Dehydrated skin means that your skin is lacking moisture or water. It can be dry, itchy, rough, and may look dull as well. Your skin tone and complexion may even look uneven, and fine lines are more evident.

Fortunately, it is not a permanent condition and is easy to treat. Dehydrated skin can look dry on the outside however, it is different from having a dry skin type.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is the difference between dehydrated skin and dry skin?

Dry skin is classified as a skin type while dehydrated skin is considered as a condition. Skin types are classified as normal, combination, oily, and dry. You are usually born with a type of skin but it can change when you come of age and different seasons like dry climates.

When you have dry skin, your sebaceous glands do not produce enough natural oils which make it dry. Dry skin may sometimes be associated with underlying skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and post-acne breakouts. It can also be connected to hormonal imbalances or underactive thyroid that can inhibit the production of sebum on your skin.

On the other hand, dehydrated skin is a skin condition that is caused by external elements like seasonal changes or weather, unhealthy diet, and lifestyle. These factors deplete the water content in your skin which results in having dull skin. It is also essential to note that dehydration means a lack of water and not oil.

Signs that your skin is dehydrated


External conditions such as wind or extreme temperature changes can dry out the moisture from the outer layer of your skin. This can cause a tight and itchy sensation. It may often be associated with flaking regardless of the oil in your skin.

Skin Dullness

Dehydration affects the ability of your skin to perform vital functions such as cell regeneration. Without enough hydration, your skin won’t be able to shed the outermost layer of the skin that causes dead skin cells to accumulate. Hence, your skin appears to be dull and has a lackluster complexion.

Appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

Dehydrated skin often shows signs of accelerated ageing. It may appear as a network of tiny, triangular fine lines on your face.

Sunken eyes and eye bags

If you notice that there are dark circles under your eyes, it may mean that your skin is dehydrated. This happens because if the skin is dehydrated, the skin loses elasticity and the skin around the eyes can pull away which causes the sunken look or appearance of eye bags.

Increased sensitivity

One of the biggest problems of having dehydrated skin is that it makes your skin too sensitive. When your skin’s barrier is weak, it can’t properly protect itself from the harsh free radicals in the environment. As a result, bacteria, dust, and pollution can easily penetrate your skin which irritates, makes it itchy, and produces redness.

How to know if your skin is dehydrated

It is easy and simple to know if your skin is dehydrated. Just do the pinch test by taking a small portion of your skin around the cheek. Squeeze lightly for a few seconds and release. If you notice that there is wrinkling and the skin doesn’t bounce back after letting it go, your skin might be dehydrated.

What to do when skin is dehydrated

Luckily, there are ways to treat dehydrated skin with these easy steps:

Drink plenty of water

One of the best and quick ways to rehydrate your skin is to increase fluid intake. Drink 8-10 glasses of water each day and always bring a water bottle to ensure that your body is always well-hydrated throughout the day.

Consider using a face steamer

Using steam to hydrate your skin with an at-home face steamer is another best way to rehydrate your skin. The steaming process can help open up pores, boost blood circulation, and help absorb skincare products better. Followed with a good serum or moisturiser, steaming your face can help plump your skin and hold water longer to avoid losing moisture.

Use the right skincare products

Avoid using skin care products that have harsh ingredients. Use gentle exfoliating products that will help in accelerating skin turnover and remove dead skin cells. Removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin will help reveal a glowing and moisturised face.

Avoid drinking too much alcohol and caffeinated drinks

Caffeine and alcohol are substances that compromise your skin’s health by depleting moisture and water content. Make sure to limit your intake of these beverages. One or two cups of coffee per day and a glass of alcohol at night are enough if you can’t totally eliminate them in your drinking habit.

Quit smoking

Smoking is not only bad for your health but for your skin as well. It damages the fibers that can help give your skin strength and elasticity. Aside from that, it is also another reason why skin gets dehydrated because it sucks out moisture in your skin.


Dehydrated skin is common for most people and the good thing is that it is treatable when diagnosed correctly. It can be confused with dry skin but remember that dry skin can’t be treated by simply changing habits and diet. It may need more than just that.

On the other hand, dehydrated skin can be treated with proper diet and lifestyle changes. However, if your skin dehydration fails to improve after making such changes, it is best to see your dermatologist for further advice and proper treatment.


Nicola is always on the lookout for the best beauty tools and skincare products. She believes in "prevention is better than cure" so she is always trying to perfect her beauty routine to avoid premature aging. Fun fact about Nicola: She owns a lot of sunscreens as she carries a mini sunscreen in each of her handbags and backpacks.