Our skin is not always in its best shape all the time. Feeling itchiness, spotting redness and flaky skin is a common occurrence for people with dry and dehydrated skin. To combat these problems, you need to have a deeper understanding of the condition and several moisturizers in drugstores that can help ease the symptoms.

Dehydrated vs. Dry Skin

Due to environmental factors, exposure to pollutants, and even your overall health, your skin can manifest all sorts of skin issues. Dehydrated and dry skin may be common, but it does not mean that they are normal! There are various means to ensure that these conditions are treated or prevented.

The two conditions may sound the same and even be used interchangeably, but the next part of this article will help you differentiate between dehydrated and dry skin.

Dehydrated Skin

The skin needs a healthy amount of water content to remain plump, healthy-looking, and youthful. However, when the skin lacks water in its topmost layer, this is where it will look dehydrated.

When the skin is dehydrated, it loses more water than the amount it retains. In our daily lives, our water content comes and goes. We expel water from sweating after finishing an exercise routine. Also, we expel fluids when we excessively urinate from drinking caffeine.

So, what causes dehydrated skin? Common culprits include air conditioning and hot weather. These induce more fluid to escape from the layers of the skin. Similarly, using harsh skin care products and strong soaps can strip off the natural moisture of the skin, leading to dehydration.

Dry skin

If dehydrated skin is all about the unhealthy levels of water in the skin, dry skin, on the other hand, happens when the skin has less sebum or oil.

Dry skin can be exacerbated by external factors such as hot weather, long showers with very hot water, and even old age. Furthermore, air pollution can induce the skin to produce less sebum than normal.

Another important consideration for both dry and dehydrated skin is exposure to direct sunlight. UV rays from the sun can cause irreversible cell damage. Aside from risking yourself to dry or dehydrated skin, too much sun exposure without any protection increases your risk of developing cancer.

So, to avoid skin issues, make sure to put on sunscreen prior to going out in the sun. You can also physically protect your skin from the sun by wearing long sleeves and seeking shades from umbrellas and wide hats.

The Symptoms

Dehydrated and dry skin are often confusing because their symptoms can manifest similar characteristics. For instance, both conditions can manifest as itchy, tight, and rough skin.

Since dehydrated skin is caused by the lack of sufficient water levels in the skin, it is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Fine lines

  • Cracked or dry lips

  • Sunken eyes

  • Dry mucus membranes

  • Poor skin elasticity

Manifestations of dry skin can sometimes appear similar to dehydrated skin. However, note that dry skin is due to lack of sebum, not lack of water, in the skin. Hence, the following are the common signs of having dry skin:

  • Scaling and roughness

  • Flaked skin

  • Cracked skin

  • Itchiness and loose skin

Complications To Look Out For

Dry and dehydrated skin is usually harmless. These are primarily esthetic concerns as people facing these skin issues usually develop poorer skin texture and show early signs of aging.

However, when these conditions are not attended to early on, they can progress to more serious problems. Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a skin condition that escalates from too much dryness of the skin. Furthermore, cracking of the skin due to too much dryness allows bacteria to penetrate the protective layers of the skin, risking you to develop all sorts of localized or systemic infections.

Top Over-The-Counter Moisturizers For Your Skin Needs

It would be best to avoid reaching the complications brought by dry and dehydrated skin. Moisturizers in drugstores contain a variety of ingredients all marketed to target these skin conditions.

Extreme cases of these skin issues warrant the assistance of a dermatologist. The professional will diagnose your skin and provide an appropriate treatment plan tailored to your needs. You would also be asked for the history of skin issues, the length of time you were dealing with dry skin, triggers of worsening of the condition, and treatments you tried before.

To aid the betterment of dry skin, you can opt for daily use of moisturizers. Moisturizers come in different forms such as creams, lotions, or gels. Since these are infused with active ingredients, you can keep your skin healthy by strengthening your skin barrier.

You can look into the following moisturizers in drugstores if you have mild dryness and flakiness that you want to address:


Humeda provides extensive skin hydration with its Pentavitin and Hydranov PA. These ingredients help the skin obtain long-lasting hydration, combating the symptoms of dry skin.

Pentavitin binds to the skin’s layers to lock moisture in increase water retention. This ingredient is complemented by Hydranov PA with properties similar to hyaluronic acid.

Even if this cream-type moisturizer deeply nourishes, it is also designed not to make the skin oily, making it usable for people with sensitive and acne-prone oily skin.

COSRX Official Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion

COSRX is a brand known for the fantastic benefits of its skincare products. The Oil-Free Moisturizing Lotion contains birch sap which restores the skin’s adequate hydration level. The product is ideally used in the morning and at night.

The product contains 70% Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice, which heals irritated skin and hydrates it.

Despite being a lotion type of moisturizer, the product has a thin and non-greasy consistency. It is immediately absorbed by the skin upon application.

Cetaphil Daily Face Moisturizer

Cetaphil Daily Face Moisturizer is geared toward dry and sensitive skin. It contains Parson and Octocrylene which protect the skin from early aging, retain moisture, and prevent sun damage.

Plus, it is designed to keep the skin hydrated for up to 24 hours and is perfect for daily use.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturizer

Neutrogena is a nourishing cream with a Natural Moisturizing Factor that hydrates the skin up to five times more than other products. The product also avoids the use of artificial perfumes, making it gentle on sensitive skin.

With regular use of the product, one can get plumper and more hydrated skin, thanks to the action of sodium hyaluronate.

Pond’s Skin Hydrator and Face Moisturizer

Pond’s Skin Hydrator contains watermelon extract and Vitamin E to relieve excessive dryness of the skin. The product is also oil-free, making it comfortable for oily skin. You can also use the product as a skin prep prior to the application of makeup. This hydrator can minimize the appearance of pores, helping makeup appear more flawless.

Face Republic CICA Gel Moisturizer

Face Republic formulates its gel moisturizer with Cica for moisturizing the skin. These ingredients work by increasing the skin’s blood flow and boosting collagen formation. Consistent use of the product will make the skin appear more youthful and firmer. Plus, it soothes the skin from any irritation caused by dry skin.

Tips For Applying Moisturizers

Moisturizers would be most effective for addressing your skin concerns once used appropriately. You can make the most out of your moisturizer by applying it after cleansing and washing your face. It is best to have the moisturizer lock skin moisture after adequately cleansing.

There are also three general types of moisturizers in the market. First are the emollients which manage cracked and flaked skin. These are primarily creams and lotion moisturizers with a thicker consistency. Then, there are the occlusives or the oil-based moisturizers. The oil content provides the skin with a lipid barrier that locks water onto the skin. Lastly, humectants are moisturizers that attract water from the air and lock them into the skin. You can choose the type of moisturizer depending on your skin’s current condition and the products it can tolerate.

You can also tweak your lifestyle to eliminate inducing further drying and dehydration of the skin. Avoid taking too much alcohol and caffeine as these diuretics cause you to expel more water from the body. Similarly, eat lots of healthy and moisture-rich foods like fruits and vegetables to keep you hydrated from the inside. If you are dealing with cracking and flaking skin, try to avoid harsh soaps and reduce bathing with hot water.


Dry and dehydrated skin appears flaky and cracked which is sometimes accompanied by itchiness and irritation. If untreated, these can escalate to skin issues like dermatitis or eczema. So, prevent these skin problems by using the best moisturizers from drugstores that fit your needs.


Article Reviewed by: Dr. Mary Amy Fatima Cagayan Chua