We all get that feeling sometimes: a dry and itchy sensation running all over our skin, which may occasionally even feel rough and calloused. But don’t fret. Our skin may only just be dehydrated.  

The term "dehydrated skin" refers to a lack of water in the skin. It can be dry and irritating and sometimes doesn’t look as “youthful” as it normally is. Fine wrinkles are more visible, and your overall tone and complexion may seem uneven.

While dehydrated skin is inconvenient, it is very simple to cure with the appropriate lifestyle modifications. To restore and maintain hydration throughout your body, treatment begins from the inside out.

Dehydrated Skin Vs. Dry Skin

Dry skin and dehydrated skin are sometimes used interchangeably. There are, however, two distinct differences.

While dehydrated skin is devoid of water, dry skin is devoid of natural oils (also called sebum). Dry skin is also a skin type and can change as we grow older. Dry skin can also be a symptom of underlying health issues like hypothyroidism, skin asthma, and atopic dermatitis.

Meanwhile, dehydrated skin is defined as a condition in which our body loses more water than it takes in. This can be caused by excessive urination from coffee or diuretics, in addition to not drinking enough water. It can also happen as a result of excessive perspiration during exercise.

Causes of Dehydrated Skin

Dehydrated skin can be caused by air conditioning, the weather, lack of sleep, not drinking enough water, too hot showers, harsh skin care products, strong soaps, whitening agents, and skipping a mild skincare routine. Dehydration is an issue that affects more than simply dry skin. Dehydration affects all skin types, including oily skin, and is caused by a lack of water in the skin. Moisture escapes from your skin when the air is dry (or windy!). 

Symptoms of Dehydrated Skin

As compared to dry skin, some of the symptoms of dehydrated skin include:

  • Dullness, sunken eyes, and darkness under the eye circles. When your body is dehydrated, the skin behind your eyes becomes dull and your eyes appear sunken. This is because of their near closeness to the underlying bone.

  • Itchiness. Itching is most commonly caused by dry skin's natural oils drying up or failing to do their job correctly. When skin isn't moisturized correctly, it becomes irritable and itchy.  

  • Fine scales on the legs and arms. When you have dehydrated skin, you develop fine scales that flake off easily.

  • Shadows around the face, especially around the nose and under the eyes. Blood arteries can contract as a result of dehydration. Hyperpigmentation and dark shadows might result, particularly around the eyes and nose, where the skin is thinner and blood vessels are more apparent. Your skin might start to peel and look dull if it doesn't get enough moisture.

  • Increased appearance of surface wrinkles and fine lines. You are dehydrated if you appear to have fine lines. Dehydrated skin shows symptoms of aging more quickly, but unlike smile lines or crow's feet, these wrinkles emerge as a network of small, triangular thin lines.

However, when we neglect dehydrated skin, it can become severe and may require us to seek medical help. Some of these symptoms include:

  • overall weakness

  • dizziness

  • faintness

  • urination that is frequent and darker

  • dry mouth

  • lightheadedness

Diagnosing Dehydrated Skin

To evaluate your skin's moisture levels, perform a simple pinch test at home.

Squeeze lightly a tiny piece of your skin around your cheek region. If you see wrinkles and the skin doesn't bounce back when you let go, it's possible that your skin is dehydrated. If you are not sure, a dermatologist or aesthetician can also assist you in determining whether or not your skin is dehydrated or not.

Managing Dehydrated Skin

Dehydration, unlike dry skin, can be treated with lifestyle changes. The first and most important step is to replenish our hydration, so drink plenty of water. If we don't drink enough water already, start with the traditional norm of eight glasses of water each day. However, in some cases, we may need to drink more than this, depending on our body weight and activity level. Some professions such as engineers, architects or those who are under the sun too long may also drink more than eight glasses of water each day.

It's also crucial to avoid drinking too much water, as this might 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:

  • Only consume alcohol in moderation (if at all).

  • Caffeine from coffee and other sources should be avoided.

  • Quit smoking.

  • Exercise on a regular basis.

  • While exercising, drink plenty of water (it is recommended to take a few sips every 20 minutes at minimum).

  • After your workout, replenish your fluids.

  • Make sure you get enough rest, at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each day.

  • Increase your intake of plant-based foods including fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

If you've recently been unwell, dehydration might be the result of a loss of fluids. Make sure you're getting enough water, electrolyte drinks, and broth-based soups in your diet. Severe dehydration may be treated at the doctor's office or hospital with intravenous fluids.

The treatment of dry skin, on the other hand, is more challenging. If your skin has always been dry, you'll need to take extra precautions to keep it moist throughout the cold and dry months.

A dry-skin moisturizer is essential for moisturizing your skin without making it greasy. An oily moisturizer won't help you with dry skin, and it could even cause you to break out. Drinking extra water will not cure dry skin, but it will help. While dehydrated skin is difficult to identify but curable, dry skin exhibits comparable symptoms, but it can't be cured with a change in food or lifestyle.

If the dehydration in your skin does not improve after making these adjustments, you may have dry skin. You can consult your dermatologist, or any professional if you suspect dry skin. 

Hydrating Products


Moisturizers not only prevent dry skin, but can also be used to protect delicate skin, enhance skin texture, and conceal flaws. They protect your skin by acting as a barrier, keeping it moisturized and healthy. They also help to reduce flaking and itching, as well as breakouts and damaged skin.

Every moisturizer should have the following components:

1. Humectant. Humectants are recognized for their capacity to retain moisture while maintaining the product's overall characteristics. 

