Natural skincare solutions: Dry skin vs dehydrated skin

Dehydrated skin is often confused with dry skin - however, dry and dehydrated skin are two

different phenomena. Dehydrated skin lacks water - dry skin lacks natural oils or sebum. Therefore, dry skin is a skin type, while dehydration is considered a condition.


Dehydration happens when you use or lose more fluid than you ingest, and your body doesn't have enough water or liquids to carry out expected functions. If you don't replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated. Besides not drinking enough water, you can dehydrate when you urinate more from caffeine or diuretics or lots of sweating from exercise.

When dehydrated, you can expect these symptoms:

  • sunken eyes

  • increased appearance of fine lines and surface wrinkles

  • "shadows" around the face (especially under the eyes and around your nose)

  • itchiness

  • dullness

  • darker under-eye circles

Dehydrated skin can be managed.

Dehydrated skin can be complex but can be treated once diagnosed correctly. On the other hand, dry skin has similar symptoms but can't be treated with lifestyle and diet changes.

If you make lifestyle changes, but your skin dehydration does not improve, you may have dry skin. I recommend that you see a specialist to assist you.

How to treat dehydrated skin

Improving your hydration is the first important step, so it's essential to drink enough water.

You can start with the old rule of eight glasses of water per day, OR you can use the following to calculate your ideal water intake:

Water (in litres) to drink a day = Your Weight (in Kg) multiplied by 0.033.

You may need to drink more than this. Ideal water intake can vary depending on your body weight and activity levels. You can ask your doctor what amount is recommended specifically for you.

Drinking too much water can also be an issue, which can lead to a loss of minerals.

Eating water-rich veggies and fruits such as Celery, Watermelon etc., can also help increase your intake.

The following lifestyle changes can also improve dehydrated skin:

  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol intake

  • Drink less caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea.

  • Stop smoking.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • When working out, taking a few sips of water every 20 minutes at a minimum).

  • Replenish fluids after you work out.

  • Get adequate sleep.

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.

We also get dehydrated when sick due to a loss of fluids. So drink plenty of water, electrolyte beverages, and broth-based soups.


Dry skin is more challenging to treat. If your skin has always naturally been dry, you'll need to take extra care to keep it moist during dry and cold weather. A moisturiser formulate4d for dry skin is key to hydrating your skin without making it too oily. More water won't bring relief to dry skin, but it's still good for your overall health and prevent dehydration.

Skin types

Skin types are:

  1. normal

  2. dry

  3. combination, and

  4. oily.

We are usually born with one skin type, but it can change with age and season. Dry skin occurs when your sebaceous glands don't produce enough natural oils and are often associated with skin diseases such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne breakouts.

These forms of dry skin are not the same as having d "dry skin-type" and are also not the same as dehydrated skin.

Signs of dry skin include:

  • scaly skin

  • white flakes

  • redness

  • irritation


Essential oils are not moisturisers within themselves but help create the action in the skin to create balance. So you can almost see natural, 100% pure essential oils as an active ingredient in your skincare routine.

The definition of an active ingredient in skincare is:

A biologically active substance that can have a physiological effect on the skin.


We need three types of moisturisers for plump, moist, healthy, happy skin:

  • EMOLLIENTS – Fills in and smooths the skin

  • HUMECTANTS – Draws water from the air to the skin

  • OCCLUSIVES – Forms a protective layer on top of the skin to seal water in

For the ultimate skincare treatment, combine emollients with humectants and occlusives if you want a dewy, glowing complexion and baby-soft skin.

The Best Emollients to Use in Natural Skincare

Emollients help soften and smooth the scales of the skin by filling in tiny gaps where skin may be flaked or cracked.

Some of the best emollients come from plants, in the form of many oils and butters like coconut oil, sesame, sweet almond, apricot kernel, sesame, coconut, and olive oils and butters from shea and cocoa.I recommend plant-derived emollients.

Other emollients like lanolin are extracted from the wax found in sheep's wool, and alcohols like stearyl alcohol and cetyl alcohol can be plant-derived.

Other well known synthetic emollients often seen in commercial skin products are mineral oil, petroleum jelly, and synthetics silicones like dimethicone and Cyclomethicone. Many of these are derived from petrolatum.

Plant-based emollients

Plant oils are great emollients, soften the skin and help with getting that gorgeous skin glow.

Plant oils extracted from plants are liquid at room temperature. They are pressed from seeds, nuts and fruits. They are a mixture of several natural fatty acids. The specific blend of fatty acids makes some oils better suited for different purposes and skin types and uses.

Many of these fatty acids found in plant oils are great for the skin, such as oleic, linoleic and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).

Best plant oils emollients for dry/mature skin

Plant oils high in oleic acid are great for dry, ageing skin. They replenish the lost moisture that naturally comes with age by easily penetrating the skin's surface. Oleic acids are perfect for night creams by helping to seal in moisture and make oils richer and heavier.


  • Sweet almond oil with up to 86% oleic acid

  • Olive oil with up to 85% oleic acid

  • Avocado oil with up to 80% oleic acid

  • Argan oil with up 55% oleic acid

Sensitive or inflamed skin

GLA-rich (Gamma Linolenic Acid) oils may be the answer you've been waiting for to treat inflammatory skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, or atopic dermatitis; science has found a solution that may help tame the redness and itchiness.

Researchers found Borage oil to be an effective treatment for atopic dermatitis with no side effect in a 2007 double-blind clinical trial.


  • Evening primrose oil up to 10% GLA

  • Borage oil up to 25% GLA

Best for oily or acne-prone skin

We often think we should not be using oils on acne-prone skin. This is because excess sebum (the oil your skin produces naturally) can cause breakouts, but not all oils are equal. Even oily or acne-prone skin needs proper hydration. Without enough moisture, our sebaceous glands can go into overdrive and produce more sebum, leading to breakouts to help quench the dehydrated skin.

Dehydrated skin can also create fine, almost invisible cracks in the skin, the perfect home for bacteria. In addition, it can contribute to breakouts.

Using oils high in linoleic acid is ideal for people with either acne-prone or oily skin. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a study that found that acne patients have low levels of linoleic acid in their sebum. Another study found, rubbing 2.5% linoleic acid on it helped relieve people with mild acne symptoms.

If you have oily skin, linoleic acid makes for a lighter oil with a thinner consistency. However, these oils will still adequately nourish and protect the skin with a light feel.


  • Safflower oil up to 80% linoleic acid

  • Evening primrose oil up to 75% linoleic acid

  • Sunflower oil up to 75% linoleic acid

  • Red raspberry seed up to 52.1% linoleic acid

  • Argan oil up to 37% linoleic acid

  • Rosehip seed oil up to 40.9% linoleic acid

Plant butter