Is My Skin Dehydrated Skin Or Oily Skin?

dehydrated skin often shows fine lines

When we think of dehydrated skin, we often think of dry, parched skin that desperately needs a powerful moisturizer. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. When your skin is dehydrated, it amps up oil production in an attempt to hydrate itself. This leads to your skin being dry, but it has all of the characteristics of oily skin. You’ll even notice a midday shine. It can be hard to figure out is my skin dehydrated or oily skin when you’re in that situation, but we’ll help you out. This article will cover everything you need to know, including the best products for dehydrated skin.

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How Do You Know If You Have Oily Skin Or Dehydrated Skin?

oily skin

First, you have to make sure that you have dehydrated skin. Both of these conditions can make your face a lot of extra shine, so it can be hard to tell the difference. To determine whether you have oily skin or dehydrated skin, you need to look for signs of dehydrated skin. If you don’t have dehydrated skin, your skin is just oily. 

Signs Of Dehydrated Skin

Most of the time, you’ll instantly start looking for signs of dry skin to see if your skin is dehydrated. You’ll think of dry and flaky skin that gets irritated easily. This is possible, but it’s also possible to have dehydrated skin and not dry, flaky skin. How your skin reacts when dehydrated depends on your body and how severe the dehydration is. We’re all different.

Recent Illness Can Cause Dehydrated Skin

If you’ve had a recent illness resulting in losing bodily fluids and then suddenly having oily skin, it’s likely due to dehydration. When your body loses fluids, it loses them from everywhere. This is particularly common in people with conditions like Celiac Disease, food intolerances, IBS, and other conditions that cause diarrhea and vomiting. Take a moment to think about when you developed “oily skin.” 

Dehydrated Skin Has Less Elasticity 

In the medical community, this is called skin turgor. Skin turgor is the skin’s ability to return to its normal state. The skin bounces back into place when moved, just like elastic does. (That’s why it’s called elasticity.) 

To test how dehydrated your skin is, pinch the back of your hand, pulling the skin up. Severely dehydrated skin won’t return to its standard shape very quickly. The longer it takes for your skin to return to normal, the more dehydrated you are. 

It’s important to note that your skin returning to normal doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not dehydrated. If you’re mildly dehydrated, you can still have some symptoms of dehydrated skin, but you’re not yet dehydrated enough to see this. 

Dehydration is on a spectrum. It’s not as simple as being dehydrated or not being dehydrated. Instead, you can be fully hydrated, severely dehydrated, mildly dehydrated, etc. Some people are more sensitive to dehydration than others, too. While one mildly dehydrated person won’t experience symptoms, another might suddenly develop oily skin. 

You’re Suddenly Aging

Dehydrated skin can show wrinkles and fine lines more than hydrated skin. Hydration tends to help plump the skin, making the appearance of these fine lines less noticeable. Dehydration tends to make things on the face sink in more, from your eyes to your wrinkles. If you’ve suddenly developed fine lines and your wrinkles are more profound, it could be due to dehydrated skin. 

Dark Circles Under The Eyes

Having darker circles under your eyes is common if you haven’t been getting enough sleep. However, this can also be a symptom of dehydration. You’ll notice those Prada bags under your eyes suddenly bigger and darker than normal. 

Itchy Skin

Sometimes, your skin will overproduce oil in some parts but remain dry in others. This can occur in patches. The dry parts will be itchy. The oily parts can be itchy, too. 

Increased Sensitivity

This was hard to determine because I’ve always had sensitive skin to an extent. However, it’s a lot more sensitive than it used to be. Skin products that had never irritated me suddenly reddened my face. I had to start leaving my clay mask on for five minutes instead of ten. If your skin suddenly feels irritated by things that never bothered you before, it’s a sign that something else is happening

Your Face Feels Tight

Smile big. Dehydrated skin won’t be as flexible, so it will feel like you’re stretching your skin when you smile. If your skin is severely dehydrated, it can hurt to smile. 

How To Fix Dehydrated Skin

foods for dehydrated skin

To fix dehydrated skin, hydrate yourself from the inside out. Making sure that you get plenty of water is ideal. If you’ve been sick recently, your skin should return to normal as time goes on. Stay properly hydrated. 

In some cases, you’ll also need to keep yourself hydrated from the outside with products that are best for dehydrated skin. You can do many things to keep your skin hydrated throughout the day to help it return to its normal state sooner rather than later. 

