Dehydrated vs. Dry Skin: Understanding the difference

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It is very common to confuse dry and dehydrated skin since both can share some similar characteristics, such as flaking, sensitivity, dull appearance, reduced elasticity, a feeling of tension, and even the accentuation of fine lines and wrinkles.


However, they are two different conditions that require specific care. From Jess Beauty, we will help you differentiate dry skin from dehydrated skin and the ways to reverse these ailments.


Main differences


As we mentioned, although dry skin and dehydrated skin have many characteristics in common, they are different issues.


Here are some key differences between dry skin and dehydrated skin:


Underlying cause


Dry skin is a type of skin that is naturally devoid of oils and has lower lipid production in the sebaceous glands. It is a genetic and chronic condition that can be present from birth or develop over time.


Dehydrated skin is a temporary condition that occurs when the skin lacks water or moisture. It can affect any skin type, even oily, due to environmental factors, such as dry weather, excessive use of astringent products, sun exposure, or heating or air conditioning use.


Hydration level


Dry skin is a chronic condition in which the skin has an inherent lack of moisture. Dry skin can constantly feel rough, flaky, and prone to dryness.


Dehydrated skin is a temporary condition where the skin lacks water or moisture. It can feel tight and rough, but it isn't necessarily rough or flaky all the time.


Oil production


Dry skin has less production of oil or natural lipids. The sebaceous glands do not produce enough sebum to keep the skin hydrated.


Dehydrated skin may have normal or even increased oil production but still lack water or moisture. It can lead to a feeling of dryness in combination with shine presence or oiliness.




Treatment for dry skin involves providing additional hydration and replenishing lost lipids. It is recommended to use moisturizers rich in emollients and humectants, such as thick creams and lotions, and to avoid astringent and irritating products.


Treatment for dehydrated skin focuses on restoring the moisture balance in the skin. It involves using moisturizing products that help retain moisture in the skin, drinking enough water, avoiding dehydrating factors, and maintaining an adequately humid environment.


Note that skin can be at the same time both dry and dehydrated, which means it can be lacking in natural oils and water. 


Why know the differences?


It's important to know the differences between dry skin and dehydrated skin because each requires a different care approach, for example:


  • Selection of suitable products: By understanding whether your skin is dry or dehydrated, you can choose the most appropriate skin care products.

  • Products specifically designed to address dryness or lack of hydration can provide the necessary benefits and help improve skin condition.


  • Specific treatment: By knowing the condition of your skin, you can implement appropriate and focused treatment. It can include changes to your skincare routine, dietary and lifestyle adjustments, and specific products that address your skin's hydration needs.


  • Prevention of additional problems: Dryness and dehydration can increase the risk of other skin problems, such as irritation, inflammation, premature aging, and sensitivity.

  • By correctly identifying your skin type, you can take preventative measures and use appropriate products and practices to avoid or minimize these additional problems.


  • Long-term maintenance of skin health: Understanding the characteristics and needs of your skin can help you maintain its long-term health.

    • Well-hydrated and nourished skin is more resistant and elastic and can better function as a protective barrier against environmental factors and the signs of aging.

  • By properly addressing dryness or lack of hydration, you can promote long-term health and vitality of your skin.


In other words, knowing the differences between dry skin and dehydrated skin will allow you to make more informed and effective skincare decisions, tailoring your skin care products and routines to address the specific needs of your skin type and achieve healthy and balanced skin.


What products to use according to the skin condition


For dry skin, use products that provide deep hydration and help restore the skin's natural lipids. Here are some recommended product types:


  • Gentle cleansers: Opt for mild, fragrance-free cleansers to avoid excessive stripping of your skin's natural oils. Look for products that contain moisturizing ingredients like natural oils or ceramides.


  • Rich moisturizers: Choose moisturizing creams or lotions, thick and rich in emollient ingredients, such as natural oils (such as jojoba oil, coconut oil, or olive oil) and kinds of butter (such as shea butter or cocoa butter). These will help nourish and soften dry skin.


  • Face Oils: Face oils, such as rosehip oil, argan oil, or jojoba oil, are great for sealing moisture into the skin and providing an extra boost of hydration.


  • Gentle exfoliants: Although exfoliation can be beneficial in removing dead skin cells, it's important to choose gentle, non-abrasive exfoliants for dry skin. Opt for mild chemical exfoliants with mild acids, such as lactic acid or glycolic acid, which will help gently remove dead skin cells without irritating dry skin.


For dehydrated skin, the focus is on hydration and water retention in the skin. Here are some recommended products:


  • Light moisturizers: Look for light, fast-absorbing moisturizers that contain moisturizing ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or urea. These will help attract and retain moisture in the skin.


  • Moisturizing Essence or Toner: These lightweight liquid products can be applied before moisturizer to provide additional hydration and help prepare skin to better absorb subsequent products.


  • Hydrating masks: Hydrating masks can be a great option to provide a hydration boost. Look for masks with ingredients like aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, or hydrating plant extracts.


  • Facial mists: Facial mists are a refreshing way to add moisture to dehydrated skin during the day. Gently spritz the mist onto the skin for instant hydration and cooling relief.


Remember to tailor products to your skin needs and try different options to find the best ones.


Also, look for products formulated under high-quality standards, such as those offered by Jess Beauty. Enter our web catalog and discover the best products for your skin. 

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