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What Is The Difference Between A Dry Skin And A Dehydrated Skin?

It is true that at a first glance, “dryness” and “dehydration” may seem to have the same meaning. But, when it comes to skincare, a dry skin and a dehydrated skin are totally different with completely different underlying causes.

What Is The Difference Between A Dry Skin And A Dehydrated Skin?

What Is The Difference Between A Dry Skin And A Dehydrated Skin?

Basic Differences Between A Dry Skin And A Dehydrated Skin

Dry skin is a type of skin, which we cannot change and can only treat it. However, dehydrated skin is actually a temporary skin condition that anyone can experience. Dry skin lacks oil or lipids. However, in case of dehydrated skin, there is a lack or reduced level of water in the stratum corneum or the top layer of your skin.

Dehydrated skin need not affect only dry skin. Oily as well as a combination skin can also be dehydrated.

Differences Between Dry & Dehydrated Skin Based on their Characteristics

Some of the differences between a dry skin and a dehydrated skin, based on their characteristics include the following.

  • Dry Skin Characteristics. Dry skin feels rough, appears dry and can also be flaky.
  • Dehydrated Skin Characteristics. Dehydrated skin looks dull, feels tight and also feels rough. A dehydrated skin is sensitive and shows wrinkles and fine lines. A dehydrated skin shows accelerated signs of ageing, such as sagging and deep wrinkles.

How to Diagnose Between Dry Skin and Dehydrated Skin?

A dry skin tends to be extremely uncomfortable, itchy and flaky. The worst areas that experience dry skin are the eyebrows and around the corners of mouth and the nose. On the body, the most common areas of problem of dry skin include the neck, thighs, and the inside of your arms. Rubbing the skin might sound like grinding fine sandpaper. You can also see the dried flakes of your skin are falling.

However, to evaluate a dehydrated skin, you need to pinch the cheeks and if the skin wrinkles with a gentle pressure, you can know that the skin cells require adequate amount of water. Dehydrated skin feels tight, looks dull, and you might see more exaggerated wrinkles, can also find more of exaggerated dark circles beneath the eyes.

Common signs of a dehydrated skin are. skin redness, inflammation and a lot of congestion.

Differences Between Dry & Dehydrated Skin Based on their Treatment.

Dry Skin Treatments.

Harsh soaps, hot showers, heat, and arid climates, all can trigger skin dryness. However, there are several ways to treat a dry skin, which includes. using coconut oil, petroleum jelly, oatmeal baths, taking antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, and also by using gloves and taking short showers.

Using Coconut Oil to Treat Dry Skin

Coconut oil contains emollient properties. Emollients create a smooth surface by filling up the spaces between skin cells. This is the reason why the saturated fatty acids occurring naturally in the coconut oil can hydrate as well as smooth your dry skin. Coconut oil can be used regularly on even the most sensitive body parts, such as underneath the eyes and around the mouth. One more advantage of this oil is that you do not require mixing it with anything and it is very effective in treating dry skin.

Treat Dry Skin by Using Petroleum Jelly

It is known that petroleum jelly products are wonderful in healing the skin in older adults. Petroleum jelly contains mineral oil and it covers your skin in a protective layer, which traps moisture underneath and helps heal dry as well as the irritated patches on your dry skin.

Oatmeal Baths to Treat Dry Skin

One of the folk remedies for dry and irritated skin is the use of oatmeal. Colloidal oatmeal contains anti-inflammatory, as well as antioxidant properties that soothe skin irritation occurring from skin dryness. This home remedy is especially effective in case you want to get relief from the itchiness in your skin occurring as a result of skin dryness.

You can prepare your oatmeal bath at home for treating your dry skin. For this, you need to chop oatmeal into fine powder and then stir it into warm water. After you have taken your oatmeal bath, you must use a moisturizer and moisturize your skin well, so as to lock it in your skin.

Beat Dry Skin by Taking Antioxidants & Omega-3 Fatty Acids

You can take foods that actually assist you in making your skin appear healthier by fighting the dryness. Foods that are loaded with antioxidants can minimize the skin damage caused due to toxins and can help the body make healthy skin cells. Blueberries, tomatoes, beans, carrots, peas and lentils are some of the foods that improve your skin health. Salmon, which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, can also contribute to a glowing healthy skin and help you get rid of skin dryness.

