The difference between dry and dehydrated skin

Do you actually know if you have dry or dehydrated skin?

The term dry skin is used a lot in the cosmetic industry—partly because it’s a common skin concern, but also because the buzz term has become an easy marketing ploy for companies within the industry. But if dry skin is an issue that you think you suffer from, have you ever actually gone to a skin expert or doctor to get a diagnosis? Do you just assume you have dry skin? While there are many people who do have dry skin, there are equally, if not more people, who actually have dehydrated skin, which requires a completely different set of ingredients to help manage. You can also have dehydrated skin that is not dry. To solve the question of the difference between dry and dehydrated skin, I’ve defined the two terms, their symptoms, causes, and natural and clinical solutions to cure both.


What is dehydrated skin?
While dry skin is one of the most overused terms, causing consumers to purchase products and treatments to combat dryness, many people actually have dehydrated skin. Dehydrated skin is a skin condition caused by lack of water in the outermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum, and can be aggravated by other problems.
What causes dehydrated skin?
Dehydrated skin is typically caused by factors such as poor diet, sun damage, air conditioning, smoking, high caffeine consumption, change in weather and alcohol consumption, all of which deplete your body of water resulting in skin that is dehydrated.
What are the symptoms of dehydrated skin?
If your skin feels tight, looks dull, or is sensitive, then you may have dehydrated skin.
How can you combat dehydrated skin?
Use the correct ingredients
Using the right ingredients on the skin is crucial for healing dehydrated skin. Opt for ingredients that lock in moisture for extended periods of time like hyaluronic acid, seaweed, linoleic acid and aloe vera. If you are looking for a serum, try the hyaluronic acid based Medik8 Hydr8 B5 and complement this with Medik8 Ultimate Recovery Bio-Cellulose Mask, which is made specifically for dehydrated skin. With hyaluronic acid, marine algae, zinc, and detoxifying minerals, it’s the perfect weekly treatment to keep skin moisturised and fight external factors that cause dehydrated skin.
Making sure you drink plenty of water each day (aim for 1-1.5L minimum), and avoiding too much caffeine and alcohol will definitely help. Consuming water-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables, can also make an impact on dehydrated skin.
Clinical treatments
Intraceuticals Oxygen Infusions
One of the most effective solutions for dehydrated skin is a clinical treatment. A hyaluronic acid-based treatment is ideal. My Intraceuticals Oxygen Infusions increases skin’s hydration levels using oxygen under pressure to promote the delivery of potent serums containing active ingredients to the skin.
Another great option for dehydrated skin is a Medifacial, which is a bespoke treatment that uses a lactic acid-based peel exfoliant to boost dehydrated skin.
What is dry skin?
Dry skin is an actual skin type, like combination or oily skin, where the skin naturally contains less oil-producing glands than normal skin. Because of this, dry skin on the face and body produces less sebum. Dry skin usually has fewer lipids than normal skin, which is why the skin isn’t as hydrated, bouncy, or plump.
What causes dry skin?
Dry skin isn’t usually caused by any external factors as it’s predominantly a skin type, although it can be exacerbated by disruption to the skin barrier, which can occur when skin is over exfoliated or irritated.
What are the symptoms of dry skin?
White flaky skin, redness, and a scaly texture are all symptoms of dry skin. The symptoms are perhaps the easiest way to tell the difference between dry and dehydrated skin.
How can you cure dry skin?
Use the correct ingredients
With dry skin, apply a hydrating ingredient followed by a moisturising ingredient that locks in moisture throughout the day and night. Try shea butter, glycerin, coconut oil, shea butter, lanolin and olive oil. Start with the thinnest formula and seal with the thickest. Try starting with the Dr Rabia Malik Skincare London ‘Renew’ Serum, which has key ingredients like emu oil, lavender oil, and raspberry seed oil that help hydrate skin. Let this sit for 5-10 minutes and then seal it in with shea butter or a ceramide-based cream, such as  Cosmedix Rescue + Balm 50G, which is an intense and concentrated all-natural shea butter based balm.
With dry skin, diet can play a significant role. Many people with dry skin are lacking essential fatty acids in their diet, so increasing your intake of oily fish and seeds and nuts can help, as can an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. An elimination diet can also help determine if an underlying food sensitivity might be playing a role. For example, if you notice your skin getting drier when you consume dairy, try to avoid it.
Clinical treatments
Dr Rabia Malik Skin Plan
Because dry skin is a skin type, a clear diagnosis and treatment plan is key to combating the symptoms. Dr Malik’s Skin Plan includes a 30-minute consultation and skin analysis, followed by a personalised skin plan, and recommended products to ease and cure symptoms of dry skin. The differences between dry skin and dehydrated skin are significant, so booking a personal consultation can really help if this is something you are unsure of.
The conclusion
Now that you understand the difference between dry and dehydrated skin, you can properly treat each condition with the correct ingredients and clinical treatments.