Let's decide this for once and for all: Are you dry or dehydrated?

It's a skincare conundrum that continues to baffle, so let's settle it for once and for all; is your skin dry or dehydrated?

In the fourth in a skincare series from Jeanne Brophy, the skin specialist reveals the difference between dry or dehydrated skin.  Last week, she gave a skincare guide for mums-to-beRead about how to discover if your skin is sensitised, and her complete guide to oily skin here.


Skin feeling tight is such a common and generally easily fixed concern. Where it often fails is choosing a product to treat dryness when you are actually dehydrated and vice versa.

What’s the difference?

Dehydrated skin is a lack of water while dry skin is a lack of natural lipids or oils. No matter what your skin type is, you can suffer from lack of water. Lifestyle, temperature and products can all play a part in this. Our top layers of skin cells naturally draw moisture from our environment to keep skin flexible and feeling hydrated. This process can sometimes be interrupted due to dry environments like a toasty fire and central heating.

The last few weeks of weather madness have played havoc with many skins for that reason. When our skin loses its optimal levels of water, we may feel tight or notice some flaking on the surface. You might also notice that your skin will not feel as smooth as usual, this is due to poor cell renewal and are all very common complaints during cold weather. All skin types can and usually do suffer from these symptoms, but it will generally be short term.


Over exfoliation, wipes, micellar water and the wrong foaming cleanser can make this a long-term complaint for many skins.

Tips to treat
  • Bin the micellar water, wipes or soaps.
  • Be careful with exfoliation – if in doubt, don’t!
  • Add a hydration serum tailored to your skin type into your routine
  • Increase your water intake and introduce an omega 3 supplement

Lipid dry or naturally dry skin may be something that you have been complaining of for a long time. You may also be prone to eczema or dermatitis. It presents with similar symptoms to dehydration such as skin feeling uncomfortable but will generally also be prone to irritation/cosmetic allergies and can feel coarse or rough to the touch. You may be genetically predisposed to dry skin but also bear in mind that natural oils in our skin are supported quite significantly by diet which is why dry skin is often found on clients on diets that are not getting enough healthy fats in their food. True dry skin is more common in
mature skin.

Tips to treat
  • Increase water intake particularly if spending more time in dry environments
  • Make sure you are eating healthy fats as part of your diet – walnuts, salmon and avocados are skin saviours and really help keep natural oil levels up and inflammation down
  • Supplement where necessary with a good quality fish oil or flax seed supplement
  • Add a serum to your routine to boost hydration; oils are also a great thing to add to your routine if you are suffering with dryness

Need a moisture boost fast? Book a facial. Bespoke facials are a sure fire way to get skin back to its former hydrated glory.


For more from Jeanne Brophy, see jeannebrophy.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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