Hydrating Dehydrated Skin From The Inside Out

Hydrating your skin involves a lot more than using the correct moisturizer. Granted, the right products are going to help. However, you need to help your skin be healthy from the inside out to make a lasting difference. Try: 

  • Eating more foods that are packed with water, like fruits and vegetables
  • Drinking at least 64 ounces of plain water a day
  • Have some Pedialyte for faster rehydration
  • Enjoy some milk (it’s surprisingly hydrating)
  • Sip on water, smoothies, soups, or other hydrating beverages throughout the day instead of chugging beverages

Water is always recommended for staying hydrated, but I get tired of water sometimes. So, what do I drink to stay hydrated other than water? These are some delicious, hydrating things you can drink: 

  • Sports drinks
  • Smoothies
  • Milk (I can’t drink milk, but if you love it, have a glass or two)
  • Coconut water
  • Aloe juice
  • Soup
  • Broths, like chicken broth
  • Tea
  • Herbal tea
  • Fruit infused water

These are the best ways to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out. Try fruits known for their high water content, like watermelon and strawberries. Ensure you get plenty of water daily to help your skin bounce back. 

Hydrating Skin From The Outside

facial mist

Sometimes, you need something more than just drinking water and eating fruit. You know that you’re hydrated, but your skin displays dehydration symptoms. This is especially true in areas with harsh winters known for drying out the skin. These tips can help you keep your skin hydrated externally. 

Pick Up A Humidifier

A humidifier puts more moisture into the air. These are often recommended to help soothe skin conditions like eczema that cause dry, irritated skin. Putting more moisture into the air in your home can be especially helpful to combat dry winter air. 

Best Humidifiers For Dry Skin

AquaOasis Humidifier ($24)

LEVOIT Oasis Mist Smart Humidifier For Warm And Cool Air ($76)

RayDrop Cool Mist Humidifier ($20)


Lotion is designed to help lock in moisture. The skin does not always absorb thicker lotions; instead, they create a barrier on top of the skin. This helps keep moisture locked inside. Using facial lotions as a final step in your skincare routine can be very beneficial. However, it’s important to note that if you’re working on hydrating the skin using external methods throughout the day, that barrier can prevent some moisture from getting to your skin. 

Best Moisturizers For Dry Skin

Burt’s Bees Daily Lotion For Sensitive Skin For The Face ($11)

First Aid Beauty Intense Hydration Moisturizer ($38)

Pink Cloud Soft Moisture Cream by Herbivore Botanicals ($44)

How To Hydrate Your Skin Without Lotion

If you don’t want to use a thick lotion throughout the day (I only use one at night), that’s understandable. Sometimes they can leave your skin feeling greasy, which isn’t ideal. Instead, pick up some aloe vera. This is known for being soothing when you have a sunburn, but it’s also a great product for giving your skin a quick boost of hydration. Hydrating serums and other facial products are another great idea.

Best Hydrating Facial Products

Cloud Jelly Pink Plumping Hydration Serum ($48)

USDA Organic Treatment Oil by Juice Beauty ($42)

Dr. Brandt Hydrating Essence ($35)

Use A Facial Mist Throughout The Day

Facial mists are great for a quick boost of hydration throughout the day. I skipped the makeup routine so that the ingredients in my facial mist could be easily absorbed throughout the day. Then, I kept a bottle of Pixie Glow Mist on my desk. It helped soothe the burning and irritation in my dry patches and didn’t worsen my oily patches. Check the ingredients list in your facial mist to get maximum hydration. Aloe vera is a great ingredient to look for. 

Rosewater is another great idea. Rosewater is known for its ability to hydrate skin. I don’t think it works as well as a facial mist with aloe vera, but we’re all different. If your facial mist isn’t working, pick up some rose water. 

Use Hydrating Products

Illamasqua Hydra Veil is an excellent product for dry skin. It’s designed as a primer but can also be used as a moisturizer. As a primer, it’s not the best on the market. It is impressive as a moisturizer for dehydrated skin. 

I get a dry line along my jawline during winter, making it look like I’m a beginner at applying foundation. The skin gets redder and is a different color than my face. That line gets dry and irritated. Illamasqya Hydra Veil works wonders to soothe my skin and help with dryness. It’s worked wonders while my skin returns to normal, too. 

I love this product because you can keep using it after your skin isn’t dehydrated. It works well if you have combination skin too. This product doesn’t make my oily patches worse. The gel-like consistency means that a little goes a very long way. Even if you use this daily, it will take a while to get through the entire jar. (Bonus: Illamasqua is also cruelty-free.)

Final Thoughts

Temple Spa US

Dehydrated skin can be more than just another skin condition. It can result in quicker aging, painful irritation, and more. First, determine if you have dehydrated skin. Going to a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis is best, but these tips can help you decide what to do before your first appointment. If you have dehydrated skin, combine as many of these tips as possible to get your skin hydrated as quickly as possible. Check out this article for more skincare tips!

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The author does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any message and will not be held responsible for the content of any message. Always consult your personal physician for specific medical advice. Information on this blog is for informational/entertainment use only. Please be advised that I do participate in affiliate programs, and may earn a commission if you purchase products by clicking on links on this website.