Also read: Dry vs Oily skin

What Are the Common Signs of Dry skin?

Dry skin originates deep from the layers of the skin. However, the signs of dry skin will show on your skin’s surface, also called the skin barrier.  

Watch out for the following signs on outermost layer if your skin:

  • scaly appearance
  • white flakes
  • red, irritated and itchy skin
  • increased incidence of psoriasis, eczema, or dermatitis
  • leathery appearance on the skin
  • rough and cracked skin
  • lack of suppleness
  • sensitive skin

Also, if you wear a lotion or a moisturizer, they will soak up quickly when you have dry skin. 

Dry skin can also cause impaired skin barrier function. 

How to Treat Dry Skin

You cannot really ‘treat’ dry skin. Think of it as a skin condition that you cannot change, but at least you can work to improve its appearance. Genetics plays a role in dry skin, and this is why it is tricky for you to fix it. 

 Here are top tips to help improve the appearance of dry skin. 

Give Your skin an Oil Boost 

how to treat dry skin - give your skin an oil boost

Dry skin lacks oil. To help improve the skin condition, the first step would be to replace the oils that your skin lacks. Therefore, give your skin a boost of rich and nourishing oil. 

Also, you want to avoid cleansers that strip oil from your skin; you already have inadequate natural oils. Go for an oil-based cleanser. An oil-based cleanser will give your moisture, oil boost and also cleanse it. 

We recommend you go for products with natural botanical oils such as coconut oil. These natural oils will help peel off the rough, flaky, and leathery appearance and replace it with supple and well-moisturized skin. 

Use Skin Supplements

Skin supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids can help improve the appearance of dry skin. 

Krill oil is also a good option you could consider. 


Exfoliating is a good move in eliminating dead skin cells. Dead skin cells are expected with all skin types, but their appearance on the skin’s surface is more prominent when you have dry skin. 

Avoid Hot Water 

Hot water worsens the impairment of the skin barrier. 

Hot water breaks down the lipids in the skin, decreasing the skin’s ability to retain natural oils and water. 

What is Dehydrated Skin?

what is dehydrated skin

Dehydrated skin happens when your skin lacks water.

It doesn’t matter what skin type you were born with (2). Your skin can sometimes lack water. 

What Does Dehydrated Skin Look like?

Signs of dehydrated skin include:       

  • Dull looking skin
  • Lack-luster
  • Clear signs of premature aging such as wrinkles, fine lines, dark lines around the eyes and reduced elasticity

Besides, when your skin is dehydrated, you may feel itchy, irritated and parched. 

Also, breakouts are pretty common with dehydrated skin. When your skin is dehydrated, it may generate too much oil to make up for the lack of water. This is the reason dehydrated skin may have breakouts, irritation and dry patches. 

What causes Dehydrated Skin?

It can be anything from your environmental conditions to your lifestyle. Here are some causes of dehydrated skin:

  • Weather;  too much sun or a very cold climate
  • caffeine consumption
  • diet
  • not drinking water as required
  • make-up

How Do You Detect Dehydrated Skin?

how do you detect dehydrated skin

If you have the signs and symptoms of dehydrated skin, you may want to perform the pinch test.

The pinch test is an effective way to determine whether or not you are suffering from dehydrated skin or not. 

Follow this procedure to perform the pinch test:

  • Gently pinch a small portion of your skin, and hold it for 10 seconds
  • Release the skin, and watch how it snaps back to normal. 

If your skin snaps back to normal quickly and shows high elasticity, you are probably hydrated. However, if it takes longer to snap back to normal and is not elastic, chances are you are dehydrated.

How Do I Treat Dehydrated Skin?

First, if you have dehydrated skin, you need to up your water intake. If you are dehydrated, chances are high you are not taking enough water.

To battle dehydrated skin, start by taking at least two liters of water daily. It won’t work after a few seconds; it’s something you must include in your routine for the best results. 

Taking enough water is the basis of healthy and hydrated skin. However, it would help if you also had a good skincare routine to get over the dehydrated skin and maintain healthy and well-hydrated skin.

Include the tips below in your skincare routine. 

Dry vs dehydrated skin Tip #1: Use Hyaluronic acid  

dry vs dehydrated skin tip #1 use hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by the body. However, if you are suffering from dehydrated skin, you may need to give your body the needed boost. 

It helps your skin retain water. The result is usually moist and well-lubricated skin.  

