Dry Skin vs Dehydrated Skin: Differences and How to Heal

Do you have dry or dehydrated skin?

If you are confused between dry and dehydrated skin, you are not alone.  When it comes to skincare, "dry" and "dehydrated" are often used interchangeably, but they are different skin issues.  Dry skin is a skin type, while dehydrated skin is a condition that can be experienced by all skin types, even oily skin.


Dry skin tends to feel rough, fragile, and can be flaky.  This happens when there a lack of lipids or oils in the dermal layers, and can be attributed to genetics, age, medication, or poor health/diet. 


With dehydrated skin, it is usually due to lack of water in the upper layer of the dermis, aka stratum corneum.  This is mostly caused by external factors such as low humidity, exposure to elements (sun/wind/cold), hardwater, wrong skincare;  but age and poor diet can also contribute to dehydrated skin as well.  Key characteristics of dehydrated skin are: roughness, tightness, dullness, fine lines, sensitivity, and even sagging.

How to tell if you have dry or dehydrated skin

Dry skin tends to stay dry all year round.  If you drink lots of water (alcohol doesn’t count!) and your skin still feels dry, flaky even with moisturizer, you probably have dry skin.

On the other hand if you are not hydrating adequately (thirsty, with darker urine output) and your skin feels rough, dull, tight, and inflamed when exposed to elements, air conditioning and indoor heat, you are probably water deficient.  Dehydrated skin is also generally prone to more premature wrinkling and loss of elasticity.


5 Steps for Hydrated Skin

1. Drink lots of water.

Water is the primary building block of our cells, and the average adult body is 60% water.  Make sure you are properly hydrated to maintain healthy body fluids.  If plain water isn’t your thing, try adding lemon, cucumber, or mint to your H20.  Or drink something else such as herbal teas, fresh juices, smoothies, and broth.  Avoid coffee, highly caffeinated beverages, and alcohol.

2.  Wear Sun Protection

UVA from the sun can cause dehydration and free-radical damage to the skin.  So even in colder months, you want to protect your skin from the sun.  Some sunblocks can be drying,  add a couple drops of your facial oil for smoother application and a dewy finish.

3. Use a humidifier

Air conditioning and indoor heat offer indoor comfort but rob water from the air, and your skin.  Try placing a humidifier nearby.

4. Keep showers short and warm

Hot water dehydrates the skin.  If possible, shower every other day during the winter months.  Keep baths/showers short and temperatures not too hot.  It also helps to apply body lotions and oils right after.

5.  Give Your Skin A Drink

Literally.  Our skin needs both water and lipids.  Apply your oil serums on damp skin to enhance product penetration and prevent trans epidermal water loss.  Layer your skincare routine to maximize results.  Start with a hydrating base such as water-based essence or serum.  Then apply a layer of oil based product while skin is still damp.  Repeat another layer if needed.

Another way to give your skin a drink is use a hydrating sheet mask.  A high quality sheet mask will give you instantly hydrated complexion.


If you are doing everything but your skin still feels rough, itchy, irritated, and sensitive, you might consider checking with your doctor to rule out other underlying conditions. Email us at hello@5YINA.com if you need a referral for a TCM practitioner who specializes in dermatology.

Product Highlight

QUIESCENT Hydrolat is designed to boost hydration levels in your skin.  Formulated with skin-boosting TCM herbs such as Rhodiola and Ginseng in a base of botanical hydrosols, this toner essence fuses your skin with water-soluble antioxidants.  When pair with our beauty oils, the hydrolat and oil forms a micro-emulsion cocktail to offer a full spectrum of the water and fat soluble nutrients necessary for healthy skin barrier.

Hydrated skin in 30 minutes.  The DIVINE Bio-cellulose sheet mask is infused with Chinese Medicine plants and hydration powerhouse such as Aloe, Schisandra and Goji berries to deliver luminous and hydrated complexion in one application.