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September 10, 2021 5 min read

Skincare Q&A: The Difference Between Dehydrated Skin and Dry Skin

Did you know that around 82% of Australians struggle with skin confidence on a daily basis? 

It breaks our heart to know that the vast majority of the population is struggling to feel good in their skin. Especially because it’s entirely avoidable. You see, the primary reason for this skin discomfort is a lack of knowledge and understanding of skin types, proper care, and signs of distress. 

If you’ve been feeling out of your element when it comes to caring for your skin, you’ve come to the right place. 

Join us as we dive into the dehydrated skin vs dry skin debate to uncover the key signs to watch for and how to treat these uncomfortable conditions. 

What is Dehydrated Skin?

Did you know your skin is one of the four ways that toxins are absorbed into your body? Not only is your skin incredibly important for keeping your body healthy, but it’s also continually sending signals about what’s going on inside your body. 

Dehydrated skin is a prime example of these signals. 

Although often confused with simply being dry, dehydrated skin goes much deeper than this. To be specific, dehydrated skin is the result of a lack ofwater in the skin, and ultimately, the body. 

While often confused with dry skin, dehydrated skin is a temporary condition that can be resolved with topical products and a few simple lifestyle changes. So, how can you tell if your skin is dehydrated?

Signs of Dehydrated Skin

Because dehydrated skin results from a lack of water, a dull complexion is the first and most obvious sign of this condition. You may also notice premature signs of aging such as wrinkles and lack of skin elasticity, however, these are usually problems that develop when dehydrated skin goes untreated for longer periods.

Other signs include:

  • Itchiness 
  • Tight feeling skin
  • Dark undereye circles
  • Increased sensitivity and irritation 
  • Fine lines

If you are unsure whether your skin is dehydrated or just feeling a bit dry, there’s a simple test you can try called the ‘pinch test’. 

To do this, pinch an area of skin on your cheek, back of your hand, or even your abdomen. Hold the skin between your fingers for a few seconds and let go. When you let go, your skin should bounce right back to where it was before. 

If it doesn’t bounce back or takes a few seconds to return to its pre-pinched state, your skin is dehydrated. 

What’s the Difference Between Dehydrated Skin and Dry Skin?

You may be wondering, ‘if dehydrated skin is from a lack of water, what is dry skin?’. 

Dry skin is one of thefive skin types along with normal skin, oily skin, combination skin, and sensitive skin. Like the rest of these skin types, dry skin isn’t temporary and although it may change and evolve with your hormones and other factors, your skin type is generally a permanent state. 

The primary difference between dry and dehydrated skin is that dry skin lacks oil or lipids instead of water. 

Of course, it is entirely possible to have both dry and dehydrated skin at the same time and is actually quite popular, especially in the Australian heat. 

If your skin is dry, you may see signs such as:

Because dry and dehydrated skin each stem from a different problem, the products you use to treat them will be significantly different - more specifically, the ingredients. 

The goal with dry skin is to provide moisture, this can be done with natural ingredients such as coconut oil and shea butter. On the other hand, dehydrated skin needs hydration. You’ll find this from natural sources such as rose water, aloe vera, and even honey. 

What Causes Dehydrated Skin?

As we mentioned above, dehydrated skin is your skin sending you a sign. Since our body is made up of60% water, it’s pretty important to ensure there’s enough to hydrate all areas - including your skin. 

While not drinking enough water is the most obvious cause of dehydrated skin, there are a few other factors that can worsen the condition, such as:

  • Sun exposure
  • Hard water
  • Hot showers and baths
  • Aircon and heating
  • The wrong skincare

Can Oily Skin Be Dehydrated?

This is one of the most common questions we hear regarding skin types and that tight, itchy feeling. This is because those with oily or combination skin have been lead to believe they must ‘dry out’ the oils in their skin to get that balanced look and feel. 

Unfortunately, in an attempt to control oil, products geared to oily and acne-prone skin simply strip valuable water and hydration from the skin instead. 

This can result in those with oily and combination skin types struggling with balancing oils while fighting dehydration - a tricky mix!

How to Treat Dehydrated Skin

Now that you know what dehydrated skin is, it’s time to tackle the treatments. Fortunately, returning hydration to your skin doesn’t have to be complicated.

Diet/Lifestyle Updates

The first thing to look at when dealing with dehydrated skin is the lifestyle choices that may be making it worse. If you spend a lot of time in the sun or indulge in a cup (or 2 or 3) of coffee each day, these simple things could be robbing your water content. 

Ensure you are drinking enough water each day and stock up on water-rich fruits and veggies to naturally boost your hydration from the inside out. 

When it comes to alcohol and caffeine, try to keep your consumption in check. If you know you’ll be out in the sun all day, increase your water intake and invest in skin-barriernatural sun creams to protect your skin. 


Cut Out Chemical Irritants

Most mainstream skincare utilizes chemicals and toxic ingredients to preserve their products and ‘boost’ their efficiency. However, ingredients such as SLS, alcohols, and even perfumes actually strip the skin of its water content, among other things. 

Get familiar with thetoxic ingredients that can be hidden in skincare and opt for natural alternatives for a more gentle approach. 

Choose the Right Ingredients and Products

As we mentioned above, different ingredients are used to treat dry and dehydrated skin. 

In order to tackle your skins hydration (even for oily skin types), you’ll want to use products that help restore the water content in your skin, not ‘moisturise’ it. Of course, we do recommend using askin-type appropriate moisturiser on top of your hydration products. 

To do this, you’ll want to thinkgentle cleansers,hydrating mists and sprays, and water-restoringserums and oils


Soak in the Sea

If you love the ocean as much as we do, you’ll adore this simple and effective treatment. 

Believe it or not, the salty water of the sea is a perfect treatment for both dry and dehydrated skin, especially when it’s irritated. The magnesium content in the ocean is fantastic for restoring your skin’s health and can serve as the perfect base for your skincare routine. 

Of course, you’ll want to follow this up with yournatural skin care products to lock in that moisture and always drink plenty of water to boost your water retention after soaking!

Skincare for Success

Now that you know the difference between dehydrated skin and dry skin, you can choose the right products for your skin with confidence. From identifying your skin type to noticing the signs of dehydrated skin, we hope this article will be the first step to feeling great in your skin!

Feeling a bit lost in the world of natural ingredients and hydration vs moisture? We’re always here to help!Get in touch with us to discover the right products for your unique skin and tailor a skincare routine that is sure to rehydrate, balance, and restore your skin!

If you're beginning your toxin-free journey and feeling overwhelmed, check out our guide on where to start when going toxin-free.

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