Dry / Dehydrated skin

Written by Rosie Sibley Verified by Sheena Spencer

Home/Beauty/Dry / Dehydrated skin

Is there a difference between dry and dehydrated skin?

Dehydrated skin is a skin condition that most people experience at least once, whereas dry skin is a skin type that is mostly attributed to genetics and can have visible symptoms from birth. Most skin conditions are treatable and temporary, however dehydrated skin can have lasting effects if not treated correctly. Skin types are not something that can be easily changed, skin can develop over time but the genetic makeup of your skin is rarely influenced. Furthermore, dry skin and dehydrated skin can both exist at the same time, making treatment even more challenging. When skin is properly cared for and treated, balanced and healthy skin can be achieved. This is why knowing the difference between dry and dehydrated skin is so important, as the blurred lines between them can commonly be why you are not getting the results you want.

What are signs and symptoms of dry and dehydrated skin?

Dry Skin

  • Scaling
  • Rough skin texture
  • Loose skin
  • Flaking
  • Cracking/ breakout

Dehydrated Skin

  • Poor elasticity, i.e. fine lines
  • Sensitivity
  • Sunken eyes/ dullness
  • Breakouts
  • Cracked lips
  • Mostly affects top layer of skin
  • Dry patches
  • Feeling oily & dry
  • Tightness

What are the common causes of dry skin?

Dry skin is caused by the skin not producing enough oil i.e. sebum and amino acids. When the skin produces less oil than normal skin types, it means your skin cannot keep your pores or top layer of skin protected or conditioned. Additionally, this lack of lubrication needed by the oil in your skin can make it appear dry and flakey, whilst making you more easily subjectable to skin conditions such as dehydrated skin, or psoriasis. Many factors can affect the amount of oil produced by your body, genetics being the first and foremost common culprit for dry skin specifically. Additionally, hormone balances have a direct impact on the production of oil and regulation of skin cells. Other contributions such as nutrition, medication, your environment, or even ageing can influence your skin to an extent, but a skin type cannot be entirely changed.

What are the common causes of dehydrated skin?

Dehydrated skin occurs from inadequate fluid in the body, in turn leading your body to prioritise the functioning of more vital organs. This leads the skin to not function as effectively, since moisture is a key component in cell function. Ineffective function of cells can inhibit the function of your skin’s barrier, which makes your skin more susceptible to damage. Your epidermis, which is the outermost layer of your skin, is responsible for keeping your skin hydrated. A lack of fluid in the body can be explained by a variety of possible causes, sometimes in combination with one another.

Environmental contributors include hot climates, sunburn, or heat stroke, all of which cause a loss of fluid throughout your body. Because the human body contains a high proportion of water, it often becomes dehydrated when the temperature rises, as it attempts to cool itself through sweating. Dehydration can also be caused by side effects of certain medicines, including laxatives and antihistamines. Moreover, ageing can make you susceptible to dehydration because as your skin’s barrier weakens, it naturally allows moisture to escape through your skin’s surface. Behavioural factors, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, are the most frequently occurring causes of dehydrated skin.

When dealing with dehydrated skin, a common mistake is to use harsh skincare products that can dehydrate the skin further, resulting in the problem recurring or worsening. Generally dehydration is often the result of, or at least in relation to, not enough water consumption. Our skincare therapists can provide you with a consultation and/ or analysis of your skin to determine which skincare products are best for you, so that you don’t have to waste your time or money testing out different products. Invest in your skin the smart way.

How would we diagnose dehydrated skin VS dry skin?

Our expert skincare therapists will provide a consultation and skin care analysis before your facial, in order to provide you with the best treatment and advice. The difference between dehydrated and dry skin is usually quite simple, despite the two often being confused.

Dehydrated skin presents more frequently than dry skin, as we are all susceptible to dehydration. Clients usually describe having an oily T-zone with dry cheeks; their skin feels tight and appears dull. Often temperamental and temporary, this condition can cause irritated, sensitive, and in extreme cases, red skin. Due to the resulting fine criss-cross lines on the skin, fine lines and wrinkles appear worse. As a result, it has an ageing effect. When you are asking the right questions, you can typically determine why the skin is severely dehydrated.

