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Dry Skin vs. Dehydrated Skin: Treatment and Prevention

Do you find your skin flaky, rough, and unhealthy? Does it lack moisture and seems to be dehydrated?

You either have dry skin or a dehydrated skin condition that needs immediate treatment.

But how do you know the difference between the two? This article lets you find out the symptoms of dry skin vs dehydration and how you can prevent these conditions from damaging your skin.

What is dry skin?

dry skin face

Dry skin is a condition that you may be born with. It means you lack the natural oil that moisturizes and hydrates your skin. People with dry skin constantly need products such as moisturizers and oils to keep their skin from cracking, scaling, and developing conditions such as eczema.

What is dehydrated skin?

Dehydrated skin is a condition that means your skin lacks enough water. Dehydrated skin looks like a surface with dull, dry, and itchy features. Dehydrated skin is easily treatable with positive lifestyle changes.

How can I tell if I have dry or dehydrated skin?

How would you tell the difference between dehydrated skin vs dry skin?

The most common way to tell if you have dehydrated skin is the appearance of deep dark circles, exaggerated wrinkles, and dull surfaces.

On the other hand, you know you have dry skin if you develop itchy and flaky skin with visible patches in areas such as your eyebrows, nose, and mouth.

Signs of dry skin

Dry skin lacks enough oil, which makes the surface scaly and prone to breakouts.

These are the common signs of dry skin:

  • Scaly appearance
  • Flaking skin
  • Skin redness
  • Irritation
  • Skin conditions such as dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema

Signs of dehydrated skin

Extremely dehydrated skin lacks enough hydration and can turn your skin darker, dull, and irritated.

The following are the signs of dehydrated skin:

  • Darker under-eye circles
  • Tired look
  • Itchiness and discomfort
  • Dullness
  • Wrinkles and fine lines

What causes dehydrated skin and dry skin?

dehydrated skin

The causes of both skin conditions differ depending on various factors such as medical history, lifestyle habits, and environmental settings.


The appearance of your skin is affected when you do not drink enough water a day.


Medications for conditions such as heart disease and allergies disrupt the skin’s natural oil production and water absorption.


Your family’s medical history can affect the condition of your skin, especially if dry skin is common among your family members.


Conditions such as extremely dry and cold weather can affect the skin’s moisture and hydration.

Causes of Dehydrated skin

Skin dehydration is a result of a lack of water in the body. If you do not drink plenty of water, your body organs, including your skin, will not be able to function well.

Does dehydration cause dry skin? Yes, lack of water leaves your skin dry and full of wrinkles.

Dehydration may be a result of the following:

  • Not drinking enough water
  • Excessive sweating due to exercise
  • Health conditions such as hyperhidrosis
  • Diarrhea
  • Sunburn
  • Medications

Causes of Dry Skin

The skin’s outermost layer safeguards the body’s water and prevents harmful substances from penetrating the skin’s inner layers. Dry skin happens when the skin’s outer layer is destroyed, leaving the skin susceptible to dangerous chemicals and foreign bodies.

The following are the causes of dry skin:

  • Dry weather
  • Low humidity
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Too much bathing
  • Weight loss
  • Age
  • Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis
  • Health conditions such as chronic kidney disease

How to care for dry and dehydrated skin?

You can still bring back the suppleness and health of your skin with the right preventive tips.

Drink more water

drinking a lot of water

Drink 1.5 – 2L of water each day to keep your skin hydrated. Alternatively, you can also consume water-rich food such as fruits.

Moisturize your skin regularly

Apply moisturizing products to your skin every day to prevent dryness.

Don’t over-exfoliate

Gently exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells and allow the absorption of moisture. However, avoid over-exfoliating to prevent stripping off your skin’s natural oil.

Try using face oils instead of creams

While creams can also benefit dry and dehydrated skin, using face oils is better to keep the oil locked into your pores.

Try using a humidifier in your bedroom

A humidifier puts moisture in the air and is beneficial to skin dryness.

