Dry Skin vs Dehydrated Skin: What is the Difference?

One of the biggest skin care mistakes that I see, is the misdiagnosis between dry skin and dehydrated skin.  Dehydrated skin is completely different from dry skin, and can be found on every single skin type.  Therefore, it’s vital to know the difference between the two, in order to properly treat your skin.

Adult Acne R Devine Organic Skin CareI often hear clients complaining about the texture of their skin.  Their skin does not look supple, it has really tiny fine lines all over the surface, and it just doesn’t have that natural glow.  Almost every one of these clients, before coming to me, has spent hundreds of dollars on products for their “dry skin” and nothing improves it.

I also have seen clients in the past with extremely oily, acne-prone skin.  They use harsh, chemical-filled drying products on their skin, causing their skin to become flaky.  They don’t like the dry, flakey skin on their face, so then they go out and purchase products for dry skin, which makes their oily skin even more oily, creating a vicious cycle.

So, what’s going on here?

Most people think that dry skin and dehydrated skin are the same thing, but there is a HUGE difference between the two. Dehydrated skin is a lack of water.  Dry skin is a lack of oils.

Let’s look further into this…

Dehydrated Skin

Dehydrated skin is a skin condition where the skin is lacking water.  It’s important to remember that more than half of our body is made up of water.  Your body needs to continuously consume water to stay hydrated and healthy. Water is vital for life, and is necessary in order for our organs to function optimally.  Your skin is your body’s largest organ.  It needs water in order to function properly as well, and the only true way to hydrate your skin is internally.

It’s a myth that our skin absorbs water externally.  If it did, we would swell up like balloons every we showered or it rained outside.  Yes, our skin will get wrinkly if we soak in the tub for too long, but as soon as we’re out of the tub, that water starts to evaporate and our skin goes back to normal.

Causes of Dehydrated Skin

  • Not drinking enough water – if the inside of your body is dehydrated, your skin will be dehydrated as well.
  • Not consuming enough oil – a diet low in oil can leave your body and skin dehydrated, affecting your body inside and out. Oil is necessary in order to help your body absorb the water that you drink.
  • Too much caffeine – caffeine is a natural diuretic, increasing the amount of water expelled from the body.  If you drink a lot of caffeinated drinks, you need to try to reduce your intake, as well as increase your water intake.
  • Weather, artificial air conditioning and artificial heat – in the fall and winter months, the air is dry and lacks the amount of moisture in the air that the summer months contain.  Dry air is also found in houses and buildings that have air conditioning and artificial heat.  This lack of moisture in the air will actually cause transepidermal water loss, causing surface dehydration in your skin.
  • Harsh, drying skin care products – a lot of conventional acne products are formulated with harsh, drying chemicals that soak up the excess oils from the skin.  Unfortunately, when you dry out these oils, you’re also drying out the essential moisture in your skin.

Symptoms of Dehydrated Skin

These are common symptoms of dehydrated skin, however, some of these symptoms can also be signs of other skin conditions.

  • Really fine, horizontal lines in the skin when you gently lift or pinch the skin on your cheek or forehead
  • Fine lines, wrinkles and/or premature aged look to the skin
  • Dull, lacklustre skin
  • Feeling of tightness
  • Flakey patches that may or may not be itchy
  • Sensitivity
  • Dry, red, itchy nose
  • Acne breakouts
  • Under eye bags and dark circles

Tips for Improving Dehydrated Skin

I remember my skin care teacher in school always telling us that drinking water was the best skin care product that you could use on your skin.  If you have dehydrated skin, increasing your water intake every day for two straight weeks will make a dramatic difference to your skin.

  • Drink 1-2 litres of filtered water each day
  • Drink caffeine-free herbal teas
  • Limit caffeine intake to one cup of caffeinated tea or coffee per day
  • Treat your skin with oil-based moisturizers and balms to trap moisture into your skin, preventing transepidermal water loss
  • Mask with hydration-increasing masks
  • Sleep with a humidifier next to your bed to prevent transepidermal water loss

Dry Skin

Dry Skin is a skin type, usually that you’re born with or grow into, where the skin does not produce enough oil. While dry skin can become dehydrated, no other skin type will experience dry skin.

Characteristics of Dry Skin

  • Small pores, almost invisible pores with no oil production
  • Tightness
  • Premature aging
  • Visible fine lines and wrinkles in expression line

Skin Care Tips for Dry Skin

  • Eating a diet rich in antioxidants and healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, seeds and raw plant oils
  • Limiting sugar intake as much as possible
  • Avoiding sun exposure and wearing sunscreen
  • When treating dry skin externally, it is important to use high-quality, organic plant oils.  As we begin to age, the oil production in our skin starts to slow down.  As the amount of oil in our skin decreases, fine lines and wrinkles begin to appear at a faster rate.  Using a high-quality facial oil cleanser and serum, that are formulated with oils that closely mimic the skin’s natural oils, feeds out skin with the oils that our skin is lacking.  Raw, unrefined plant oils are also extremely high in vitamins and essential fatty acids (EFA’s) that nourish our skin and encourage it to be healthier.
  • Also as we age, collagen and elastin production begin to decrease and so does the naturally-occurring hyaluronic acid within the body. When formulating R Devine Skin Care, I meticulously chose ingredients that would encourage the skin to age gracefully.  When combined, these organic ingredients effectively cleanse the skin, nourish the skin cells with vital nutrients, stimulate cell oxygenation, and boost natural elastin and collagen production, all while ensuring optimal levels of hydration so that the skin functions optimally.




About Rachel Devine

Rachel Devine is a multi award-winning holistic aesthetician and the founder and skin care formulator of R Devine Organic Skin Care. With a difference approach to healthy skin, Rachel strongly believes in the importance of self care, self love, and taking a full body holistic approach to skin care, both inside and out.