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Dry vs Dehydrated Skin 101

23.08.2021 | Skincare

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions around skin dryness which is not quite as simple as just a lack of water. Skin dryness is classified more as skin type as opposed to dehydration which is more of a skin state resulting from external factors and requires a different approach of care. Here’s why... 


Put simply, dry skin is caused by a lack of oil and leaves skin feeling tight and flaky whereas dehydrated skin is caused by lack of water and can leave skin dull. 

Dry skin is a skin type (along with normal, combination and oily). It can result in fewer oil producing glands across the face/body meaning it produces less sebum or that the glands aren’t producing enough oil. In turn, it affects the skin barrier’s ability to protect against aggressors as well as retaining moisture.

Dehydrated skin is connected to water and lack of it in the skin. One of the key differences is that dehydrated skin can actually affect any skin type as it’s related to moisture and often caused by external factors such as weather, environment, diet and diuretics such as caffeine and alcohol. One of the most important factors for healthy, plump skin, is hydration and fine lines and wrinkles can sometimes be a result of lack of moisture in the skin.
Dehydrated skin can be helped by products as well as lifestyle adjustments whereas dry skin is more long-term as it’s a skin type. What is my skin type?


  • Tightness 
  • Lack of oil 
  • Flaky
  • Itchiness 
  • In severe cases: psoriasis, eczema, or dermatitis


  • Tight and uncomfortable
  • Dull complexion
  • Appearance of fine lines 
  • Dark circles
  • Redness/Inflammation
  • Congestion

TOP TIP: One way to tell if your skin is hydrated is by pinching a small section and seeing how quickly it returns to its normal state - the longer it takes the more moisture you need! 


Similar to there being a fine line between dryness and dehydration, the definition of moisturizing and hydrating can often get used interchangeably. Hydrators work to increase the water content of the skin to work with dehydrated skin. E.G. Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Moisturizers,  on the other hand, help seal moisture into the skin and target dry skin. E.G. Vitamin B , C & E Moisturizer.


For dry skin, the aim is to work with the skin’s oil production system and to help seal moisture into the skin. Moisturizers are formulated to help seal moisture into the skin. 


A nurturing yet fast-absorbing daily moisturizer with a dual peptide formula, aiming to reduce the appearance of fine line & wrinkles and balance skin's natural oil levels. With continued use, it helps to support natural collagen and hydrate skin, leaving skin looking youthful.

HOW TO USE: Can be used in the AM and PM after cleansing and serums, massage a pea-sized amount into the face and neck. 


This lightweight daily moisturizer quickly absorbs to deliver every essential vitamin for healthy-looking skin, including clarifying B3 (Niacinamide) to help balance oil, brightening antioxidant Vitamin C, and soothing Vitamin E. Perfect for normal skin types looking to keep skin healthy all year round.

HOW TO USE: Suitable for use in the AM and PM. After cleansing and preferred serums, massage a pea-sized amount into face and neck.


A rich cleansing balm that melts away makeup and impurities without drying the skin.

Formulated with Oat Kernel Oil, a rich, natural Oat Oil which hydrates and moisturizes the skin and effectively removes SPF. Also contains Colloidal Oatmeal which contains a high level of skin beneficial natural actives, making it a must have cleanser to soothe irritated skin and reduce redness. Perfect as a first cleanser in your double cleanse routine.

HOW TO USE: The ideal gentle AM and PM cleanser. Gently massage a small raspberry sized amount onto damp face and neck, add water, then rinse thoroughly. Follow with our hero hydrator Hyaluronic Acid Serum as your first step after cleansing. For an extra nourishment boost, leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing.


For thirsty skin, we want to work with hydrating products to increase the water content of the skin.


This easily absorbed super serum works across multiple layers of the skin, hydrating your skin, helping it appear plump and smooth, while reducing the appearance of fine lines.

Hyaluronic Acid Serum is a powerful moisture-binding ingredient that works beneath the skin surface and can hold up to 1000x its weight in water. ​ Ensuring your skin is hydrated is essential for it to look healthy, therefore it's a must have step in every recipe! 

