Dry vs Dehydrated Skin: What’s the Difference?

Dry vs Dehydrated Skin: What’s the Difference?

Even if you have normal skin or even oily skin, chances are, you’ve probably experienced dry skin at some point. The question is- is what you’re experiencing dry skin or dehydrated skin? It can be hard to know what the issue is and how to treat it. That’s why, in this article, we’ll discuss dry vs. dehydrated skin, what the difference is between them, who can experience dry or dehydrated skin, and how to treat both!


Main Takeaways: Dry skin and dehydrated skin are two different things: one is a skin type, the other is a condition that’s usually temporary.

Good to Know: Both dry and dehydrated skin can be treated with products and small changes in lifestyle.

Recommended Products: H2 Oh Yeah Hydrating Moisturizer and Just Dew It Hydrating Serum.


Want extra hydration for dry and dehydrated skin? We've got you covered.

Shop Our Hydrating Moisturizer

Dry vs Dehydrated Skin: What’s the Difference?

No matter what your skin type is, at some point your skin has probably looked a little dry. Maybe it’s flaking a bit, maybe it’s a little scaly, or maybe it’s just looking a little…parched. The question is, how do you know if you have dry skin or dehydrated skin? It may seem like something that doesn’t matter much but consider this: while baking, you’re not sure if a canister contains salt or sugar. They look very similar but how you use each is very, very different! That’s sort of how dry vs dehydrated skin can be. It doesn’t seem like there’s much of a difference until you try to treat it! Let’s talk about what those differences are!

What Is Dehydrated Skin?

Has this happened to you? It’s a hot summer day, the heat is intense, you’ve been perspiring all day and suddenly, you almost feel faint? That’s probably because you’re dehydrated. Dehydration is caused by a lack of water in your system that makes your skin feel dry and parched. Although the example we’ve used here takes place in the summer, dehydration can happen any time–summer, winter, day, night–doesn’t matter! If your system isn’t getting enough water, you can become dehydrated.

Keep in mind that because dehydrated skin is caused by a lack of water and not oil, even people with very oily skin can become dehydrated. For that reason, dehydrated skin is usually a temporary condition, rather than the way your skin usually behaves.

What Is Dry Skin?

Just as dehydration is caused by a lack of water, dry skin is caused by a lack of oil. If you have dry skin you’ve probably noticed flaking, fine lines and wrinkles, and just a general feeling of discomfort. Sometimes, dry skin can feel itchy and tight, as if the skin is literally not big enough for your face. That’s because the skin isn’t producing enough oil to keep the skin comfortable.

Dry skin is also more likely to be a permanent or at least, frequent condition. Dry skin is usually a skin type, not a condition, which is why people with dry skin almost always have the same dry feeling in their skin (as opposed to someone who just experiences occasional dehydration). Dry skin also usually gets worse as we age or because of certain medications.

What Do Dehydrated Skin and Dry Skin Have in Common?

Although there are differences between dehydrated skin and dry skin, there are some similarities as well. Here are a few of those examples:

Both dehydrated skin and dry skin can be affected by weather. In the summer, it’s easy to become dehydrated since the hot weather makes us sweat, causing us to lose water from our systems. Skin can also be drier in the summer if you live in very arid conditions. In the winter, cold air can make dry skin even drier and flakier. Even the heat from a heating system can dry out skin.

Both dry skin and dehydrated skin can make the skin look older. When the skin is depleted of either oil or water, it has a tendency to look older. In part, that’s because skin is much more likely to develop fine lines and wrinkles when it doesn’t have enough of either. Either condition will also rob the skin of its natural glow and dewiness.

Lifestyle can be responsible for both dry and dehydrated skin. As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, lifestyle plays a big part in how our skin looks and behaves. Making a few small changes can vastly improve the look of your skin regardless of whether it’s dry or dehydrated. For example, by causing blood vessels to narrow, smoking often leads to dry, parched-looking, skin while not drinking enough water will lead to dehydrated skin. If you do have dry skin, taking hot showers can make it worse.

Both dry and dehydrated skin can benefit from a good skincare routine that is right for your skin type. One of the most important parts of a good skincare routine is to use products that work for your skin type. If you have dry or even dehydrated skin, avoid products that are meant for oily skin as they can cause further damage. For example, our So Clean! facial cleanser cleanses skin without drying it. Follow it with our Rose and Shine rose water toner to really hydrate the skin.

Hydration vs Moisturizing

Part of the reason it’s so important to understand the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin is that you’ll need to know whether you need to hydrate it, moisturize it or both in order to fix the problem.

Hydration is when you restore water to the skin. That can be done a few different ways, the most obvious of which is to drink sufficient amounts of water. Although it’s not quite as effective, you can also eat more foods that are high in water like melon, peaches, oranges, celery, and broccoli, among many others.

Another great way to put water back into the skin is with a humidifier. Even an inexpensive humidifier can help restore water back to the skin and make it feel less uncomfortable.

Conversely, when you moisturize the skin, you’re restoring oil to it. It is important for those with dry skin to protect their skin’s barrier, allowing your skin to hold onto the oil it naturally produces, as well as any moisturizing ingredients you are applying to it.

Whether your skin is just dry, just dehydrated, or both, H2 Oh Yeah hydrating moisturizer will address both concerns! Packed with 21 incredible active ingredients, this rich moisturizer will not only provide deep, long-lasting hydration, but it will keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay and keep your skin super smooth! It contains an all-star line up of some of skin’s care’s most effective moisturizing ingredients, including vitamin-rich shea butter, hydrating hero hyaluronic acid, and antioxidant-heavy sea buckthorn oil, which gives the moisturizer its pretty yellow hue.

While H2 Oh Yeah has been formulated for dry and dehydrated skin, all skin types will find it beneficial during cold and dry months, because it’s also full of nature’s best anti-aging ingredients, such as evening primrose oil and green tea to smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles & restore a youthful glow.

Amplify your hydration game with Just Dew It hydrating serum. This serum works overtime to keep your skin hydrated throughout the day and features a combination of hyaluronic acid, sea buckthorn oil and prickly pear seed oil. Just Dew It will plump and revitalize your skin, resulting in glowing, smoother skin. It’s perfect for those who have skin that is more on the dehydrated side, but the inclusion of squalane and jojoba oil serves those who lack moisture as well.

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