How do I know if my skin is dehydrated?

If your skin starts to look and feel dry, you may naturally assume that you just have dry skin. But it might just be dehydrated and in need of hydration.

If your skin starts to look and feel dry, you may naturally assume that you just have dry skin. But it might just be dehydrated and in need of hydration.
But, what does that really mean?
First, there's skin type and there’s skin condition. Your type is what you're naturally born with, such as oily, sensitive or dry skin. Your condition, however, is something that can cause you to experience other problems like acne and irritation. It can happen at any age, it can stay temporarily or longer, and in some instances, a skin condition may even stay for good.

If you have a dry skin type, it means you’re lacking oil. You were born this way, and you’re dry everywhere else on your body including hands, scalp, legs, etc. When you put on moisturizers and lotions, chances are they soak up fairly quickly.

With a dry skin type make sure to stick to a skin regime that contains oil, milk or cream-based products daily.

If you have a dehydrated skin condition, your skin is lacking water. This can be caused by lots of factors such as makeup, diet, incorrect product use, weather - the list goes on!

Ironically, when skin is dehydrated, it creates more oil to make up for the missing water. This can cause breakouts, irritation and dry patches. Skin can even feel oily and dry at the same time. If you feel like this is something you can relate to firstly, try to identify what's dehydrating your skin and correct it.
Stick to a skin regime that involves a lot of hydration. Hydrating boosters for under your serum or moisturisers twice daily are amazing. You should also be sure to use a sheet mask twice a week.

If you are still trying to figure out if your skin is categorically dry or dehydrated here are our 4 top signs your skin is dehydrated.

1. Itchy Skin
Itchy skin is a top sign of skin that is dehydrated. External causes like wind and temperatures changes can take the moisture from the outer layer of your skin very quickly, causing a tight, itchy sensation. This is often accompanied by flaking, regardless of the amount of oil on your skin’s surface.

2. Increased Sensitivity
When your skin’s moisture barrier is disrupted, it cannot properly protect itself from external stressors. As a result, irritants like bacteria and pollution can penetrate its outermost layer, worsening symptoms like redness, itchiness and irritation.

3. Dullness
Does your skin have an overall dull and tired appearance? Dehydration affects your skin’s ability to perform essential functions like cell turnover. Without proper hydration, your skin does not shed its outer layer frequently enough, and dead cells accumulate on its surface. This contributes to clogged pores, congestion and a dull complexion.

4. Fine Lines and Wrinkles
One easy tip for you to check is if you gently pinch the skin on your cheek. If it looks like you have fine lines, your skin is dehydrated. Dehydrated skin often displays accelerated signs of ageing; however, unlike smile lines or crow’s feet, these wrinkles appear as a network of tiny, triangular fine lines.

What to do if you have dehydrated skin?
To fix dehydrated skin, you need to address your skin care routine and your overall health. This means hydrating from the inside out as well as treating dehydration topically.
1. Switch to a gentle cleanser and exfoliator
You may have been using a harsh cleanser for a period of time to sort out some blemishes, but it always important to remember that acne fighting cleansers are very harsh and dehydrating on the skin. When your acne has cleared up or when you are going into a colder season in the year always remember to switch your cleansers up.

2. Use a Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Some people with dehydrated skin hear the word ‘acid’ and immediately steer clear of using it on their skin. But, Hyaluronic acid is extremely effective in replenishing dehydrated skin. As a humectant, this miracle ingredient helps bind and retain moisture, keeping the skin soft.

3. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Alcohol and Caffeine are two of the worst offenders of dehydrating the skin. Both substances are diuretics that compromise your skin’s health by depleting its water content. And, alcohol doubles down by hindering the production of the hormone vasopressin which is essential for rehydration.

Laura Doyle, mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired inthe chaos of it all. Writer and blogger at


Laura Doyle

Mum of four, Gentle parent living on coffee and trying always to stay positive and motivate in the midst of the madness.

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