Use Gloves to Combat Dry Skin

Your hands generally experience the most direct contact with the environmental irritants like the laundry detergent and dish soap. Hence, it is highly recommended to wear gloves when you are using water, such as cleaning dish or doing laundry or while doing other household chores, as well as while you are outside in very cold temperature.

Wearing gloves when doing chores that require water can reduce the symptoms of dry and irritated skin.

Adjusting Your Shower Temperature & Time

As per the American Academy of Dermatology, you can sometimes relieve dry and irritated skin by simply changing your shower routine. Though you might like to take hot showers, they can scald your skin and can result in skin damage and skin dryness. Moreover, some soaps might claim to moisturize and repair your skin, but can actually cause the opposite effect by triggering allergic reactions and by making your skin thinner with the harsh chemicals.

It is also important that you take only short showers with lukewarm water; not hot water, as hot water exacerbates skin dryness. And also, use soaps that do not have fragrance and are gentler on skin.

Treatments for Dehydrated Skin.

A dehydrated skin could be treated by the following means.

Exfoliation for Treating Dehydrated Skin

As dead skin builds up, the absorption of the moisturizers that you use gets diminished by the dead skin build-ups. Exfoliating once in a week is important for removing the dead cells of the skin. This allows the moisturizers to work in a better manner and help you treat a dehydrated skin better.

Add Serum to Your Skincare Routine for Treating Dehydrated Skin

You must get serums and apply them before using any moisturizer, so as to hydrate your skin. You must use a serum that contains hyaluronic acid, as it is best for hydrating a dehydrated skin. Our skin produces hyaluronic acid naturally; however, supplementing through skin care products could be the key to address a dehydrated skin.

Use a Heavier Moisturizer During Night for Dehydrated Skin

It is recommended to use a heavier moisturizer during the night. This is because, while we sleep, the heated dry air results in the loss of skin moisture naturally. So, using a heavier and oil-free and a non-comedogenic moisturizer during the night is important for treatment of dehydrated skin.

Treat Dehydrated Skin by Drinking Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water is very essential. You must drink at least 8 glass of water a day, especially if your skin is sweating as that can worsen a dehydrated skin.

Use a Humidifier if you have Dehydrated Skin

You must place a humidifier in your home or in your office room, so as to keep the air sufficiently humid so that your skin does not lose its moisture to the air.

Take Care of Dehydrated Skin According to the Seasons

Temperature as well as the changes in humidity can affect the way our skin appears and behaves. In winter, when there is extreme cold, low humidity in air, it might result in the skin to become dry and turn cracked, itchy and irritated. Moreover, cold air even tightens skin pores, reduces the blood circulation and also reduces the production of sebum. Some other factors that can contribute to a dehydrated skin include, low humidity, hot showers, as well as the central heat. This is the reason it is important for you to create a specific skin care regimen for dehydrated skin in the winters to soothe the weather-worn skin.

However, in the summer and spring seasons, the atmosphere holds enough of water and that provides an extra dose of water to your skin. However, it is again true that excess of direct sunlight may result in skin dehydration, so you must make use of a sunscreen during hot seasons for taking care of your dehydrated skin.

Differences between Dry Skin and Dehydrated Skin Based On Their Maintenance

Dry skin is actually an inherent condition of the skin that sustains for most of our life. However, a dehydrated skin is more of a state that the skin is in and you can fix that easily. You can manage the condition of dehydrated skin by using a moisturizing mask weekly, so as to replenish the moisture of your skin and also by drinking sufficient water.


So, now that we are aware of some of the differences between a dry skin and a dehydrated skin, we would like to add that by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, a proper skincare routine, you can support plump, radiant skin and also prevent problems, such as skin dehydration and dry skin. Keep in mind that a healthy diet, healthy habits and drinking plenty of water always help you bring the best out of your skin. Make sure you talk to your dermatologist in case you suffer from any severe skin health issues.


  1. Healthline – Dry Skin vs. Dehydrated Skin: What’s the Difference?
  2. Medical News Today – How to recognize and treat dehydrated skin
  3. American Academy of Dermatology Association – Dry Skin Relief

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 16, 2024

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