The difference between dry and dehydrated skin

The difference between dry and dehydrated skin

Whether your skin is feeling tight, dry and irritated or simply looking a little dull and you’re noticing more fine lines and wrinkles, your first step is to get to the root of the problem and know the difference between dry versus dehydrated skin so that you can give yours the right treatment and nourishment that it needs to flourish once again.

Dry versus dehydrated skin: know the difference

The terms, “dry skin” and “dehydrated skin” are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different conditions and therefore require different treatment methods. 

According to The Derm Review, dry skin refers to a specific skin type that lacks oil or sebum (this could be due to having fewer oil glands in your skin which could be genetic), while dehydrated skin is a skin condition that refers to a lack of water in the skin.

Not sure what you’re dealing with? Here are some ways to tell the difference between dry and dehydrated skin:

Dry skin:

  • Feels tight and rough, especially after cleansing
  • May be flaky or scaly
  • May have a dull or ashy appearance
  • Can be itchy or irritated
  • Often has small pores
  • Is more prone to wrinkles and fine lines

Dehydrated skin:

  • Feels tight and uncomfortable, especially after exposure to dry air, wind, or sun
  • May look dull or lackluster
  • Under-eye circles might be more prevalent
  • May have fine lines or wrinkles that are more noticeable when the skin is stretched
  • Can feel oily or dry, depending on your skin type

How can dehydrated skin feel oily?

Many of you might believe that if your skin looks oily, it can’t possibly be dehydrated, but this isn’t the case. Oily skin can be dehydrated too. Here are some common characteristics of oily, dehydrated skin:

Oily patches on the skin: Oily skin tends to produce excess sebum or oil, which can make your skin look shiny and feel greasy to the touch, especially around your T-zone which includes your forehead, nose and chin.

Skin feels rough and/or itchy: Dehydrated skin lacks water, which can make it feel tight, dry, and rough to the touch. If this is the case, you might notice your skin producing even more oil to compensate for the lack of moisture. A vicious cycle!

More skin breakouts: Oily, dehydrated skin is prone to breakouts. One of the main culprits is the excess oil on the skin that can clog pores, leading to the formation of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.

Fine lines and wrinkles: Dehydration can also accentuate the fine lines and wrinkles you do have, causing the skin to look older.

Uneven texture: Oily, dehydrated skin can also have an uneven texture, with areas that are dry and flaky, as well as areas that are oily and shiny.

Causes of dehydrated skin

Because dehydrated skin is a skin condition and not a skin type, we know that certain factors can make it worse.  For instance, your skin might become more dehydrated if you have too much caffeine (the diuretic effects of caffeine can lead to dehydration), or if you’re exposed to hot or cold dry air, wind, or too much sun.

And if you end up having a procedure in hospital, your skin might suffer too. This is because some types of anesthesia can cause lower blood pressure levels, which in turn can reduce blood flow to the skin and disrupt your skin's ability to hold enough moisture.

Harsh cleansers, some acne products and/or alcohol-based toners can also strip moisture from the skin, so if you’re trying to get your radiant glow back, make sure to avoid these types of products.

6 ways to add moisture back to your skin

Here are a few simple ways to rehydrate your skin naturally:

1 Apply topical creams and/or serums

After cleansing, apply a serum and face cream to help seal in moisture and keep your skin hydrated. Choose a moisturiser that is appropriate for your skin type and contains hydrating ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, or ceramides.

If you have oily skin, you may want to look for a lightweight, oil-free moisturiser (but that’s still nourishing), while those with dry skin may benefit from a heavier, more emollient-based formula. It may take some trial and error to find the brand that’s right for you.

2 Nourish your skin from the inside too!

Tululla product range

It’s all good and well to find the right topical skincare products (as we mentioned above), but what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on it. In fact, your skin is often a direct reflection of your health and wellness habits. And the right supplement regime can make all the difference to how your skin looks, especially when it comes to hydration levels.

Our science-backed, nutraceutical skincare range is packed with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, plus specific antioxidants, amino acids, and vitamins like vitamin B5 (also known as panthenol) which is a humectant that helps to draw moisture into the skin. All of these work deeper within the dermal layers of the skin to prevent water loss and improve the skin barrier function so that this major organ of yours builds up a level of resistance to the environment.

3 Drink water

This is so important for healthy skin, so much so, that we’ve written an entire blog post on it. Drinking plenty of water is essential for maintaining skin hydration from the inside out. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.

4 Use a humidifier

Running a humidifier in your home or office can help to add moisture to the air and prevent your skin from becoming dry or dehydrated, especially in the colder winter months where you might be using heaters.

5 Avoid hot showers or baths

We all love a hot shower or bath, but we can guarantee your skin doesn’t! Piping hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils and cause dehydration. Instead, use lukewarm water and limit your shower or bath time to no more than 10-15 minutes.

6 Exfoliate regularly

Removing dry, dead skin cells off the surface of your skin 1-2 times a week will allow your moisturiser to penetrate more deeply and lock in moisture. However, be careful not to over-exfoliate, as this can irritate your skin.

The good news is that whether you have dry or dehydrated skin (or even a bit of both), a solid beauty wellness routine can help to bring harmony and balance back to your skin. We’re here for you… please reach out if you have any specific skincare questions or concerns