Dry Skin vs. Dehydrated Skin: What’s The Difference?

Is your skin dry or dehydrated? Yes, there’s a difference between the two, and knowing what sets them apart could help you better address your skin’s condition.

Apparently, dry skin and dehydrated skin manifest different symptoms and so they totally require different treatments. For the average person, it is easy to get confused between the two. So to help clear up the confusion, below is a comparison of the two conditions as first shared by mindbodygreen

Dry Skin

Apparently, dry skin is more of a skin type than a skin condition. It is characterized by a tight, rough exterior due to the lack of oil content in the skin. When there is insufficient oil or sebum, the skin is bound to lose its “youthful luster,” according to Olie Biologique founder Linda Thompson.

Thompson added that dry skin is quite common among old people because their skin no longer produces enough oil to keep it moisturized.

In other cases, dry skin is a symptom of the chronic condition eczema, which is due to defective proteins in the skin, board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, said. People with eczema typically have dry skin that’s more flaky in appearance.

Dehydrated Skin

On the contrary, dehydrated skin is marked by the lack of water in the skin. Hence, dehydrated skin is more of a skin condition than a skin type. It can be easily addressed compared to dry skin.

In terms of appearance, Zeichner said dehydrated skin looks dull, lacks radiance and may appear ashy for people with darker skin tones. Dehydrated skin could happen to anyone and not just to specific age groups.


For dry skin, the fix is to apply oil-based products that would moisturize the skin, or the absence or lack of natural skin oil. For dehydrated skin, experts recommend humectant-rich products such as those with hyaluronic acid or glycerin since they are very effective in hydrating parched skin cells.

During the winter months, many people complain about how “dry” their skin has become. And now that you know the difference between the two, you might want to tell them that their skin is not dry, it’s just dehydrated because it’s thirsty for water.

Skin cream Girl spreads her hands with cream Marco Verch/flickr