Dehydrated Skin

What is it?

Dehydrated skin lacks hydration, i.e. water. (This is different from dry skin which lacks oil.)

Of the various skin types (Dry, Normal, Combination, and Oily), any of them can experience dehydration, even oily skin.

How do I know if my skin is dehydrated?

Dehydrated skin manifests a little differently for each person, but can feel tight, and can look thin, dull, and/or tired. The thin and flaky qualities often lead people to describe skin suffering from dehydration as crepey or papery.

A great test to see if your skin is dehydrated is to pinch your cheek. If the skin wrinkles with that gentle pressure, it is dehydrated. Conversely, dry skin can be identified by small pores and can feel uncomfortable, and sometimes itchy.

Dehydrated skin can be more prone to congestion, typically leading to small bumps under the skin and occasionally blackheads and breakouts.

When skin is dehydrated, it will soak up products quickly. Those with dehydrated skin may find they need more product than they typically apply because it is absorbed abnormally fast.

How is it caused?

Dehydration can manifest from internal factors, or external factors.

From internal factors, like:

  • use of certain medications
  • coffee consumption
  • alcohol consumption

And from external factors, like:

  • sun exposure
  • over-exfoliation
  • dry air


Dehydrated skin can be helped internally by drinking enough water, consuming more antioxidants and healthy fats, and minimizing alcohol consumption.

Exfoliation is important for dehydrated skin to prevent buildup of dead skin cells, which improves product absorption.

To add hydration, use humectant serums and/or moisturizers(many contain glycerin or hyaluronic acid), and making sure to apply sunscreen and avoid direct sun exposure.

I also recommend sleeping with a humidifier in your room, especially if you live in a dry climate. Keeping the air humid will help prevent your skin from losing water.

Bear in mind that dry skin is a skin type, which you will have for your whole life barring changes cause by hormones. Dehydrated skin, fortunately, is only a temporary condition that can be managed.

Still have more questions about dehydrated skin? Reach out to me and I’ll get you some answers!

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