Besides, you will also enjoy more supple, hydrated and plump skin.

Glycerine could also help seal in moisture.  

Before application of an intense serum product for hydration, or hyaluronic acid, ensure your skin is slightly damp. Afterward, follow with a moisturizer to seal the intense serum.  

Dry vs dehydrated skin Tip #2: Go Harder on Sun Protection 

Skin dehydration is caused by external factors, and top of them is exposure to fierce sun rays. 

If you are getting into skin hydration, you must go a notch higher with your sunscreen. Sunscreen helps protect your skin from the scorching sun; always have it on when you step out. 

Also, hats and clothes that cover you could help with sun protection. 

Dry vs dehydrated skin Tip #3: Go The Pico Toner Way

When you have dehydrated skin, you will see signs of premature aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. 

Sometimes, reversing these signs is not usually easy. 

The great news is, the pico toner is a great anti-aging biohacking tool. 

The pico toner reduces fine lines, crow’s feet around the eyes, and also wrinkles. The pico toner has proved to be more effective than related technology when it comes to  fighting signs of premature aging. 

Dry vs dehydrated skin Tip #4: Use a Humidifier

Putting moisture into your bedroom can help manage dehydrated skin. Install a humidifier and turn it overnight as you sleep. Air conditioning could also help. 

Dry vs dehydrated skin Tip #5: Moisturize

If the top layer of your skin cannot hold enough water, you need to support it with moisturizers. Always have moisturizers in hand to help seal in some water in the skin. 

Dry vs dehydrated skin Tip #6: Cut Down on Caffeine and Alcohol Intake

Caffeine and alcohol are the two culprits when it comes to dehydrating your skin. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics. This means that they deplete water content in your skin. 

Besides, alcohol hinders the production of a hormone called vasopressin which is vital for rehydration

Dry Skin Vs. Dehydrated Skin Recap 

dry skin vs. dehydrated skin recap

Dry skin is a skin type, whereas dehydrated skin is a skin condition. You are born with a skin type, but you develop skin conditions. Skin conditions may last for a short while, for longer, or may stick with you forever. 

Dry skin is when the skin lacks oil, while dehydrated skin lacks moisture or water. Therefore, if you have dry skin, you need to inject more oil into your skin. If you have dehydrated skin, you have to work on having it retain more moisture. 

Dry skin originates from within, while dehydrated skin mainly originates from external factors such as extreme temperatures. This is why you can only improve dry skin appearance but not fix it. However, to fix dehydrated skin, you need to work on making your external environment friendlier or shielding yourself from the harsh weather. 

Frequently Asked Questions for dry vs dehydrated skin

To clear out the confusion about dry vs dehydrated skin, we answer some FAQs to clear things up.

Do I have dry or dehydrated skin? 

If you feel tight on your skin, skin feels rough, has a grayish or ashy appearance, redness and sometimes irritation, chances are you have dry skin. You have dry skin if your skin feels tight, especially after washing. 

If your skin is dull, lacks luster, and shows signs of premature aging, you may suffer from dehydrated skin. 

Also read: How to reduce redness on face

Is It Possible to Have Both Dry and Dehydrated skin?

do i have dry or dehydrated skin

Yes, it is possible to have dry skin and still suffer from skin dehydration. You will need to use a skincare regimen that is both water and oil-based in such a case. Also, you may need to talk to your dermatologist to get the best skin products for your skin. 

Does Drinking Water Hydrate Skin? 

Yes, drinking enough water increases the moisture levels of dehydrated skin. 

However, you must combine enough water with a skincare routine, including skincare products, to achieve proper skin hydration. You also need to invest in some of the best biohacking tools to hydrate your skin well. 

Besides, the skin is usually the last organ to receive water when you drink it. Therefore, to hydrate, ensure you take a lot of it. 

Final Thoughts 

There is our comprehensive dry vs dehydrated skin comparison, big-up for coming this far. Think of them like this:

Dry skin type needs more oil. 

While dehydrated skin needs more water. 

The two may seem similar, primarily because of the dryness they make people feel, but they have distinct differences, as discussed above. Watch out for the signs and symptoms of the two, or perform the pinch test to be sure. 

Whether you have dry or dehydrated skin, we are grateful that there is something you can do to fix or at least alleviate the tips above. 

Incorporate these in your skincare routine for lustrous, supple, hydrated and healthy skin.




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