Dry Skin VS Dehydrated Skin – Know the Difference

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The Difference between Dry & Dehydrated Skin

At first glance, ‘dry’ and ‘dehydrated’ look like two words to describe the same thing. But when it comes to skincare, they are totally different concerns with different underlying causes. Companies of beauty products make claims on their labels about whether or not their products are hydrating or moisturizing. To ensure that you are picking the right product and its function for your skin type, it’s essential to know the difference between the two.

Let’s begin with a basic interaction lesson on both hydration and moisturization.


When you consider hydration it’s only natural to think of water. To hydrate something means to raise its water content. In relation to skin care, hydration means increasing the amount of water in your skin cells, which results in a healthy, plump, and smooth complexion. When your skin is regularly hydrated, it keeps the look of fine lines and wrinkles at bay. In addition to looking younger, your skin cells maintain their overall cellular functions when hydrated.

How do we well hydrate our skin? Drinking quite of water will do the trick, but since our skin is the last organ to absorb hydration, using topical ingredients that help hydration is beneficial as well.

These hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, or honey, to name a few, are called humectants, which help to bind and maintain moisture. Look for a serum that contains both sodium hyaluronate and non-gmo vegetable glycerin to help keep your skin beautifully hydrated.


The oil comes to mind when we say moisture. Sometimes cake does, too, but we’ll save that for a diverse day. Involved in our hair follicles we have our sebaceous glands. These aptly named glands create “sebum,” an oily substance that helps to protect, lubricate and nourish our skin, preventing it from drying out and causing early aging. For those with blocked pores or oily skin types, there might be an overproduction of sebum, while those with dry skin types might have a lack of it. Regardless of your skin type, moisturizing is a vital part of your daily facial routine.

What’s the difference?

So now that we have a basic knowledge of the functions of both hydrating and moisturizing the skin, we’ll answer how, when, and how often.

Since the resolution of hydrating is to bind water to our skin and moisturizing is to stop the water from leaving our skin, it’s significant that hydration comes before moisturizing (when applying products topically).

This is why serums are to be applied first, as most hydrating treatment serums have a humectant. Once you get that layer of hydration on, you want to cover it all in with a lipid (facial oil). This combination makes a healthy balance.

For those with mostly oily skin, you may or may not prefer to moisturize as often. For you, applying just a hydrating product might sometimes be sufficient. Your skin naturally creates enough (in some cases, more than enough) oil to keep water from leaving the skin. (If you do find that your skin could use a little extra moisture, try something light Facial Oil for Oily Skin.

Dry vs. dehydrated skin

Dehydrated skin absences water and dry skin lacks oil. So your skin might be dehydrated, dry, or both. The worst parts are typically near the eyebrows and around the corners of the nose and mouth. On the body, common distress areas include the neck, the inside of the arms, and the thighs. This is why it is important to choose the right skincare products and know how and when to use them.

Dehydrated skin tends to feel tight, and look dull, even when properly moisturized.  If you don’t already, use a hydrating serum with some of the nourishing ingredients we mentioned above. Use your serum before your oil to lock in the hydration.

Central heating and Air conditioning can also affect the skin’s hydration. Structural changes related to the aging process cause more dehydration. It can create a slow-down of cell turnover. With dry skin, lack of moisture (lipid content) can result in dry, rough, or flaky skin. If this is your skin, make sure you’re using the correct moisturizing ingredients.


Dehydrated Skin – Add a Serum to Your Routine

Serums are great moisturizers. Use a serum with hyaluronic acid, Centella asiatica which is the same ingredient used in many types of filler. Centella asiatica is great for your skin. There’s proof that products with Centella asiatica can help revitalize the skin’s protective barrier, plus it may mitigate some of the visible effects of sun damage.

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Dehydrated Skin – Use sheet mask

The main benefit of a sheet mask is that they rapidly and efficiently hydrate your complexion, leaving it looking more glowing and plumped in minutes. Hydrating sheet masks are packed with super-moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides — and they’re sure to leave your skin with a dewy glow.

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Dry Skin – Apply facial oil

Natural oils are made up of ingredients mentioned to as ‘omega fatty acids’. You might’ve heard about a specific kind, omega-3s, mainly in relation to heart health. Like many nutrients, omegas are great to apply topically as well as to eat. Use Facial Oil that light in texture, infused with antioxidant-rich herbs, and possesses moisture-balancing properties.

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Dry Skin – Apply moisturizing lotion or cream

Apply moisturizing lotion which contains hydrating ingredients like shea butter, Ceramides are fats that help form the skin’s barrier and help skin retain moisture. Ceramides also help the skin defend against environmental aggressors like pollution and irritants. Without the proper ratio of ceramides, the skin’s barrier can become cooperated, leading to dryness, itching, and irritation. Shea butter also makes your skin silky soft yet leave skin looking healthy, glowing and hydrated.

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Bottom lines

We all need to make sure we drink two to three liters of water every day to preserve the skin’s moisture balance. Use right skincare products because if you’re using products that are too harsh, too light, or you’re using them wrongly, your skincare could be contributing to your dehydrated skin concerns.

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