Dehydrated Skin: Causes and Treatment

LAST UPDATED: MARCH 3rd, 2022 / By Nura / DrySkin

The term “dehydrated skin” refers to a lack of moisture in the skin or in more details, it is due to lacking of moisture at the uppermost layer of the skin known as stratum corneum. It can be dry and irritating, as well as looking dull. It can be flaky and sensitive than usual. Fine wrinkles are more visible, and your overall tone and complexion may appear uneven.

While dry skin is inconvenient, it is generally simple to treat with the correct lifestyle adjustments. To replace and maintain hydration throughout your body, treatment begins from the inside out. Although dehydrated skin can appear to be dry, it is not the same as having dry skin.

Dehydrated Skin vs Dry Skin

Dry skin and dehydrated skin are sometimes used interchangeably. These are, however, two distinct phenomena. While dehydrated skin is devoid of moisture, dry skin is devoid of natural oils (also called sebum). Dry skin is also a skin type, although dehydration is a skin disorder. Dehydrated skin can be caused by weather or seasonal shift, daily diet such as due to alcohol and caffeine intake.

Normal, dry, combination, and oily skin types are the four types of skin. You’re born with one type of skin, but it can change as you get older and when the seasons change. Your sebaceous glands don’t create enough natural oils when you have dry skin.

To prevent against further moisture loss, your skin normally need additional hydration via an emollient lotion. Dry skin can also be a symptom of underlying health issues like hypothyroidism.

Dehydrated skin is not caused by hormonal problems like these.

The following are symptoms of dry skin

  • Skin that is scaly
  • Flakes of white
  • Redness
  • Irritation

Skin concern includes psoriasis, eczema, and even post-acne outbreaks are sometimes linked to dry skin. These aren’t the same as having dry skin, and they’re not the same as having dehydrated skin.

Dehydration is defined as a condition in which your body loses more moisture than it takes in. This can be caused by excessive urination from caffeine or diuretics, in addition to not drinking enough water. It can also happen as a result of excessive perspiration during exercise. Moisture also can be stripped of in air conditioning environment and too hot showers.

Dehydration, unlike dry skin, can induce the following symptoms

  • Itchiness & increase in sensitivity
  • Dullness with tired appearance
  • Under-eye circles that are darker
  • Eyes that are sunken
  • Around the face, there are “shadows” (especially under the eyes and around your nose)
  • Fine lines have become more common or have become more visible. If untreated it can turn to wrinkles.

Severe dehydration can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Mouth that is dry
  • Faintness
  • Lightheadedness
  • A general weakness
  • Darker urination and less frequent urinating

In certain situations, dehydration might turn into a medical emergency. If your symptoms of severe dehydration do not improve, see your doctor right away.

Causes of Dehydrated Skin

Following are the Main Causes of Dehydrated Skin

  1. Weather and the environment

It’s just not fair sometimes. Even if you do everything perfectly, you will still be subjected to skin inequity! And it usually occurs when anything is “wrong” with your surroundings. You probably already know this, but I’ll tell it anyway: the elements aren’t good for your skin. Cold weather, strong winds, sun exposure, and low humidity can dehydrate your skin.

However, if you believe that staying indoors will protect your skin, you are mistaken. Air conditioners, heaters, and long hot showers are all known moisture scavengers.

  1. Harsh Products

It should come as no surprise that utilizing harsh cosmetics might harm your skin. It’s easy to slip into the trap at times. If your skin is really oily, you may believe that harsher products will better in managing your excessive sebum. When that doesn’t work, you turn to even more abrasive solutions. When that fails, you begin to use those goods more regularly. As it turns out, overdoing your skincare routine isn’t doing your skin any favors. What you’re truly doing is stripping your skin’s natural oils, weakening its barrier, and dehydrating it. The more you wash and exfoliate your skin, the worse it will become.

  1. Diet and Lifestyle

Your skin health is obviously influenced by what you eat and drink. When it comes to dry skin, the very least you can do is increase your hydration consumption. Coffee and alcohol, it turns out, are both diuretics. Drinking them will cause dehydration by increasing your body’s urine production.

Dehydration Lines vs Wrinkles

Chronic dehydration can impaired your skin’s cells reproduction cycle, and this impaired part then will trigger uneven texture of the skin compared to normal skin part. Commonly, dehydration also will gave effect to collagen and elastin production, then it will lead to unhealthy fine lines creation on the skin.

The same applies for wrinkles formation but it more to severe level compared to dehydration since it involved sun exposure that speed up the aging process. As we know, UV ray may impact the skin barrier function and also may trigger hyperpigmentation concern. All of these factors contribute to less elastic skin that will deepen the wrinkles formation.

Treatment of Dehydrated Skin

Dehydration, unlike dry skin, can be treated with lifestyle modifications. The first and most crucial step is to replenish your hydration, so drink plenty of water. Aim for 2 liters a day.

