Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin: Everything You Need To Know

Posted on April 17 2020

close up of woman's face


Dry and dehydrated sound the same thing, right? But they’re not. Not only are they not the same problem, but they’re also not even the same type of problem. Dehydration is a condition that affects your skin, but dry skin is a skin type. With such technicality, it can be misleading, resulting in some misguided moves to solve the problem.

When your skin is dehydrated, the problem is simply that there's not enough water getting into the skin. This can be caused by excessive sun exposure, diet, caffeine consumption, skincare products, and more. Dry skin, on the other hand, is a skin type that doesn’t produce enough sebum as the other skin types, meaning that your skin lacks the oil it needs to retain moisture and protect itself.

With that in mind, we are going to look at what you need to know about dry skin, dehydrated skin, and what you can do to give your skin the care and attention that it needs.

Related: How to Have Great Skin? 12 Best Things you Can Do For Your Skin

How Can You Diagnose Your Skin Type?

If you’re uncertain whether or not you’re dealing with dry skin or dehydrated skin, then the best solution is to diagnose your skin type. As mentioned above, dry skin is a skin type, while dehydrated skin is a condition. So, how do you know what skin type you have?

If you want to see whether your skin is dehydrated, then pinching your cheek is both an easy and reliable test. If the skin wrinkles under pressure instead of keeping its shape, then most likely, it's dehydrated.

However, with dry skin, it will feel flaky and slightly rough in texture. If you have a surplus of flaky skin when the skin is agitated, then that may not indicate dehydration; instead, it could be classified as dry skin.

What Causes Dry Skin?

Unlike dehydrated skin, dry skin is a permanent skin type that’s mostly inherited but can be influenced by a range of factors, such as age (40 or over), climate (dry, cold, or low-humidity), or constant exposure to chlorinated water.

 Cold and dry weather can cause dry skin as well as excessive heat, like continuous exposure to central heating and fireplaces. If you’re prone to dry skin, be cautious about the type of product you use. For example, soap can strip away the natural oil from the skin, which can further exacerbate the issue. People with dry skin tend to have other skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. 

Need help finding high-end skin care products to dry or dehydrated skin? Check out We are Wild for an excellent variety of selections.

What Causes Dehydrated Skin?

close up image of a dry dehydrated hand


While dry skin is permanent, dehydrated skin is a temporary condition. There are a variety of external factors that can exacerbate dry skin, which can be a link to the direct cause of dehydrated skin. Losing moisture from low humidity, excessive exposure to the sun or a lack of moisture can dehydrate the skin. While dry skin can be treated and managed, dehydrated skin can be cured with the right topical products and lifestyle changes.

Related: Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreens: Why Safe Sunscreen Matters

What Can You Do to Prevent Dry and Dehydrated Skin?

As mentioned above, dry skin cannot be “cured.” However, you can take the right steps to retain moisture. Many of these steps can also get rid of dehydrated skin.  

With that in mind, here are some strategies to prevent dry and dehydrated skin:

  • Exfoliate: Dry skin tends to have an excess amount of dead skin cells that can block moisture from the skincare products. Regular exfoliation is vital to remove dead skin cells; therefore, help hydrating products perform effectively.
  • Use moisturizer: You need to be careful when it comes to what products you put on dry or dehydrated skin. Avoid products that strip away the natural oil of the skin, but consider using ones with hydrating ingredients, like the Nourishing Balm Moisturizer Stick. This moisturizer stick contains beeswax and sunflower oil to treat and restore dry, troubled skin.
  • Prepare for the changing seasons: The summer season is going to suck the moisture right out of your skin, but the dry cold winter is no help at all. Make sure you’re using products designed for the season, and avoid letting your skin get too hot or too cold.
  • Drink water: Aside from applying moisturizing products topically, you also need to drink plenty of water and consume water-rich foods like berries, watermelons, and cucumbers, especially on hot days. 
  • Consider a humidifier: Humidifiers are great at keeping your home from becoming too dry, especially during the winter. The goal of the humidifier is to return water into the air, so it doesn't steal from your skin.
  • Skip long hot showers: As relaxing as it feels, long hot showers can cause the water to evaporate from your skin, which is why the skin feels dry and appears red after a shower.

  Check out We are Wild for moisturizing skincare product to hydrate and promote your skin’s health

What Kind of Ingredients Should You Use on Your Skin?

close up image of water drops on leaves


Whether you’re dealing with dry or dehydrated skin, some ingredients can help you retain both water and moisture more efficiently. 

Here are a few to consider:

  • Emollients such as shea butter, paraffin, coconut/jojoba oil, and lanolin can soothe and hydrate the skin by creating a protective, moisturizing layer.
  • Humectants such as glycerin, sorbitol, hyaluronic acid, and urea are designed to reduce the loss of moisture by attracting water molecules similar to how a magnet attracts metal.
  • Moisturizing additives like butylene glycol can enhance the potency of hydrating ingredients by improving how it penetrates to the skin.


With these tips indicated above, you should have a better understanding of the difference between dry and dehydrated skin, as well as treatment and prevention strategies for both. More importantly, the ingredients listed above can help manage dry skin or even banish dehydrated skin for good. 

Don't forget that natural and quality ingredients from We are Wild play a significant role in improving the health of your skin. It can trap moisture and rehydrate the skin to keep it radiant and supple. Therefore, with all the right products and strategies, it is in your power to improve the condition of your skin with the right steps.  

Related: Toners 101: What Does a Toner do For Your Face and Skin

Recent Posts

Join We are Wild

Sign up for the Wild List and receive 20% off your first order.