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Dehydrated vs Dry Skin: How To Tell the Difference

Dehydrated vs Dry Skin: How To Tell the Difference

It is very common to confuse dehydrated skin for dry skin or vice-versa. Dry skin and dehydrated skin share a lot of the same symptoms. 

A man dealing with either condition may experience rough, scaly, itchy skin, more noticeable fine lines, a dull complexion, and less elasticity. Confusing one for the other would not be an issue if it did not affect the treatment process. 

Most ladies understand the importance of treating their skin, especially when it needs rejuvenation. For men, however, skincare tends to be less appreciated and prioritized. It is time for this to change. 

Here at MadeMan, we firmly believe that taking care of your skin should be as common as brushing your teeth or applying deodorant. We recognize that you’ve got a lot on your plate between your career and social life and might not think you have the time to develop a proper skincare regimen

We disagree. 

Skincare does not need to be difficult or time-consuming. We are committed to making the process easy for you by offering you effective products crafted with ethicality and integrity and answering all questions you may have.

So let’s get back to dehydrated versus dry skin. It is important to identify whether your skin is dry or dehydrated so that you can take the right course of action to repair it back to health. For your convenience, today, we will be discussing how to tell the difference between the two.

Dry vs Dehydrated

Simply put, dry skin means lacking in oil, and dehydrated skin means lacking in water. Allow us to explain.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is a skin type characterized by having fewer oil-producing glands in the face. As you can probably figure out on your own, having fewer oil-producing glands results in less oil on the skin. 

Typically, oil-producing glands, or more specifically sebaceous glands, excrete sebum. Sebum is an oily substance that contains fat molecules or lipids and lubricates the skin.

Since dry skin does not have as much sebum as other skin types, it is less protected against external irritants and retains less moisture. If untreated, dry skin can develop red patches, flaking, a rough complexion, and less elasticity.

Dehydrated Skin

Dehydrated skin is not a skin type but rather a condition that is caused by a water deficiency. If you spend a lot of time in the gym or out in the sun, you are probably familiar with dehydration of the body. When you use or lose more fluids than you take in, your body cannot function normally.

Dehydration of the skin works in the same way. When your body lacks fluids, your skin does not operate the way it is meant to. This dehydration can be caused by the weather, your environment, or your diet. It can lead to your skin cracking, peeling, itching, and becoming irritated. 

One major misconception is that if your skin is oily, it is not dehydrated. Remember, dehydration has nothing to do with oil. It is all about your water intake. If your skin type is oily, there is still a chance that you may fall victim to dehydration if not careful.

Which is Which?

Let’s say you’ve noticed your face feeling itchy and looking flakier than usual. Do you have dry skin or dehydrated skin? It can be tricky to decipher between the two, but we have easy tips for figuring it out with similar symptoms.

Our first piece of advice is to look out for specific trouble areas on the face and body. While the entire surface area of your face may be affected, dehydration and dryness tend to target specific spots more than others.

For example, dehydrated skin may exacerbate dark circles beneath your eyes. While this can be inherited, the undereye is one of the thinnest and most vulnerable areas of skin on your body and can reflect other issues. In this case, the bags below your eyes being darker and puffier than usual might be due to low water intake.

Dry skin, on the other hand, will likely spread beyond just your face. To identify if your issue is a lack of oil production, take a look at the backs of your hands and arms or neck. If the texture of these areas is rough, the skin on your face might be too dry, rather than dehydrated.

Our next piece of advice is to try the pinch test. Position yourself in front of a mirror and pinch one of your cheeks. Look closely at how your face responds to this pressure. If your face does not hold its shape but instead wrinkles, head to the fridge and pour yourself a glass of water because it is likely that your skin cells are thirsty and your issue is dehydration.

Our last piece of advice is to examine the characteristics of your skin. Though there is some overlap, the symptoms commonly associated with dehydration are redness and swelling. Meanwhile, the symptoms most commonly associated with dryness are itchiness and flakiness. 

If you cannot identify your affliction on your own, we suggest seeking advice from a dermatologist. 

Treatment Options

As we have already mentioned, there is a lot of overlap in the effects of dehydration and dryness. While their causes are different, many of the treatment options are similar. 

MadeMan is all about offering simplified solutions for any man seeking to take control of his looks. To make things easy for you, we will give suggestions that could help treat either condition.

Up Your Nutrient Intake

Altering your diet can work wonders for your skin. Some of the best nutrients for supporting your skin are omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients you receive from foods or supplements to build and maintain your body’s health. 

The three main omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) 

Your body does not produce ALA on its own and instead obtains it through consuming foods rich in the nutrient. Your body can then convert a portion of ALA into EPA and DHA, increasing your body’s levels of these omega-3 fatty acids.

As promised, this solution can be used to treat both dehydrated and dry skin. The consumption of omega-3s can improve the fatty acid composition in your skin. This will then balance your skin’s inflammatory response. As a result, you will see improvement in acute skin conditions. Most importantly, these nutrients will then have the opportunity to regulate the skin’s oil production and improve hydration.

While the recommended intake of omega-3s can vary depending on various factors, including age and sex, studies report the general recommendation of ALA for men as being 1.6 grams. 

Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Nuts and seeds 
  • Plant oils
  • Fortified foods
  • Seafood

You also have the option to up your omega-3 intake through dietary supplements that include fish oil and krill oil.

Turn Up The Heat

As previously mentioned, dry or dehydrated skin is often caused or exacerbated by environmental factors. These factors include the weather. Temperature and humidity changes can impact the behavior of your skin.

Winter is probably the trickiest season for your skin. The air is cold and lacking in humidity. This can cause the skin to both dry out and reduce sebum production, which, as we know, can result in either dry or dehydrated skin. 

To combat this, consider investing in a humidifier. The main function of a humidifier is to put moisture into the air. By keeping a humidifier at home, work, or wherever else you spend your time, you are supporting your skin’s health in two ways.

The first way is by putting moisture back into the air. Dry air leads to dry, itchy skin on top of a dry nose and eyes. The moisture emitted by your humidifier will improve the air quality and, in turn, your skin.

The second way is by preventing the air from drawing moisture from your skin. When there is little moisture present in the air, it is drawn from other sources that include your skin. Having a humidifier to increase humidity levels will minimize the chances of moisture evaporating from your skin.

Restart and Refresh

Sometimes the best way to treat your damaged skin is to refresh completely. Starting from the beginning can allow you to apply good habits and refine or reinvent your look.

For this, we recommend The Re(Set) Collection, a collection we designed with simplicity in mind. This two-step treatment will allow you to take an easy first step towards a proactive life. In just under two minutes a day, you will cleanse, moisturize, and protect your skin against environmental stressors.

One of the top features of The Re(Set) Collection is its ability to reduce the appearance of eye bags, a common symptom of dehydrated skin. If your concern is correcting dryness, the collection is also formulated to balance greasy and dry skin.


Whether dry or dehydrated, restoring your skin starts with you. We’ve given you the tools you need to identify the cause of your irritated skin. Now you have the choice to be proactive and embrace all-new confidence. Remember, clean and classy men win in the long run.


Sebum, cosmetics, and skincare | PubMed

Skin hydration and hydrating products | PubMed

Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Consumer | NIH

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