Common active ingredients in Humectant moisturizers are:

  • Hyaluronic Acid. This is vital for moisturizing and preserving the suppleness of your skin. The water-binding properties of hyaluronic acid assist to restore your skin while also preventing early symptoms of aging.

  • Glycerin. Glycerin is a popular cosmetic component with moisturizing qualities that can help your skin feel less dry and irritated. This is due to the fact that glycerin is a humectant, and it works by drawing moisture from the surroundings to your skin's surface.

  • Urea. Urea, another often used chemical in dermatology, breaks down stiffened protein, removing roughness and itching from your skin.

2. Emollients. Emollients are soothing and hydrating therapies that are applied directly to the skin. To keep moisture in, they apply a protective layer to the skin. Emollients are frequently used to treat eczema, psoriasis, and ichthyosis, which are dry, itchy, and scaly skin diseases.

Common Emollient ingredients include:

  • Ceramides. These are skin-renewing chemicals, similar to the cement that holds a building's bricks together. They help to maintain and restore your skin's barrier, which keeps moisture in and minimizes water loss.

  • Pentavitin. Pentavitin (also known as Saccharide Isomerate) is a hydration herb produced from plants. It's a powerful hydrator that keeps you hydrated for up to 72 hours. After application, pentavitin forms a moisture barrier on the skin and binds deep within the layers of the skin, keeping it in place for up to 72 hours. It aids in the preservation of the skin's natural moisture barrier while also smoothing and plumping the skin over time. The appearance of fine wrinkles is minimized since the skin is highly moisturized after application.

One classic example is Humeda which contains Pentavitin, which binds deep into the skin's outer layers, providing long-lasting hydration that, unlike Hyaluronic Acid, cannot be wiped away. This product not only contains Jojoba Esters, which has an anti-aging effect and can help decrease the appearance of scars, but it also contains OMC and MBBT, which block UV-B rays and can help protect the skin from sunburn and skin cancer, with MBBT being a particularly specialized UV protection agent. It works as both a filter and a screen and is effective against both UVB and UVA rays.

3. Occlusives. Occlusives are moisturizing agents that build a barrier on the surface of your skin to prevent moisture loss through a protective layer.

  • Panthenol. Panthenol is a hydrating substance that pierces the skin and hydrates the cells. It also inhibits water loss via the epidermis. This implies it boosts skin barrier activities by activating cells that do so.

  • Jojoba Oil. It helps with moisture on the skin without clogging up the pores by mimicking natural sebum in the skin.

One moisturizer you might want to avail is the NNO or Night Nourishing Oil, which is a nutritious night oil that rehydrates the skin and restores its suppleness. It contains Jojoba oil and natural Vitamin E oil. These components are absorbed rapidly, are skin-friendly, and are effective on dry skin since they are similar to natural skin oils rather than manufactured chemicals. Every night, moisturizing with NNO stimulates blood circulation and new cell formation, reducing the risk of severe dryness, dark spots, and aging symptoms.

Forms of Moisturizers


Creams are easily absorbed into the skin due to their high water content. At the same time, if you have dry skin, rashes, or skin lesions, the oil content is beneficial since the cream stays on the surface of your skin to protect against moisture loss. Creams are generally offered in jars as daily moisturizers. Treatment creams for insect bites and rashes, such as hydrocortisone, may come in tubes for easier application.

One of the best creams that you can use is the Nivea Refreshingly Soft Moisturizing Cream. This “intensive moisturizing cream” contains jojoba oil and vitamin E, and it leaves the skin feeling and looking soft and smooth.


Ointments have the greatest oil concentration of any skin product. This provides additional protection against moisture loss as well as factors such as dry air. Mineral oil and petroleum are common components in ointments. Topical medicines, such as antibiotics for infections or corticosteroids for psoriasis, may be better absorbed in ointment form since they don't evaporate off the skin. Due to the same benefits, moisturizers in ointment form may treat very dehydrated skin.

You can use Aquaphor Healing Ointment for dehydrated skin. This ointment is one of the best ointments in locking in moisture and strengthening the skin barrier. 


Lotions include primarily water and very little oil, whereas creams contain half water and half oil. They have a considerably thinner consistency and some lotions are oil-free, making them perfect for skin types that are combination, oily, or acne-prone. These products absorb fast and leave no residue on the skin. If you have oily and sensitive skin, look for a lotion that is free of alcohol, perfumes, and preservatives that might annoy your skin.

For dehydrated skin, use Nivea Body Lotion. Because it contains avocado oil and Vitamin E, this lotion can make your skin smoother and it functions as an intensive moisture body milk.


A mixture of cellulose, alcohol, and water, is used to make a gel. Gel products are good for oily to normal skin. These oil-free products are excellent for highly oily skin types since they provide the necessary moisture without leaving any residue or extra oil on the skin. During the hot and humid summer months, gels may also be desirable as face moisturizers.

However, gels may not be as beneficial to those with dry skin since they absorb too rapidly and do not create a moisture barrier on the skin. If you have sensitive skin, read product labels carefully and avoid any gel products that include alcohol or perfumes.

While your body has its own supply of hyaluronic acid, supplementing it with extra is a good idea. This will only help your skin absorb and retain more moisture—which, as you would expect, is critical if you're feeling particularly dry. This is where the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel comes in. It absorbs quickly into your skin and leaves it feeling dewy for hours without looking oily.

Dehydrated skin is not something to be concerned about - and yet, something that we should not all take lightly. In this day and age, skin conditions such as this one, have spurred many treatments and medicines, some even more high-tech than the last. So if you feel that you have dehydrated skin, go see your doctor and take those medications!