HOW TO USE: Use in both the AM & PM. We suggest using Hyaluronic Acid Serum as a first step after cleansing to help draw moisture into the skin and aid other products used in the next steps of your recipe. On cleansed, damp skin, apply a pea-sized amount to face and neck. Follow with all other toners and serums. Applying to damp skin helps to lock in moisture.


A powerful hydrator for the skin's surface, Polygluatmic Acid can hold 4x more moisture than Hyaluronic Acid, locking in moisture and helping the skin appear instantly smoother.

This 3% high molecular weight amino polymer is specifically designed to enhance skin moisturization on the surface. This helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines, as well as brighten and even skin tone. The lightweight silky texture creates a perfect make-up canvas.

HOW TO USE: Perfect for the AM and PM. Apply a pea-sized amount on the face and neck as the last step in your routine or follow with a moisturizer if preferred. For long lasting make-up, mix a pea-sized amount in foundation for smooth application.


This antioxidant works to protect your skin, hydrate it and target signs of ageing. Working in the upper layers of the skin, Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect your skin from environmental stress. With an added Syn®-Tacks dual peptide and Squalane, this light, hydrating serum also helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

HOW TO USE: Use AM and PM. On cleansed skin apply a pea-sized amount to face and neck.

If using alongside other serums, layer in any order. 


A natural, super-lightweight face oil that improves skin hydration, helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and supports oil control. 100% plant-derived, this Squalane oil is non-greasy and help to product healthy, glowing skin. A great choice for all skin types, from dry to oily skin.

HOW TO USE: Can be used AM and PM as preferred. Massage 1-2 drops into the skin after moisturizer or add 1-2 drops to your mositurizer.


This hydrating and lightweight under-eye cream helps to instantly reduce the appearance of puffiness, dark circles and fine lines under the eyes.

Caffeine, a natural antioxidant derived from coffee, acts as a diuretic and can help to relieve water retention, a major cause of puffiness under the eyes. The added Matrixyl 3000™ peptide can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and the smooth texture provides a perfect canvas for make-up.

HOW TO USE: Can be used in the AM and PM. After preferred serums, pat a small amount around the contour of the eye using your ring finger and follow with your moisturizer. For an extra soothing effect, store in the fridge for 30 minutes before use.


  • Gentle exfoliation is also important for dry/dehydrated skin to remove any dead skin cells from the surface to allow moisturizers to absorb effectively. 
  • Be aware of seasons and changes in climate and temperature and tailor your skincare routine appropriately. Cold temperatures and dry, artificially heated environments of winter can deplete the moisture in the skin causing it to become irritated and cracked. Coldness also slows down circulation which can affect oil production.
  • Hot water can dehydrate the skin so make sure you’re careful when washing/rinsing. Use warm rather than hot!
  • Use SPF - whilst the humidity of warmer months can boost moisture, sun exposure can trigger dehydration so keep hydrated. 
  • Drinking water naturally hydrates your body and your skin! Health guidelines suggest 1.5 – 2L of water per day and you can also stock up on water-rich foods such as celery and cucumber for an extra injection of hydration. 
  • Use a mist - a spritz of water on your face can help instant hydration for dehydrated skin
  • Certain products or reactions to ingredients can result in dryness/dehydration in the skin - if your skin suddenly has dry patches, itchiness or flakiness try reviewing your routine or consult a doctor/dermatologist. 
  • Layer oils with your moisturizers. We suggest using Rosehip Oil in your PM routine for even softer skin by morning. Add a few drops of Q10 in the AM to protect your skin from environmental damage during the day. For a super hydrating night treatment, add a few drops of Squalane to your moisturizer before bed.

Thirsty for more information or for help with your routine? Contact the askINKEY team.

Photo of Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Our askINKEY team are available on our live chat. A friendly bunch, all experts with deep product knowledge, ready to make skincare as simple as possible. Whether you are an ingredient expert or starting your journey, no question is too big or too small, no judgement or jargon, we’re here to help and be part of your journey.