Do I Have Dry Skin or Dehydrated Skin?

Studies show that approximately 30% of people suffers from dry skin. Less obvious, is that this statistic covers dry, dehydrated and a combination of the two. Dry or dehydrated? What's the difference? Do we care? Well yes we do, because not only is there a difference, but our approach to protecting our skin will also vary in each case.

In this article, we'll explain the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin and how to best protect your skin so you ultimately suffer from neither condition.

Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin: What’s the Difference?

When most people think of skin issues, they think of dry skin. Dry skin is characterized by a lack of natural oils that nourish and protect the skin.

On the other hand, dehydrated skin means that your skin is actually lacking water. Water is an essential component that allows the cells and tissues in your skin to live and function as designed.

Skin types are split into several different categories:

  • Dry skin suffers from a lack of essential oils and other necessary nutrients.
  • Oily skin suffers from an overproduction of sebum that leaves the skin feeling greasy and looking shiny.
  • Combination skin. These unlucky folks have to deal with both dry skin and oily skin issues. It seems a bit counterintuitive, but it’s quite common to find that your t-zone (nose, forehead and chin) are oily, while your cheeks are dry and flaky.
  • Sensitive skin. Some people have skin that is more easily irritated by external influences like the environment, perfumed soaps, certain chemicals and so on.
  • Normal skin is skin that basically behaves itself and does what it’s supposed to do.

That said, don’t think your normal skin will always be normal. You’ll find it fluctuates from radiant and fabulous to dry or oily depending on the many variables in your life.

Dehydrated skin isn't really a "type" of skin. It's actually a condition that could also indicate other health concerns.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Skin

While dry skin may not be the most severe skin condition, it can be quite frustrating to deal with, especially if it's a regular occurrence. Some of the most common signs of dry skin are scaly or flaky skin, redness and general irritation or recurring incidents of eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydrated Skin

The first thing people notice about dehydrated skin is its appearance. It appears dry and flakey but also comes with a certain dullness with darker rings under the eyes, giving the appearance of sunken eyes and even shadows around the face, especially under the eyes and around the nose.

You’ll also notice an increased appearance of fine lines and surface wrinkles.

How Do I Know if I Have Dehydrated Skin?

You might think your skin is healthy and hydrated while it’s actually quite dehydrated without you even knowing. One of the first physical signs of dehydrated skin is when it feels dry and tight. If you notice that your skin tends to crack or peel, especially in the wintertime, your skin is probably dehydrated.

Dehydrated skin has a much duller appearance and if your face, hands, or nails are dull, and you feel like your skin is more wrinkled than normal, your skin could be dehydrated.

Finally, if you're noticing more shadows around your nose, cheeks, eyes, or even an increase in your fine lines, you could be dehydrated.

Though these are all the physical signs of dehydration, they could also be indicators of other skin and general health conditions.

The Dehydrated Skin Test

If you're still not quite sure if you're dealing with dehydrated skin, then you'll want to consider giving yourself the dehydrated skin test. This is an easy test that only involves a simple pinch!

Take a small portion of your skin around your cheek and squeeze it lightly. If you notice any wriggling, or the skin doesn't instantly bounce back when you let go, then your skin is likely dehydrated. You can also perform this test on the lower arm or the abdomen.

How to Treat Dehydrated Skin

If you’ve established that you probably have dehydrated skin, with the proper attention and treatment, you can begin making, and seeing, visible improvements in as little as three days. That said, depending on the severity of your condition, it could take as much as a few weeks for your skin to fully heal.

Healthy Habits for Dehydrated Skin

When you’re dehydrated, your skin is the first to suffer. It’s already dry and tight from the lack of moisture, and as the condition worsens, it becomes itchy and painful from being dry and cracked.

The good news is that there are several steps you can take in your daily life to prevent dehydrated skin, here’s a good list:

  • Eat more plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Drink more water, especially when exercising
  • Drink less alcohol and caffeine and...quit smoking!
  • Use selected skincare products for treating dehydrated skin

When treating your dehydrated skin, the more you do to prevent the condition, the better. So make sure you’re making these healthy habits a part of your everyday life and not just a flash-in-the-pan when you notice something you don't like.

You should also continue to use high quality skincare products like moisturizers and face masks to rejuvenate your skin and keep it healthy.

Get Ahead of Dehydrated Skin with Proper Daily Care

Dehydrated skin shouldn't ever be a permanent issue. By taking the proper steps to keep your body hydrated, you can avoid dehydration! So be sure you’re taking the proper measures to help prevent the condition and get busy when you notice any signs of dehydration.