Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin

As if chapped lips and static cling weren’t bad enough, winter is also a time of changes to your skin. Lots of women report either dry or dehydrated skin. And yes, there is a difference. Quite a significant one, actually, even though it can be tricky to decipher between the two. And it’s important to know the difference because they are not treated the same way.

So let’s dive into what exactly dry and dehydrated skin is and how you can treat it.

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Dry Skin: The Cause and Symptoms

Firstly, dry skin is a skin type that is related to oil production. Everyone’s skin produces oil – or at least it’s supposed to, but some people just simply don’t produce enough. This can be caused by genetics, environmental factors, age, or a combination of those things.

Healthy skin with normal oil production will have what’s called a hydrolipid film on their skin, composed of oil, moisture from the air, and perspiration. People with dry skin either have a lacking hydrolipid film or a nonexistent one. Dry skin will feel tight, itchy, and irritated. It’s often characterized by flaking, textured skin.

Dehydrated Skin: The Cause and Symptoms

Dehydrated skin is a skin condition related to water content in the skin. Think about the differences between a grape and raisin. I’m pretty sure I can take a lucky guess at which one you’d prefer for your skin to look like.

Dehydrated skin may feel taut and itchy. It will appear dull and lackluster, as well as exaggerate any fine lines and wrinkles. Dehydrated skin often misbehaves as well, suddenly breaking out or becoming flaky.

Dry Skin

Treating Dry Skin

So if dry skin is about oil production, then here are some things you

  • Stop destroying your hydrolipid film with hot showers. I know, I know – it’s winter and hot showers are glorious, but hot water breaks down oils.
  • Invest in a good facial oil. I cannot stress this enough! Finding a good oil will be trial and error, as there are lots to choose from, such as: grapeseed, morrocan, argon, jojoba, etc. I know that coconut oil is kind of a craze right now, but I just want to say that coconut oil is a comedogenic, which means it may clog your pores and cause break outs.
  • Stop over-exfoliating. Exfoliating is a very important part of a healthy skincare regimen, but there is such thing as too much of a good thing in this instance. I know it can be super tempting to attempt to remove that pesky, scaly skin, but you can do more harm than good by exfoliating too much. I recommend exfoliating 1-3 times per week and never back to back.

Treating Dehydrated Skin

If dehydrated skin is about water content, then you’re probably thinking to just drink more water. While increasing your water intake is always a good idea, your skin is actually the last organ to receive hydration through water that you drink. So here’s a few other things you can do…

  • Stop destroying your hydrolipid film. Yupp, same first tip as up above. A lot of water content can be lost through your skin without that hydrolipid film to keep it in. Think about it – oil floats on top of water, right? So that hydrolipid film sits on top of your skin, helping to keep the moisture in your skin.
  • Hyaluranic acid. This ingredient is fantastic to have in your skincare regimen. It is a humectant, which means it attracts moisture out of the air and into your skin.
  • Honey masks. Honey is another great humectant. For some honey mask recipes, please click here.

Product Recommendations

You didn’t think I was going to leave you hanging without giving you some ideas on what products help treat dry and dehydrated skin, did you? Of course not! As per usual, this does contain Mary Kay product recommendations, but as always, no one is twisting your arm to purchase any of it. If you are interested in purchasing any of it, please contact your beauty consultant (if you have one).

Maracuja Oil by TarteWhile this oil is more expensive, I absolutely love it! It’s light weight, so you can use it in the morning before your makeup, and leaves your skin so soft!

rose hip oilThis oil from Amazon is much more budget friendly and did you see those reviews?! And four ounces is a ton of product – I imagine this bottle would last you 10-12 months!

MK moisture renewing gel masThis graphic pretty much tells it all about this mask! Oh, except for the fact that it also has an amazing, natural scent too!

microdermProbably one of the more well-known products, this physical exfoliator and serum help to remove dry, dead skin and calm and soothe.

BiocelluloseMask_Set_Z2Probably one of the creepiest products I could recommend, but this bio-cellulose mask boosts hydration levels for 24 hours (as well as providing other benefits, obviously).

pll-hydro-boost-banner-2Full disclosure: I’ve never used anything from this line before, but I wanted to include something that wasn’t Mary Kay for those of you that aren’t interested. I’ve seen this line recommended a lot, especially the water gel.

Final Thoughts

If you’re struggling with some winter skin issues, then I hope this helped you decipher what your issue is and how to tackle it. Remember, skin can be so tricky, so what works for one may not work for another.

Thank you so much for being here! If you learned something new, please share!

Question of the Day

What’s your skin type and what’s your current favorite skin care product?


Check out my other posts about beauty!

Holiday Makeup Look | 3 Cool Tones

Holiday Makeup Look | 2 Candy Cane Eye Liner

Holiday Makeup Look | 1 Silver Glitter and Red Lips



10 thoughts on “Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin

  1. For whatever reason, this season has wrecked havoc on my skin. I live in the South and too much humidity is usually the problem. But, DRY skin for sure this year (<—-and now I know the difference!). Thanks for the tips and tricks.


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