You may need to drink more than this, depending on your body weight and activity level. Consult your doctor to determine the appropriate dosage for you.

It’s also vital to avoid drinking too much water, as this can cause mineral loss. Water-rich vegetables and fruits might also help you get more of it (think celery, watermelon, and the like).

Dehydrated skin can also be treated by making the following dietary and lifestyle changes

  • Alcohol and caffeine from coffee and other sources should be avoided.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Exercise on a regular basis.
  • While exercising, drink plenty of water (the Nemours Foundation recommends taking a few sips every 20 minutes at minimum).
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Increase your intake of plant-based foods such fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
  • Buy a humidifer to add moisture to the air. So the air surrounding your environment doesn’t suck the moisture out of your skin.
  • Avoid harsh face scrubs.
  • Use facial mist formulated for dry skin, so that you can continuously spray it to your facial skin every few hours throughout the day.

If you’ve recently been unwell, dehydration could be the result of a loss of fluids. Make sure you’re getting enough water, electrolyte drinks, and broth-based soups in your diet. Increase water-rich foods in your diet such as cucumbers, watermelon, bananas, lettuce and strawberries. Severe dehydration may be treated in the doctor’s office or hospital with intravenous fluids.

Prevention for Dehydrated skin

Following are the prevention for your skin:

  • Avoid washing your face too frequently.
  • Stop exfoliating your skin everyday.
  • Avoid splashing hot water on your face.
  • Careful when adding new item in your skin routine. Potent products such as vitamin C and retinol can be a cause of dehydration. Use a proper frequency to get a balance with your skin.
  • Use a hydrating eye cream, since under eye area is the thinnest skin part of your face so it is the first one that will receive impact from dehydrated skin.

Skin Routine for Dehydrated Concern

# Use a Gentle Cleanser

If you’re used to a robust face care regimen, the thought of ditching your daily cleanser may make you wince. Use a gentle cleanser with lukewarm water.

# Add a Hydrating Serum to your Regimen

Hyaluronic Acid Serum is a humectant-based serum that can helps bind and retain moisture on your skin. This acid have special abilities to hold up to six liters of water and helping your skin cells to retain as much as it need. You will be able to really seal in moisture this way.

# Apply an Essence

Facial essence usually contain antioxidant-rich ingredients with deep hydrating features. This combo will work wonders for dehydrated skin.

# Use a Heavy Moisturizer or Hydrating Night Cream

Apply an emollient and/or occlusive moisturizer to your skin. By layering these products on top of humectants, you can keep hydration “in” while keeping environmental stresses “out.” CeraVe PM is great for oily skin, however if you have dry skin, you might want to look into Avene Skin Recovery Cream.

# Don’t Forget to Protect Your Skin with Sunscreen

UV rays can wreak havoc on your skin, which should come as no surprise. You’ll want to be extra cautious now that your skin is dry. As a result, end your routine with a good SPF.

# Pay attention to changes on your skin in every seasons

During winter, low humidity air can make your skin more dry and become cracked, itchy and irritated. But during spring and summer, the atmosphere will holds more water and can help provide extra boost of water to your skin. You might need different type of moisturizer during winter and different type of sunscreen during summer time.

# Double Moisturizing

During night routine, you can do a double moisturizing before sleep. You can use Vaseline as a second coating for your skin layer after moisturizing with your regular product. It can help seal moisture from the creams that you applied on your face.

Skin Care Product


These attract and hold water, increasing the moisture level of your skin. Humectants pull moisture from the air in humid conditions. They also extract moisture from your dermis in dry climates (i.e. inner layer).

Here are several examples:

  • Hyaluronic acid (HA)
  • Glycerin
  • Aloe Vera
  • Panthenol
  • Honey


These are lipids and oils that aid in the smoothing of your skin’s barrier. To keep moisture in, you need a healthy lipid matrix, which is part of the above-mentioned brick-and-mortar structure. Emollients also aid in the restoration of the lipid matrix, limiting moisture loss over time.

Here are several examples:

  • Almond oil, rosehip oil, and just about any other natural oil are all good options
  • Lanoline
  • Ceramides
  • Peptides
  • Shea Butter
  • Squalene


These serve as a protective shield. Occlusive reduce evaporation by trapping in moisture when used in conjunction with humectants.

Here are several examples:

  • Jelly made of petroleum
  • Dimethicone
  • Squalene
  • Lanolin

You may have observed that these three classes have some overlap. This is due to the fact that components can have multiple purposes. That is, humectants can act as emollients, and emollients can act as occlusive agents, and so on.

Other ingredients that can help in treating dehydrated skin

  • Snail Mucin
  • Lactic Acid
  • Citric Acid
  • Ceramide


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