Skip to main content
Main Menu

Is your skin dehydrated?

Dry Skin Image.jpeg

Is your skin dehydrated or just dry? There is a big difference and you need to know!

Dry skin and dehydrated skin are completely different and you need to know because it determines how you address each concern. While dry skin is most often caused by your body’s natural processes, dehydrated skin is caused by lifestyle and the environment.

The take out from that is it’s possible to return dehydrated skin to full hydration with simple changes in your skincare routine. But first, what’s the difference between the two?

What is Dry skin?

Dry skin is a skin type, which sits alongside oily, combination and normal skin types. This mean that dry skin may need to be continually addressed with a careful skincare practice, but on top of that it can also become dehydrated depending on environmental and lifestyle impacts.

Dermatologists determined that people with dry skin seem to have fewer oil-producing glands under their skin, which may be genetic. It can be made worse by hormonal changes, windy, cold or sunny weather and ingredients in makeup, soaps and cleansers.

Unlike dehydrated skin, dry skin is often obvious to the eye where skin can appear flaky, irritated, scaly, scratchy, cracked and dry, and feels rough to the touch. Or pores may appear small, there are red patches on the skin and the skin feels less supple.


What is Dehydrated skin?

Dehydrated skin is a skin condition and not a skin type like dry skin. No matter what your skin type, your skin can still be dehydrated due to environment and lifestyle factors. Your skin type can be oily and your skin can still be dehydrated. And you can also be well-moisturised and your skin is still dehydrated.

Dehydrated skin feels tight and rough to the touch, it lacks luminosity and appears dull, it’s highly sensitive to the skincare you apply to it as well as to sun exposure. Dehydrated skin readily shows fine lines and exacerbates the visible signs of skin ageing, as well as makes skin much more prone to sagging and wrinkles that deepen dramatically with age.

What causes Dehydrated skin?

Dehydrated skin is caused by lifestyle choices and environmental factors. Some of these are within your control, and others can be lessened by making beneficial skincare choices.

1. Sun
The sun causes oxidative stress to the skin, in particular from UVA rays, which are the rays that penetrate deep into the dermis layer of the skin resulting in photo-ageing, wrinkles and even suppression of the immune system. UVB rays attack the epidermis, or outer layers of your skin causing sunburn, but are not causally related to chronic dehydrated skin. So any exposure to UVA rays from the sun or sunbeds - some of which having 20 times the amount of UVA rays than a midday sun in summer - can cause skin to dehydrate.

2. Air Conditioning and Central Heating
While keeping yourself warm in winter and cool in summer is ideal for doing life it’s having devastating effects on our precious skin. The reason is simple, both air conditioning and central heating sucks humidity from the air. Humidity may be hell for the hair but our skin loves it! Cold and dry rooms in summer, and warm and dry rooms in winter results in often very dehydrated skin.

3. Poor Lifestyle
A diet that is lacking in quality sleep, fresh fruit and vegetables, too much coffee and alcohol, and low water intake is much more prone to dehydrated skin and premature ageing than other skin. So eat your greens!

4. Smoking
Smoking is known to have a significant visible impact on skin as we age seen most dramatically in twin studies (Google it!!). This is due to the extremely high toxicity of nicotine - it’s one of the most toxic substances on the planet, even known to kill leaches on contact! As well as causing very dehydrated skin caused from lack of oxygen and nutrients to the skin, smoking results in noticeable bags under the eyes, lip puckering, pale uneven skin tone, “baggy” and sagging skin on the face and body (and boobs!), prominent age spots, and even cataracts. Smoking also means that wounds and acne are much slower to heal and skin is prone to permanent scarring. And yes, dehydration!

5. Low quality skincare routines and products
It’s very easy to make dehydrated skin worse simply by not knowing what you should be applying to your skin in the first place. If you over exfoliate or use skincare products with excessive alcohol in them, then your skin will stay dehydrated and may get worse. Choosing an appropriate moisturiser is hugely important so you nurture, nourish and protect your skin.

6. Hot Showers and Baths
Over-hydrating in showers and baths, strangely, dehydrates your skin. This is more pronounced when the water is high in limestone, known as “hard water”. So take really hot baths and showers sparingly and make them short where possible to avoid that dull, dehydrated skin.

7. Ageing
Ageing is entirely unpreventable, and actually should be embraced and celebrated, but as you age, it’s important to get on board a good skincare routine. Ageing has a dehydrating effect on the whole body and coupled with slower cell production, the result is rougher skin with fine lines and wrinkles becoming more prominent. So nurturing and nourishing our skin is increasingly important as we age.


Rehydrating your skin

Hydration is critical to human health and bodily function. When it comes to your face, it’s important to adopt a regular skincare routine and use high quality products. And no, this doesn’t mean expensive, just moisturising products packed with nurturing and nourishing ingredients.

Moisture and hydration are not interchangeable words when it comes to moisturiser so whatever products you choose ideally needs to state its hydration properties (which increase the water content of skin) and ingredients.

Goodies to look for are:

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring acid in the body known to prevent the signs of skin ageing. If you’re dehydrated, topping up with a hyaluronic acid moisturiser or serum will give your skin the hydration boost it craves.

Ceramides, which occur naturally in the skin, are long chains of skin lipids that make up part of the epidermis, and enhance and protect the skin’s natural moisture barrier (keeping good moisture in and pollutants out!).

Essential and pure oils such as naturally extracted coconut, argan, jojoba, apricot kernel, avocado, macadamia, kukui nut, marula, borage, rosehip, and calendula oils calm and rehydrate thirsty skin.

Honey is a hygroscopic, which means it absorbs water from the air and facilitates binding it to the skin.

Glycerine from coconut oil works similarly to hyaluronic acid and honey to absorb water from the natural environment and keep it on the skin’s surface to maximise hydration.

Other gems are cocoa seed butter, green tea, provitamin B5, native kowhai extract, orange flower water, dehydroacetic acid, alaria esculenta extract (edible seaweed), and the candelilla plant and jojoba esters among other retain and maintain the skin’s maximum hydration.

Live your best life by locking in moisture and staying hydrated no matter what the world throws your way. Discover your new fave hydration bestie here.

Related articles


A good night-time facial routine is perfect for boosting your skin’s natural glow.

Say Bye Bye to Bacteria - 7 Tips and Tricks to Cleaning Your Makeup Tools

If you’re a makeup lover, or even just someone who uses makeup sparingly, you’ll know the importance of washing your makeup tools...right?