Does your skin ever become flaky, irritated, itchy and dull? You might have dry or dehydrated skin. Wondering what causes dry skin, whether there’s an easy way to add a hydration-packed punch and whether there’s even a difference between dry and dehydrated skin? Have a read to find out all you need to know.

Is there a difference between dry and dehydrated skin?

The terms ‘dry skin’ and ‘dehydrated skin’ are often used interchangeably and at their simplest, both dry and dehydrated skin do lack the water content they need to keep in their top, healthy and luminously glowy condition. However, there are key differences in their causes and symptoms and they need different ways of care.

Dry Skin

What is dry skin?

Dry skin is a common skin type and is typically genetic – so unfortunately, for some it can be a lifelong struggle! Dry skin simply doesn’t produce as much of sebum as normal skin, making it lack the lipids that lock in moisture in the epidermis and protect from external aggressors. This in turn leads to impaired skin barrier function and a complexion that is flaking, irritated and prone to redness.

What are the signs of dry skin?

Think ‘dry skin’ and thoughts of your face might come to mind, but skin dryness can happen on any part of the body. Signs of dry skin can include flakiness, redness, looking and feeling rough and general irritation.

Caring for dry skin

While dry skin can’t be treated, there are ways to help keep dryness at bay. This is where gentle formulas that quench its thirst and trap moisture in come into play.

  • Cleanse gently: Look for gentle, natural ingredients in your cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils – anything that leaves your complexion “squeaky clean” can add to skin dryness.

  • Buff away dead skin cells: Exfoliation is just important for dry skin as it is for other skin types, but it’s important to keep exfoliation to three times a week max – too much buffing action can irritate and dry out skin even more.

  • Lock in hydration: Above all, the key thing with caring for dry skin is keeping its precious moisture to maintain a good level of hydration - hello, nourishing face oils and luxuriously textured moisturisers!

Other tips

  • Look for hydrating ingredients: When searching for skincare, look for skincare products with humectants, those handy ingredients that draw moisture in. Aloe vera, honey, hyaluronic acid and glycerin are some of the go-tos here.
  • Add moisture to your environment: Use a humidifier, especially during those dry winter months.
  • Avoid long, hot showers: As tempting as it is, those hot showers can strip skin of hydration and should be avoided - keep sessions short and use lukewarm water.

Your dry skincare routine

Dehydrated Skin

What is dehydrated skin?

Dehydrated skin is a skin condition which is usually temporary and is caused by our environment or diet. Skin dehydration can be caused a variety by external factors, from times of low humidity (think winter or airplane cabins), a lack of sufficient water intake or fresh food in your diet. Even excessive caffeine consumption can kick in the onset of skin dehydration (guilty!).

What are the signs of dehydrated skin?
Along with the tell-tale sign of it losing its natural glow, the signs of dehydrated skin can include itchiness, more pronounced undereye circles and increased visible fine lines and wrinkles.

Caring for dehydrated skin

Because skin dehydration is caused by diet and lifestyle factors, the good news is that it’s easy to avoid with just a few lifestyle and skincare changes!

  • Use a gentle cleanser: A cleanser with a gentle formulation is key, as harsh cleansers can strip away those much-needed oils and lead to further dehydration, flaking and uncomfortable tightness
  • Gently exfoliate: The build up of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin can cause it to look dull. Exfoliation will help slough off the buildup, but as with dry skin, it's important not to overdo it! Three times a week is the max recommended usage.
  • Moisturise and oil duo: Not sure if to use an oil or moisturiser? Combine the two for a power combo of skin-hydrating goodness! Make sure to go for a richly textured moisturiser for a heavy hydration hit. A great tip is to use these on damp skin.
  • Mist up: Keep a mist toner handy for an on-the-go hydration hit throughout the day.
  • All over TLC: Don't forget to give the skin on your body some TLC too.

Other Tips

  • Keep Hydrated: A key way to hydrate your skin is starting from the inside out. Drinking plenty of water and minimising dehydrating alcohol and caffeine can work wonders alone.
  • Diet: Incorporate more water through diet - think water-rich fruit and vegetables such as celery, watermelon, cucumber or strawberry
  • Lifestyle: It might not be the quickest fix, but your lifestyle plays a key role in how your skin looks. Exercise and sleep are key here.

Your dehydrated skin regime

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