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Dry vs Dehydrated Skin: Know The Difference

Yes, there is a difference. Yes – it’s an important difference!




If your skin is worse than before, you’re not alone! Not only are we having to deal with questions like:


Why is our skin breaking out? Why is it splotchy? Why does it keep swinging between being dry and oily by the day?


We also have to navigate the complicated world of skincare. The wrong formula could end up doing nothing for your skin (thus wasting your hard-earned money) – or worse, giving you a different handful of problems. Although basic skincare advice revolves around staying “moisturised” and “hydrated”, with the terms sometimes used interchangeably, do you ever wonder why some products choose to specifically promote “unbelievable hydration” or “deep moisturising” properties? It boils down to the fact that having dry skin and having dehydrated skin are two different issues that have specific solutions.


To break it down, dry skin is a skin type while dehydration is a skin condition. While dry skin as a skin type will be something that lasts for most of your life but can be controlled, dehydrated skin can be fixed with the right skincare regime.



What does it mean to have dry skin?

Dry skin lacks moisture, tending to be rough and flaky. People with dry skin types usually produce very little oil on their skin. This is not limited to the skin on their face; people with dry skin usually experience this dryness on their hands, legs and scalp.


Other signs of dry skin are redness as well as irritation and increased appearance of psoriasis, eczema, or dermatitis.



What does it mean to have dehydrated skin?


The first thing that comes to mind when pondering hydration is, naturally, water. It is easy to identify dehydrated skin as it often manifests in the form of dull and tight looking skin. Other side effects of dehydrated skin include darker under-eye circles, itchiness, fine lines and wrinkles. This can be caused by varying factors not limited to diet, incorrect product use, or the weather.



Because dehydration is a condition more than it is a type, it can happen even with the different basic skin types. This means that people with oily or combination skin can also end up having dehydrated skin. 60% of the human body is made up of water and our skin, the largest organ in our body, also happens to be the slowest in absorbing water. So, sometimes, even drinking 8 cups of water a day is not enough – your skin will need hydration from creams and face masks. 


How do you choose the right products?

Think of it this way –


Dehydrated skin lacks water. // Dry skin lacks oil.


However, it is important to look out for oiliness as a byproduct of dehydrated skin. To make up for how dry it is, your skin will create oil and this can cause breakouts and irritation. As a result,  ensuring that you start with water in your skin in the first place is just as important as choosing products that keep moisture locked in your skin. Start out with products that keep the skin hydrated throughout the day before slapping on your moisturiser. Facial oils are great for people who have dry skin and don’t want to clog your pores with creams. 

But, it’s not all about the stuff you apply on the outside – after all, beauty is only skin deep.



Making changes to your lifestyle can help you control the dryness of your skin and how easy it is for your skin to become dehydrated. These include cutting down on alcohol, coffee and smoking as well as increasing your exercise and plant-based food intake.



*Cover image credits: Giphy / @thegoodplace

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