How To Know If Your Skin Is Dry Or Dehydrated

You’ve noticed your skin is so tight and dry that it feels like it could shatter into a million little pieces at any moment. “But why does it still get shiny over the course of the day?”, you ask yourself. Rather than having dry skin, you may have dehydrated skin.

What is dry skin?

Dry skin is caused by your genetics, a hormonal imbalance or an underactive thyroid. Dry skin is a skin type, which means that your skin naturally produces less oil than someone with a normal, oily or combination skin type. Without oil, your skin struggles to retain the hydration you get from water. The symptoms of dry skin are very similar to those of dehydrated skin: tightness, itchiness and fine lines.

What is dehydrated skin?

Dehydrated skin is a skin condition – you’re not born with it but it is self inflicted due to diet and lifestyle. It can be caused by simple things like harsher weather, such as wind or cold, not eating enough fresh fruit and vegetables and diuretics like alcohol and caffeine (which cause your kidneys to encourage your body to get rid of any excess water). All of these can deplete the water content of your skin, leaving your skin gasping for refreshment.

Even so, if you don’t have the right amount of minerals, electrolytes and essential fatty acids, the water that you are taking in won’t be sent to the right places! Your body is like a sports team where all of the players work together so that they can benefit from each other’s strong points and help out with each other’s weak points.

Dehydrated skin is caused by a shortage of water, not oil, so even oily or combination skin types can become dehydrated.

How do you know if your skin is dehydrated and what can you do to fix it?

  • Your skin can be itchy and irritated. Ingredients like jojoba oil and aloe vera can ease that itch and get your skin feeling refreshed and smooth as a baby’s bottom. Yon-ka’s deeply hydrating Mask No°1 (€47.50) contains both of these ingredients.
  • Your skin feels more sensitive than you do after watching The Notebook for the umpteenth time… or is that just me?! When you are experiencing increased skin sensitivity, it’s important to use gentle products without harsh additives and fragrances and refrain from peels. Although this is what you want to be doing, sloughing off dead skin cells will not fix the problem! Restoring the skin’s acid mantle is vital. Neostrata Bionic Serum (€48.25) and Image I Rescue Post Treatment Recovery Balm (€65.50) are ideal for this.
  • Your dark circles and dull complexion could put any of the Twilight gang to shame. A gentle exfoliation will get you glowing again, but emphasis on gentle. Small, soft circles with your Cleanse Off Mitt (€5.95) will do the trick. Otherwise, you’re looking to exfoliate using enzymes, NOT GRIT!! Enzymes (for example, papain from papaya or bromelain from pineapple) are like little pac-mans that gobble up the dead skin cells on the top layers of skin – this is different to acids, when overused, as they eat up both dead and live skin cells. Try IMAGE Skincare’s Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Masque (€42.00).
  • You have fine lines and wrinkles. Products including hyaluronic acid plump the skin and pop out those dents. Hyaluronic acid is also the key ingredient to pump superficial (in a good way) moisture into the skin. Pestle and Mortar have a fantastic and very affordable Pure Hyaluronic Serum (€43.00).

And for all of these symptoms, turn to Vitamin A. This fat soluble vitamin helps the skin to produce more collagen through cell renewal and stimulate your GAG (AKA glycosaminoglycan) which triggers your own reservoir of hyaluronic acid. It’s recommended to use Vitamin A in strengths of 0.6pc and above as a retinol so that it can really get down to the lower layers of your skin.

When your skin is dehydrated, it’s essential to rehydrate it! Drink plenty of water and increase your intake of foods with high water content like watermelon and cucumber. You’ll also need to help your skin retain that water you’re putting in. Applying a moisturiser straight after the shower is a great way to lock in extra moisture, and make sure that your showers are lukewarm so as not to strip your skin of any oils. Eat foods with a high healthy fat content, like avocados and nuts.

Another fab way to re-hydrate your skin is regular Spritz O’Clocks! Using a facial mist like Yon-ka’s Lotion Yon-ka (€32.00) throughout the day will help stop your skin drought.

Jennifer Rock

About Jennifer Rock


  • Niamh says:

    Great info!! I find it a constant battle to maintain balance between keeping skin hydrated and ensuring pores don’t clog as my skin congests easily. Currently using alternating cleansers (clay based, salycilic acid and glycolic acid) combined with the image restoring serum and hydrating SPF, then at night Environ A moisturiser (level 1) Can dehydration cause congestion? Would a hydrating peel help?? (Does such a thing exist???)

    • Jennifer Rock Jennifer Rock says:

      Hi Niamh! In regards to peels and products, we’d always recommend a thorough consult as you have to know the skin fully before suggesting anything! We offer an online skin consultation service where we create a full inside, outside and on top regime for you, we are fully booked right now but you can sign up for our waiting list: About your congestion, if you are wearing non-mineral makeup at the moment, we’d advise you to swap to mineral makeup which is noncomedogenic (AKA doesn’t clog pores). Thanks for your comment X

  • Naomi Boland says:

    Hi jennifer,as always i learn so much from your talk alot about vit.a.where or how do you recommend this to be taken??is it a supplement or found in particular foods??thanks a mill,Naomi x

    • Jennifer Rock Jennifer Rock says:

      Hi Naomi, Advanced Nutrition Programme have a supplement called Vit A+ which should help you out, but to recommend specific Vitamin A products for your skin, we would always advise on a full consultation – we provide online skin consultations on our website, and you can sign up for the waiting list here: Thanks for your comment X

  • Martina collins says:

    Just woundering do you ever do a 1 to 1 about the face and how much if you do thanks in advance

  • Daniel says:

    I like how you mentioned that something like dehydrated skin can be caused not only be missing necessary fruits and veggies in your diet but also from harsh weather and other wear and tear. It’s always been important to me to try and keep moisturized. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, after all! But sometimes the everyday wear and tear adds up and can be unavoidable. I think someone in that position would be smart to look into professional skin renewal to keep their whole body healthy.

    • Jennifer Rock Jennifer Rock says:

      Skincare has to be 360˚ and you have to feed the skin from within indeed !! I would personally believe that most cases of sensitised skin can be treated by a lifestyle overhaul and a carefully selected skincare regime! x

  • Sharon monahan says:

    is there any special brand of Vitamin A to take ?

  • Caragh O'Driscoll says:

    Hi Jennifer, great article thanks! You mentioned an Environ Moisturiser (that’s like a serum) at Pippas event and for the life of me I can’t find the name of it anywhere?! Even with my millions of notes from your talk! 🙂 x

    • Jennifer Rock Jennifer Rock says:

      Hi Caragh, it was (probably) the Environ AVST 1 Moisturiser! You need a consult to get your hands on it, I’d recommend popping into your local Environ-stocking clinic/salon or having a consult with us x

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