Dry skin frequently does not have congestion or infected breakouts and has a lower possibility of feeling oily or having a shininess. Often, clients report that their skin feels rough, dull, or thickened, and that they enjoy thick creams. Age-related hormonal changes cause our skin to become dryer, so dry skin is more common in mature clients. It is always significant to have a consultation with your therapist in order to have an effective case history taken.

Ingredients for dry and dehydrated skin

Ceramides are mostly produced at a younger age; as you age your ceramides decrease in quantity and effectiveness. Consequently, your skin barrier weakens, causing your skin to become more easily damaged and prone to dryness and dehydration. When properly formulated in skin care products, ceramides as an additional ingredient can replenish the already existing ceramides in your skin, helping to strengthen your skin’s barrier and aiding in the retention of moisture and oil.

Glycerin, Glycerine or Glycerol (as it is known in its various chemical compounds) occurs naturally in all plant, animal, and human fats. You can make glycerin from natural sources like sugar fermentation or hydrolysis of chemicals, but it can also be synthesised artificially. This ingredient has a low molecular weight, therefore can continually draw moisture from the air into the outermost layer of the epidermis and then move through to the deeper layers of the skin. Having well-hydrated skin makes your skincare products more effective, as they penetrate easier when your skin is well-hydrated. Because the sebaceous glands which produce oil are located at the base of the hair follicles in the dermal layer, treating dry skin requires penetration of the dermal layer. Repairing this layer of skin with the right ingredients will improve the overall symptoms of dry skin.

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found primarily in the skin’s connective tissue. The primary function of hyaluronic acid is to preserve moisture and keep skin lubricated, often helping to perpetuate healthy moisture levels. Hyaluronic acid works to bind to and attract water molecules, increasing water content in the skin. Hyaluronic acid also helps heal wounds, reduce roughness in the skin, and increase skin elasticity. According to scientific evidence, hyaluronic acid helps your body produce more collagen and elastin, keeps your skin moisturised, prevents tightness, boosts elasticity, and reduces scarring.

Peptides are tiny chains of amino acids that make up proteins. There are many different types of peptides and they fulfil many roles. Peptides are widely known to draw in and retain water in the skin, which improves skin function and can also rehydrate the skin while maintaining a strong barrier. Another way that peptides can hydrate the skin and reinforce its structure is by stimulating the production of collagen. According to research, peptides cause collagen molecules in the skin to produce more collagen. Collagen attracts water and can store the water inside of itself, which allows the skin to retain and regulate higher levels of moisture and boost hydration.

Vitamin A helps improve skin cell functionality and promotes your skin’s immune system, which can be integral when treating both dry and dehydrated skin. Vitamin A normalises your sebaceous glands’ activity therefore regulating oil production leading to healthy oil levels. Vitamin A also stimulates the creation of proteins such as collagen and elastin, which reinforce your connective tissue, often leading to fast healing, plump skin that can retain more oil and water.

Alpha-hydroxy Acids have exfoliating properties. You might not think to use acids if you’re treating dry or dehydrated skin, since exfoliants work to remove dead skin cells and dirt from skin rather than provide any additional moisture or lipids. If used incorrectly, exfoliants can be harsh and sometimes damaging. However, due to AHAs’ molecular structure, when applied with specific hydrating ingredients, you can cause a chemical reaction that helps the moisturising component penetrate further into the skin, making it more effective. When you see AHAs’ such as lactic acid and glycolic acid listed alongside hydrating ingredients in skincare products, it may be intended to balance the active ingredients to penetrate the deeper layers of skin.

Treatments for dry skin vs dehydrated skin

Skin types and skin conditions are easily distinguished when it comes to treating dry and dehydrated skin. Skin dehydration is a temporary condition, so one could see quicker results, however dry skin is a long-term issue, therefore treatment does not provide results unless your skincare routine is changed and sustained for a longer period of time. Results are determined by many factors, lifestyle and skincare being two notable components.

