Difference Between Dry and Dehydrated Skin

Dry skin and dehydrated skin are two different phenomena. Only a few people know the proper difference between dry and dehydrated skin. Most of the people treat both of them as dry skin type, wrongly. And, truly, once I am also one of them. When I heard about it, I started searching to know more. And today I will share what I learned about dry and dehydrated skin.

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To ensure proper care of your skin you should know what is dry and dehydrated skin. Because they need a different skincare regimen to function well. Here you will know the head to head comparison of dry and dehydrated skin. You will know their characteristics, look, and complications. And most importantly, now you could choose which types of product is suitable for dry and dehydrated skin.

Dry Skin Vs Dehydrated Skin

General Definition

Dry skin is a skin type generally characterized as fewer lipid glands than normal skin, produces less oil compared to the requirement.

On the other hand, dehydrated skin is a skin condition caused by lacking water or moisture in the uppermost layer of the skin.

Factors Responsible for

Mainly dry skin occurs genetically and it comes with you since you were born. Not only it is true for dry skin but also for other skin types. Besides, you will face skin dryness, though you didn’t own it genetically, when you are getting aged because aging skin gradually loses the ability to generate the oil-producing cells (source).

Some factors may make your skin dry (not dehydrated) for instance, though your skin is not a dry skin type. It includes hot shower, harsh cleansing products or soap, skincare products with harsh chemicals, malnutrition, vitamin A deficiency, side effect of certain drugs, etc. So you should be careful about this if you don’t want to invite skin dryness.

Dehydrated skin is not a genetically inherited matter. It is caused by your lifestyle, makeup, skincare products, diet, weather, and environment. The positive side is you can control the dehydrated skin, whether it is severe or not, if you want.


As dry skin is a skin type, it appears all over your body from head to toe. The intensity of the skin dryness depends on some conditions, but it remains constant in the winter weather.

On the flip side, skin dehydration comes and goes with time. It attacks some parts of the body, usually the uncovered areas.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry and Dehydrated Skin

The physical appearance of dry and dehydrated skin is fairly similar. There is almost no distinctive physical difference between dry and dehydrated skin. Both of them look and feel dull, tight, rough, flaky, and scaly. Sometimes, you may notice redness, patch, inflammation and irritation.

It is very tricky to differentiate them only with open eyes. Later in this post, I will tell you how to determine whether your skin is dry or dehydrated. Sometimes your dehydrated skin gets oily because the oil glands produce more oil to fill the water lacking of your skin. In this situation, your skin feels both oily and thirsty.


Dry and dehydrated skin both create several skin complications. I already mentioned the common complications in the previous sections. Besides them, they also create a few more skin problems in the long run.

Dry skin lets you age quickly by losing skin elasticity and developing wrinkles. It creates more flakes than dehydrated skin. It is also responsible for skin cracks, which lets the bacteria and fungus step inside and create infections and pain. Dry skin is also prone to some skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, athlete’s foot, etc.

On the other hand, dehydrated skin causes fine lines on the affected skin. It creates more redness and inflammation compared to dry skin.

How to Treat Dry and Dehydrated Skin

Skin moisturizing elements

Treating dry skin consists of both “using” and “not using” of some products. As dry skin is not capable of producing the necessary oil of the skin, you need to deliver it from outside. So, make a change in your skincare routine with organic oil-based moisturizer and lotion. Make sure they also nourish the skin with potent ingredients besides delivering the needed oil. And stop using skincare products with harsh chemicals, taking a hot shower, and eating junk foods.

To treat dehydrated skin you need to supply water from inside and outside. First of all, stop using harsh cleanser and scrubber. Then use a water bases cream and toner to hydrate your skin and keep focus on some ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, retinol, and collagen. Make a habit of eating watery fruits and vegetables like watermelon and cucumber. You can also use raw aloe vera pulp on the skin to fight dehydration and aging problems.

Useful Ingredients

If you want to care about your dry or dehydrated skin, you should use different types of skincare products. Dry skin needs oil-based and dehydrated skin needs moisture-based products. Here’s I made a list of some ingredients provide special care to dry and dehydrated skin. You should consider these ingredients before buying your next skincare products.

Dry Skin Dehydrated Skin
Shea butter Glycerin
Vegetable oil (nut & seed oil and plant oil) Aloe vera
Mineral Oil Honey
Lanolin Snail mucin
Ceramide Lactic Acid
  Citric Acid
  Hyaluronic Acid
  Water-based fruit extract like cucumber

How to Determine Whether Skin is Dry or Dehydrated

Hope now you can understand what is dry or dehydrated skin. But, it is quite tricky to identify exactly whether your skin is dry or dehydrated. Remember, dry skin doesn’t get oily anymore but dehydrated skin may let you feel both oily and dehydrated. Here I also tell you two simple ways to identify them.

To detect dry skin, apply some oil-based moisturizers on your skin. If they disappear quickly, your one is dry skin, because dry skin soaks oily products fairly quickly than other skin types.

And to detect the dehydrated skin, you can do a pinching test which takes less than a minute. Just pinch a small amount of skin of your hands for 5-10 seconds then release it. If it takes time to bounce back, sorry to say you are suffering from dehydrated skin problems. Don’t worry, you can overcome it very easily and I hope you have known it already.

The Last words

Hope this post will help to erase your confusion about dry and dehydrated skin. Besides these, if you know any other point, please, let me know. I will enrich my post with your opinion.

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