Many skin conditions present similarly, but that doesn’t make the approach to treating them the same. For example, acne and fungal acne may have some similar traits but the course of fungal acne treatment varies greatly. Therefore, correctly identifying what you are treating first, is crucial.

This same notion applies to dry and dehydrated skin, which is one of the most common skin complaints, especially amongst mature women. While these skin conditions may look similar, they require different courses of action to manage.

What Is Dehydrated Skin?

When the skin lacks excess water, dehydrated skin can occur. Dehydrated skin can happen to anyone regardless of skin type, including oily and combination skin types. This can be due to a damaged skin barrier, lack of water, or extreme weather conditions such as cold, arid climates, which are often associated with dehydration. Skin that is dehydrated can appear dull and lack elasticity. Dehydrated skin often shows signs of premature aging including fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging.

One easy way to tell if the skin is dehydrated is with a pinch test. To do this simple test, pinch a small amount of skin on the chest, abdomen, cheek, or hand for a few seconds. If the skin snaps back, you are likely not dehydrated. In addition to dullness and fine lines and wrinkles, other signs of dehydrated skin include itchiness, congested pores, and dark circles under the eyes.

What Is Dry Skin?

Unlike dehydrated skin, dry skin is characterized by a chronic underproduction of sebum, or oil. It can present with uncomfortable symptoms like itching and tightness with the severity of the symptoms being exacerbated by environmental factors like UV exposure and extreme weather like excessive heat or cold. Other symptoms that can present in individuals with dry skin include flaky skin, redness or irritation, a scaly appearance, and a higher incidence of dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis. While it may seem counterintuitive, dry skin produces more oil to compensate for the lack of moisture, which can lead to breakouts—meaning that an individual can suffer from both dry skin and breakouts.

Jojoba: Like hyaluronic acid, jojoba is a humectant that draws ambient moisture into the skin. Jojoba oil may also help to combat bacterial infections, dandruff, and acne. Why jojoba is a good choice for the skin is that its molecular structure is close to the skin’s sebum, which makes it an ideal face oil that will help strengthen the skin barrier, restore balance, and increase hydration.

Avocado: Avocado oil is rich in antioxidants, it is an emollient (which means traps moisture in the skin), and offers anti-inflammatory properties, which makes this oil ideal for addressing and caring for dry skin.

Rosehip: Rosehip oil is packed with Omega-6 and Omega-3 and is known for its regenerative and moisturizing properties for dry, itchy, and damaged skin. Rosehip oil is also easily absorbed and helps strengthen the skin’s protective barrier, which helps prevent further moisture loss. Harsh ingredients such as rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and sodium lauryl sulfate should be avoided since these ingredients can further dry out the skin causing further irritation.


People sometimes lump dry and dehydrated skin into the same bucket. But dehydrated skin is a temporary condition that can affect any skin type and is the result of the body not having enough fluid. Dry skin on the other hand can occur for a variety of reasons and is characterized by the skin not having enough oil or sebum to maintain a healthy skin barrier and moisture levels. While they may have some similarities in how the present, treating dehydrated skin requires an individual to drink more water (or eat more water-based foods) and to use water-based products. Whereas the treatment for dry skin is external and oil-based products may be more appropriate for this skin type.