Skin Solutions: Dry vs. Dehydrated

Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin

Until very recently, I had no idea that there was a difference between dry and dehydrated skin, and it occurred to me that many of you may not have known either. It is especially relevant going into winter, so here is my guide to telling the difference and how to address each particular concern.

What is the difference?

Simply put, dry skin is the result of a lack of oil and dehydrated skin is the result of a lack of water. Dry skin is also normally a skin type whereas dehydrated skin is a skin condition.

How do I tell them apart?

Dry Skin

  • Skin looks dull, may be flaky and lacks plumpness
  • Small pores that don’t absorb product easily
  • “Tight” feeling
  • Skin can be sensitive and easily irritated

Dehydrated Skin

  • Absorbs moisturisers quickly
  • Make-up disappears and goes patchy throughout the day
  • Complexion can be ashen
  • Skin looks best right out of the shower

Recommended products for dry skin

How to treat dry skin

Recommended products for dehydrated skin

How to treat dehydrated skin


Caroline Hirons’ Dry or Dehydrated Cheat Sheet
Sali Hughes’ Dehydration Video
Sali Hughes’ Dry Skin Video

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6 comments on Skin Solutions: Dry vs. Dehydrated

  • CharlieW

    Great post! Very informative. Thx x

  • Alicia

    How do you treat both I have dry and dehydrated

    • Jules (author)

      A combination of the recommended treatments in the post should help, for example: use a nourishing, rich night cream, invest in a day moisturiser containing hyaluronic acid (or buy Hydraluron), avoid foaming cleansers and instead use a balm cleanser at night (e.g. Lush Ultrabland) to simultaneously cleanse and moisturise, followed by an oil-based serum like Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Hydrating masks are also great – try Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Masque – and take supplements to improve skin elasticity.

  • Alicia

    Thank you I appreciate the help. If its not to much trouble do you recommend any good cleansers,primes, serums or mosturizers for sensitive skin, my face is so irritated from trying all these new products 🙁

    • Jules (author)

      It’s very difficult to recommend specific products because it really depends what your sensitivity is to exactly. I would highly recommend visiting a dermatologist who can help diagnose your triggers, and in the meantime reduce your skincare routine so that it is as basic as possible. The key is to limit products used and also steer clear of potentially irritating additives, so stick to products with as few, natural ingredients as possible.

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