Skincare Myths Debunked: Separating Dehydrated Skin from Dry Skin

HK Vitals

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Dehydrated skin and dry skin, although completely different issues, are sometimes used interchangeably for skin conditions. In simple terms, dry skin refers to basically a skin type. It is the texture of your skin and the low amount of skin oil (sebum) being made by your skin. Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is a proper and oftentimes harmful condition that affects countless people all around the world. If you have a dehydrated face, it means that your skin lacks water content and moisture.
Both things are completely different, however, dry skin can still point to several skin problems like eczema, dermatitis, and skin dehydration. This article provides in-depth information about dry skin and dehydrated skin and helps you understand the differences, causes, and cures/solutions to both problems.

Symptoms of Dry Skin vs Dehydrated Skin

Dry Skin Symptoms

Rough-to-the-touch skin texture
Cracked skin around your heels, specifically
Constant peeling skin
Itchiness and a scaly skin texture
Flaky and loose skin

Dehydrated Skin Symptoms

Under-eye circles
Tired eye appearance
A constant itchy feeling on your skin
Dull skin
Fine lines and wrinkles
Associated tiredness and lethargy

Causes for Dehydrated Skin vs Dry Skin

There are several factors to look for to understand if you have a dehydrated face or if you just have some dry skin. These factors are as follows:

  • Hydration issue: When you do not drink enough water daily
  • Medical issues: Some medical conditions exist that have side effects that cause loss of fluids and water in your body
  • Environmental issues: Dehydration in face and loss of water in the skin can occur due to certain triggers in the environment

With all these factors in mind let us now explore how one’s skin can get dehydrated and how your skin type can become dry:

Dehydrated Skin: Causes

  • Too much sweating can be caused by rigorous work/exercise or a medical condition (hyperhidrosis)
  • Losing bodily fluids due to issues like diarrhea
  • Conditions like heatstroke or sunburn
  • Diabetes
    Medicines like antihistamines and laxatives have side effects that can cause fluid loss in the body

Dry Skin: Causes

  • Hormonal imbalance in the body
  • Environments that are dry and/or low humidity
  • Harmful chemicals and ingredients in soaps
  • Frequent and long showers
  • Malnourishment/malnutrition
  • Aging-related problems
  • Skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis
  • Diseases like hypothyroidism, as well as chronic kidney diseases

Discovering Dehydration on Face: Skin Turgor Test

To see if there is a chance of you having dehydrated skin at home, you can use skin elasticity or skin turgor. The test is pretty simple: you have to grab a little skin on the back of your hand or your cheek between two fingers and pinch a little. If the pinched area bounces back to its original place within three seconds of doing so, that means your body has enough levels of fluid in it. If it doesn’t, it might be a sign of dehydration on face. While effective enough, there is still nothing better than going to a physician or a dermatologist and getting a professional consultation instead.

Dryness and Dehydration and Skin: Skin Care Tips

For curing and improving your skin health if you have dehydration on your face and body, consuming water is the first and foremost step. Dehydration in our body is caused due to low amounts of fluids and water, so consuming it as much as you can is a great way to revive skin health. In certain cases, when just water does not work, you can also start consuming electrolytes. Using products that contain ingredients like lactic acid, aloe, glycerin, snail mucin, and ceramides can go a long way in maintaining hydration and improving your dehydrated skin.

For dry skin, most remedies and skin care tips are external as this is a skin type that you have to maintain and care for throughout your life. Opting for moisturizers that contain hydrating elements such as hyaluronic acid can be extremely beneficial to your skin (this can be used in case of dehydrated skin.) Oily substances like shea butter or coconut, almond, and hemp oil are also great sources of nourishment. Other than this, you can lessen the amount of time you take in the shower.


While both dry skin and dehydrated skin can have similar symptoms, it is always good to be on the lookout. Observing your skin while ensuring proper fluid intake can go a long way in maintaining skin health. Dehydration on the skin can occur due to various reasons that are preventable and/or manageable, all you have to do is be more mindful of your body. Remember while it might not seem like much at first, it is always important to get properly diagnosed and treat such issues as soon as possible before they progress to an extreme stage.

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