During our Environ facial we use scientific technology whereby electrical pulses and sound waves drive Environ products, packed with useful active ingredients, into the skin using the Environ Ionzyme DF II Machine. In comparison to simply massaging products by hand, Environ machines can penetrate products up to 40 times deeper into the skin. The treatment can cause the skin to thicken, and increases elastin and collagen levels. This can help improve dry skin, as the issue is rooted at the deeper layers of skin. Additionally, scars and lines (which weaken the skin’s barrier and make it more prone to ageing and damage) can be softened, which is beneficial for both dry and dehydrated skin.

Environ products created for dry & dehydrated skin

The Environ Moisture range is skincare specifically designed to help hydrate your skin and is beneficial for most people suffering with dry or dehydrated skin. Many of the aforementioned hydrating ingredients are present within this range.

Here are some of our clinic’s favourites from the range:


The Vita-Complex Super Moisturiser is designed to absorb quickly and it can make the skin feel soft, moisturised, and smooth. With this product, you can prevent a tight, dried-out feeling on the skin by restoring your skin’s natural moisture balance. Aiming to provide a supple texture to the skin, this super moisturiser contains high levels of glycerin, alongside other moisturising ingredients such as shea butter. Shea butter contains fatty acids that can help improve your skin’s barrier.


This works to energise dull looking skin and promote a healthy appearance. Using Alpha Hydroxy Night Cream’s gentle exfoliating solution can help refine the texture of your skin. This night cream contains both glycolic and lactic acid, which are exfoliants and Alpha-hydroxy Acids, meaning they can chemically combine with hydrating components, such as glyceryl in this particular cream. Combining these ingredients has been shown to allow the hydrating agent to penetrate deeper into the skin and provide a moisturising effect on the lower layers of skin.


Environ’s Vita-Antioxidant Hydrating Oil Capsules help to soften and moisturise the skin through its vitamin rich formula. It works towards making skin look healthier and more radiant. These capsules contain low levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, alongside botanical extracts that are formulated to improve your skin from the inside out.

Vitamin A is an intrinsic element of Environ’s medical skincare brand.Created by Dr Des Fernandes, his research into the impact of Vitamin A on the skin demonstrates how its long term use can improve the functionality of skin cells, helping you maintain healthy looking and feeling skin. Healthy skin is the most important goal when treating dry and dehydrated skin.

Furthermore, Environ’s Focus Care Youth+ Range contains active ingredients that are shown to aid in improving your skin’s barrier, function and texture. This range focuses primarily on reducing signs of ageing, but its technology can also treat dry and dehydrated skin which has been weakened by the natural ageing process.

In Environ’s Youth+ range, the Tri-Peptide Complex and Avance Elixir, can be seen as a powerful tool for treating dry and dehydrated skin due to its formulaic advantage. This elixir contains multiple peptides, glycerin, glycol and shea butter, all of which are ingredients that aid in the improvement of dry and dehydrated skin. Water is drawn into and retained by peptides, which improves skin function, rehydrates the skin, and protects the skin, helping to both improve skin and maintain lasting results. This product also reduces visible indications of dry and dehydrated skin by improving skin’s tone, texture, and appearance, overall making your skin healthier.


In Environ’s Tri BioBotanical Revival Masque, lactic acid and mandelic acid are two Alpha-hydroxy Acids present in the formula alongside high levels of glycol and glycerol. Not only does the product exfoliate through the hydroxy acids, but hydrating ingredients such as glycol will penetrate deeper layers of the skin, improving your overall skin quality more effectively than just reaching its surface layers. The masque’s exfoliating properties also mean you may be able to improve the skin’s texture and remove dead skin cells, to achieve a smoother complexion.

Dry Skin

  • Oil-based products and supplements

Dehydrated Skin

  • Hydration-based products and supplements


  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Ceramides
  • Peptides
  • Collagen
  • Vitamin A

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