Understanding dry vs dehydrated skin

Men surfacing asphalt

A common misunderstanding that exists is the confusion between dry vs dehydrated skin. Although they sound similar and appear almost the same at times, these two conditions have differing causes, symptoms, and treatments. In this article, we will differentiate between dry skin and dehydrated skin to dispel misconceptions and explore treatment options, including essential oils.

Key differences between dry vs dehydrated skin

Scaly, flaky, peeling skin

Dry skin and dehydrated skin are indeed different, although they share several similarities, such as a dull or tight look and feel. Their root causes and characteristics set them apart.

Dry skin

It is a skin type that presents with a lack of natural oils, or sebum, which leads to a deficiency of lipids we need to retain moisture and build a protective shield against external influences. Dry skin typically appears scaly and flaky. Skin becomes dry as a result of internal factors (like aging and health issues) and external factors (like dry climates and skin care products).

Dehydrated skin

Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is a temporary condition due to a lack of moisture in the skin that is from a damage to the skin barrier. If you have dehydrated skin, you will notice that the skin will return back to normal more slowly after pinching. Skin dehydration also leads to the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and under-eye circles, and makes the skin sag or look dull.

Symptoms and Indicators

While both dry skin and dehydrated skin manifest as itchy, dry skin, there are some specific indicators you can look for:

Dry skin symptoms

Peeling dry skin on the leg of a woman
  • Roughness of texture
  • Irritation, redness, or itching
  • Feels tight and lacks elasticity
  • Visible lines or cracks

Dehydrated skin symptoms

Close up of a woman's right eye; sunken eyes with tired appearance, defined fine lines around eyes
  • Dullness
  • Enhanced appearance of wrinkles or fine lines
  • Sunken or “tired” eyes, dark circles
  • Skin that slowly goes back to normal after pinching

Treatment Options

Man holding a bottle of moisturizer on his right hand, he's standing in front of a mirror

Due to their different causes, these conditions require distinct approaches. Let’s take a look at the treatment options for dry vs. dehydrated skin.

Dry skin treatment

Treating dry skin primarily involves sealing in the moisture in the skin. This includes using a fragrance-free cleanser, investing in a rich moisturizer or an oil-based cream to hydrate the skin, and using products that contain ingredients like shea butter and jojoba oil.

Dehydrated skin treatment

Tackling dehydrated skin means increasing its water content. You can achieve this by regularly drinking adequate amounts of water, using products with hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, and limiting exposure to drying factors like air conditioning and central heating.

Essential oils for dry and dehydrated skin

Essential oils from plants possess properties that can be beneficial for all skin types.  For dry skin, essential oils that reduce inflammation and lock in moisture are beneficial, while dehydrated skin benefits from oils that promote hydration.

1. Tea tree oil

While popular for its acne-fighting abilities, tea tree oil can also help soothe itching and calm inflammation of dry skin.

2. Frankincense oil

Frankincense oil is has the ability to soothe chapped and dry skin, enhance the skin’s elasticity, calm irritated skin, promote the production of new cells, and reduce the signs of skin aging. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties can be particularly beneficial for dry skin.

3. Lavender oil

Known for its calming properties, lavender oil can help ease the itching and inflammation of dry skin, making it an excellent choice for individuals with this skin type.

4. Myrrh oil

Myrrh oil is a potent aid for dry or dehydrated skin, improving the skin’s elasticity and firmness. It also helps to soothe, heal, and prevent skin aging, making it a great option for incorporating into a dry skin-specific routine.

See related: Essential Oils in Natural Skin care

What we have for you

Remember that diluting essential oils in carrier oils is very important before applying them to the skin. Furthermore, everyone’s skin is unique, and reactions to different oils may vary, so it may take a bit of experimentation to find the most suitable oils and oil combinations for you. The great news is that we at CANhaveTODAY incorporate different combinations of these essential oils with other natural ingredients in our products. Our salves and our moisturizer offer quality care for both dry and dehydrated skin.

Sparkling Rain New Product Photo

Sparkling Rain is an all-natural moisturizer boasting shea butter and the antioxidants chaga mushroom extract and grapefruit essential oil. All our salves, meanwhile contain tea tree oil and lavender essential oil.

Waters Mist New Product Photo

Waters Mist is a salve that has the highest amounts of tea tree oil, and it also harnesses the powers of lemongrass and cinnamon bark essential oils.

Soothing Juggernaut New Product Photo

Soothing Juggernaut is a frankincense-containing salve and is a great anti-inflammatory to soothe irritation. This salve also gets its abilities from the arnica and cypress essential oils, amplifying its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Healing Legends New Product Photo

Healing Legends, meanwhile, contains both the powers of frankincense and myrrh essential oils, making a very potent salve for dry skin. It also contains bergamot essential oil, which can be helpful for skin healing and regeneration.

Through the careful formulation of these salves, CANhaveTODAY showcases the abilities of essential oils in skin care. Their soothing, moisturizing, and healing properties work together to enhance the health and comfort of both dry and dehydrated skin. By incorporating these essential oils into daily skin care routines, you can experience the natural benefits they offer! A quick note: These products contain Sodium borate. The government of Canada does not recommend the use of products containing Sodium borate on open wounds, cuts, or abrasions. Try them out and see the effects for yourself!


What is the difference between dry vs. dehydrated skin?

Dry skin is a skin type while dehydrated skin is a temporary condition. Dry skin is due to a lack in skin oil production, causing in dry, flaky, scaly, and peeling skin. Dehydrated skin, meanwhile, is due to reduced amount of water in the skin, causing reduced skin elasticity.

What is the skin pinch test?

The skin pinch test (skin turgor test) is used to determine if the skin’s elasticity is normal. It is a way to know if your skin is dehydrated. If you are normally hydrated, the skin will bounce back immediately after the pinch. On the other hand, if it goes back to normal more slowly than normal, then your skin is probably dehydrated.

Is dry skin and dehydrated skin the same?

Dry skin and dehydrated skin are different conditions. Dry skin is caused by a lack of skin oils, while dehydrated skin is caused by a lack in skin hydration.

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