Dry vs Dehydrated Skin: What’s the difference?

Dry vs Dehydrated Skin: What’s the difference?

Peeling, tightness, dullness…

Due to the similarities in the symptoms, “dry skin” and “dehydrated skin” are phrases which are often used interchangeably. However these terms actually refer to two different conditions of the skin. Read on to learn more about distinguishing between the two as well as how this can influence your approach to skin care.


Girl using moisturizer on her cheeks, forehead, nose and chin

What is dry skin?

Dry skin is one of four main skin types: normal, dry, oily, and combination. Typically skin type is genetically determined, and stays relatively consistent throughout your life, not changing dramatically based on external factors.


Those with dry skin type naturally do not produce much oil through their sebaceous glands leading to drier skin that is therefore more exposed to external environmental factors.


If you have dry skin, your skin may feel dry, flaky or even itchy. Your skin may be more sensitive and prone to irritation or redness. Though the cause of dry skin is natural, there are ways to treat it and make it feel more moisturized through proper care and using the right products.


What is dehydrated skin?

Dehydrated skin is a temporary condition that anyone can face, regardless of skin type. In the case of dehydrated skin, the lack of hydration is caused by external factors, and is temporary. That is why the key to treating dehydrated skin is in identifying the main cause and fixing the problem.


Dehydrated skin, similarly to dry skin, can be flaky and itchy. It may also look dull and you may see more fine lines than usual.

Common symptoms

On the surface, dry skin and dehydrated skin show almost the same features. In both cases, the common symptoms include:

  • - Tightness and dryness
  • - Itchiness, Flakiness, Irritation
  • - Dull skin

However, there are some notable differences between the two:

NOTE: Dry Skin can also suffer from dehydration. In this case, finding products to address both issues is the key.

Table showing the difference between dry and dehydrated skin

Possible causes of dehydrated skin


Water ripples

This may be an obvious one, but general lack of water in the body can lead to dehydrated skin. When there is a lack of hydration in the body, all organs suffer - including the skin (the biggest organ!).


TIP: Prevent dehydration by drinking enough water throughout the day, at least 2-3 liters.


UV/Sun Exposure

AXIS-Y Complete No Stress Physical Sunscreen being applied to finger tip

Although UVA radiation may not always directly cause burns or redness, prolonged exposure leads to destruction of the skin’s protective barrier and therefore causes premature wrinkles and fine lines. This means that you should never forgo using sunscreen, even in the winter (as UV rays still penetrate through the clouds!)


Air Conditioner/ Heaters

Small white humidifier on bedside table

The constant use of air conditioners in the summer as well as heaters in the winter can contribute to dehydration of the skin due to lack of humidity in the air, leading to the skin's surface being stripped of moisture.


TIP: humidifiers are a great way to add moisture to the air and avoid irritating the skin.


Wrong Skincare Routine

Close up of woman using cotton pad on cheek

People with oily or combination skin tend to dry out their skin, fighting the oil production by over-cleansing and over-exfoliating. This causes damage to the skin's barrier and causes the skin to overcompensate and produce more oil instead.


Also, alcohol based toners can be more drying to the skin, so choosing the right skincare is an important step in treating dehydrated skin.

So what is the best skincare routine for dehydrated skin and is it different from the best skincare routine for dry skin?
We will cover a simple skincare routine for both skin conditions for best results.

Skincare for Dry Skin

The approach to treating dry skin differs from treating dehydrated skin in that dry skin is lacking its natural oil, whereas dehydrated skin is lacking sufficient water.


Therefore when treating dry skin, oil and cream based products are key to helping the skin feel more moisturized and supple.


Step 1: Mild Cleanser

This is the most crucial part in any skincare routine. No matter what skin type you have, you need a cleanser to remove impurities as well as dead skin cells.


Our Quinoa One Step Balanced Gel Cleanser is a great gel cleanser which works to both remove makeup and cleanse the skin at its natural pH.


Step 2: Gentle Toner


Using a gentle and alcohol-free toner is important when treating dry skin. Hydrating toners like our Aqua Boosting Essence Toner help to lock in moisture and leave it feeling hydrated and nourished.


Step 3: Serum or Face Oil

This is where the nutritious oils and restoring ingredients come to the rescue. For this step dry skin can benefit from face oil, or serums/creams that have vegetable oils like avocado, shea, hemp, cocoa, etc.


Step 4: Moisturizer

Moisturizer is a crucial step in keeping your skin feeling soft and smooth. A great face moisturizer for dry skin is our Heartleaf My-Type Calming Cream, which is gentle and deeply hydrating.


AXIS-Y Heartleaf My Type Calming Cream with Blue gel cream texture background

Skincare for Dehydrated Skin

As we have discussed above, hydration is essential in restoring the dehydrated skin. However, drinking water alone may not be enough. You will need the right products that will provide long-term hydration and are able to retain the moisture.


Step 1: Mild Cleanser (Delicate cleansing)

Choose a mild, moisturizing cleanser without alcohol and harsh cleansing agents to keep this step as gentle as possible.


Our Sunday Morning Refreshing Cleansing Foam with ph 5.5 was formulated to remove dirt and other impurities from skin without stripping away moisture and natural oils, while leaving it hydrated and clean at the same time. It was developed with a Patented Technology- AQUAXYL: an anti-dehydration shield that in combination with cleansing agents will help your skin to clear all impurities, retain hydration, and boost the production of Hyaluronic Acid from within the skin.


Step 2: Replenish and retain the skin hydration


Long-term moisturizing requires hygroscopic (ie “moisture absorbing”) components. These attract water molecules from the air, thereby maintaining a constant level of hydration in the skin.


Recommendation: Aqua Boosting Essence Toner and Advanced Aqua Boosting Ampoule


These two products were formulated with the key technology, Oligo-Hyaluronic Acid, that reduces the molecular weight of hyaluronic acid and allows it to be absorbed deeper into the layers of the skin to promote hydration from within.


Step 3: Face Mask


At this stage we would also recommend using a deeply hydrating mask, such as our New Skin Resolution Gel Mask, designed to soothe the skin and reinforce the skin’s natural barrier function, a great solution for dull, dehydrated skin.


Step 4: Lock in moisture


Using products with occlusive components help to create a thin film on the surface of the skin. These occlusives will help to “lock” moisture in the skin. Products that include Hyaluronic Acid help the skin to effectively hold onto water, which works great for dehydrated skin.


AXIS-Y's Aqua Boosting Essence Toner, Advanced Aqua Boosting Ampoule, and Heartleaf My Type Calming Cream laying in a mint green puddle


While they may seem similar on the surface, dry skin and dehydrated skin have different causes and origins. We hope this detailed blog post gives you a better understanding on the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin, and how you should approach your skincare routine. And let us know: have you ever suffered from dehydrated skin? How did you treat it?

Try our Water Your Skin collection for yourself!

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Leave a comment