Pay attention to your hands and feet

While you put moisturizer on your arms and legs, do not forget to apply moisture to your hands and feet, which are more prone to dryness and are exposed.

Avoid hot showers and baths

Heat affects your skin’s natural balance and leaves it inflamed. Take warm or cold showers instead.

Wash with mild soap

using mild soap

Avoid using soaps with harsh ingredients. Use gentle soaps that are mild in the skin and will not cause you skin irritation and discomfort.

Avoid scratching your skin

When your skin is itchy, apply healing cream instead of scratching it with your bare hands or other foreign objects. This will prevent abrasions which can cause your skin to break.

Dehydrated skin and dry skin management and prevention

You can prevent having dehydrated and dry skin if you start changing your lifestyle. A simple adjustment in the food you consume and your lifestyle habits can go a long way in making your skin supple and clearer.

Drink less tea and coffee

Too much caffeine in your body can affect your hormones, which may mess up the production of oils in your skin.

Cut back on alcohol.

Extreme alcohol intake causes your skin to dry and lose its elasticity. It also increases your chances of developing other disorders like heart and liver disease.

Limit or avoid carbonated beverages

Soda and other beverages with acidic content can produce more insulin in your body and can lead to inflammation. This condition can clog the pores on your skin, preventing enough oil production.

Avoid dehydrating medicines when possible

Medications for blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as antihistamines, can slow down oil production in the skin. This explains why dry and dehydrated skin is common among the elderly who has had long-term medication.

Eat plenty of hydrating foods

watermelon for hydration

Many fruits and vegetables are infused with natural water, such as oranges, apples, pears, celery, cucumber, and tomato. Consume these hydrating foods to help in bringing moisture to your skin.

Cut back on sugar and salt

Too much sugar and salt intake can lead to skin breakouts that are unsuitable for dehydrated and dry skin.

Eat the right fats for healthy skin

Healthy fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 can boost healthy cell membranes, which shows in healthy and well-hydrated skin.

Eat more foods with collagen

Collagen is good for skin elasticity. You can eat more collagen-rich foods such as bone broth, egg whites, and citrus fruits.

Dehydrated skin and dry skin treatments

Dry skin and skin dehydration can be a sign of aging. If you want to bring back your skin’s moisture and hydration, you need the help of experts who can apply effective treatments for your skin.

Team Dermatology offers skin rejuvenation treatments for you. We can provide a solution for dry and dehydrated skin with noninvasive skin services that do not have downtime and require no recovery period.

A skincare routine with the right products boosts your skin’s glow. To keep your skin hydrated, you can buy the following products that are good for achieving healthier skin.

RENEW Daily Hydration Cream. This cream is a mild and delicate moisturizer containing aloe vera; this cream restores your skin’s moisture balance and replaces dry skin, which can also help treat various skin conditions.

EltaMD Skin Recovery Light Moisturizer. A moisturizer that helps repair damaged skin and minimize irritation caused by dryness. It is enriched with antioxidants that fight off free radical damage.

RENEW Rejuvenating Moisturizer. A refreshing cream slows down signs of aging, nourishes dry skin, and improves your skin’s elasticity.

Check out our skin products and start an effective skincare routine today. Contact us to learn more about our products and services.

Dry skin specialist

Whether you have dry or dehydrated skin, you need to consult a dermatologist to know what needs to be done. Physicians can explain further the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin and the right solution for these conditions. Treatment is necessary to prevent your skin from further damage.

Team Dermatology have the best skin care specialists and board-certified dermatologists who are expert in reviving dry and dehydrated skin.

Call us today to book a consultation at any of our locations in Memorial and Sugar Land. What are you waiting for? Talk with one of our dermatologists and start your journey toward glowing skin.

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TEAM Dermatology advises you of the departure of Dr. Kuda Maloney from our Memorial and Sugar Land locations in November of  2023.  Dr. Maloney will be pursuing interests outside of private practice and we wish her the best in achievement of her future endeavors. Please contact our office to arrange for your care with another provider in our offices.