Suffering from dry or dehydrated skin from the cold weather

Dry skin versus dehydrated skin: what’s the difference?

‘Dry’ and ‘dehydrated’ are two words we commonly hear used together when we ask clients to describe their skin. It comes as a shock to many to learn that dry skin and dehydrated skin are actually two very different concerns with their own unique causes.

Below we have highlighted the difference between dry and dehydrated skin, the signs of each and how you should be tailoring your daily routine accordingly.

What’s the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin?

The first thing to note is that dry skin is a skin type whereas dehydration is something that absolutely anyone can experience regardless of whether they have dry, oily or combination skin.

Dehydrated skin is a lot more common than dry skin and it occurs when the skin lacks water. This could be a result of not drinking enough or being exposed to a number of external factors including central heating, air conditioning, the sun and cold temperatures.

Hard water can also be a factor because it contains limestone which is known to remove water from the skin. Try to keep baths and showers short and use water that’s warm rather than hot because the heat can make your skin even more dehydrated.

Sadly, something we can’t control is ageing and this is a big contributor to dehydrated skin because it’s often more difficult to keep moisture levels high as we get older.

Dry skin lacks oil and while our skin naturally produces its own oils, it’s easy to strip them off without even realising it. Anything from harsh soaps to hot showers, central heating and being out in the rain and wind can quickly take its toll and make your skin dry out quicker. Once again, age plays a part in this as well. Our lipid barrier decreases as we get older which is why dry skin is more common in older people.

What are the signs of dry versus dehydrated skin?

The handy diagram below will help you to identify whether your skin is dry or dehydrated. If you’re still unsure, please get in touch and one of our trained therapists will be able to advise you.


Another great way to determine the difference between the two is with dehydrated skin, no matter how much moisturiser you put on, it won’t provide any relief. You may also notice an increase in fine lines, sagging skin and deep wrinkles. Your make-up might also go patchy as your skin absorbs all the moisture it can from your base.

What should I do if I have dry skin?

If you suffer from dry skin, look out for products that contain rich oils and lipids. Cleanse your skin with a gentle, non-stripping cleanser and then apply a product that locks in moisture and helps to build up your skin’s natural protective barriers. The key to treating dry skin is to use a good quality moisturiser twice a day.

Dermalogica sell a number of products which work fantastically well on dry skin including their Special Cleansing Gel which is soap-free and very gentle. Their Essential Cleansing Solution is a creamy, nourishing cleaner and the Gentle Cream Exfoliator, Multi-Active Toner, Intensive Moisture Balance, Phyto Replenish Oil and Intensive Eye Repair can also help to relieve dry skin.

What should I do if I have dehydrated skin?

If you have dehydrated skin, make sure you’re using the right skincare products – some are too light, some too harsh or you simply may not be using them frequently enough.

Stick to products that contain moisture-binding ingredients like hyaluronic acid and collagen. Dermalogica does a fantastic range of products for dehydrated skin including Dynamic Skin Recovery (a firming, emollient moisturiser), Intensive Moisture Balance (a nourishing antioxidant cream), Skin Hydrating Booster and the Skin Hydrating Masque.

Lifestyle changes you can make include ensuring you drink plenty of water, always use sun protection, avoid cigarettes and alcohol and eat a balanced diet with healthy fats.

If you would like to discuss your skincare concerns, get in touch and we will be more than happy to help.

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