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Medically Reviewed by Dr. Eva Simmons-O’Brien

Dr. Eva Simmons O’Brien received her MD from Yale University and is a board-certified dermatologist. With over 30 years of experience, she has worked for hospitals, established her own private practice, and consulted for organizations such as the FDA. Today, Dr. Eva runs her own practice in addition to serving as our Chief Science Officer.

Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin: What's The Difference?

Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin: What's The Difference?

Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin: What's The Difference?



Dry, dehydrated, crusty, flakey-your skin is a mess, and you don’t know why. 

Skin that doesn’t feel comfortable can make you feel like clawing your face off, and it seems impossible to figure out what’s causing it.

If your skin is dry or dehydrated, you just want a solution. Just using some lotion isn’t always the fix you need. If your skin is dehydrated, body lotion won’t fix it. If it’s dry, moisturizer might be a quick fix, but it won’t last. 

My man, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about dry skin, dehydrated skin, and how to quench the thirst of your manly membranes. 

What Is Dry Skin?

Dry skin is a skin type. This means you can be born with naturally dry skin or develop it and have it for years. 

If you have small pores (pores you can’t really see unless you look really close up) and rarely suffer from breakouts, you might have dry skin. Symptoms of dry skin include:

  • Peeling, flaking skin
  • Cracking and bleeding
  • Sensitivity to products
  • Redness and irritation
  • Fine lines and wrinkles (especially around your eyes and mouth)

Several factors cause dry skin.

Causes of Dry Skin

You can be born with skin that is naturally drier, or you can develop it over time. Here are four reasons you might be dealing with the Sahara of skin types.

  1. Genetics. Our DNA plays a major role in how our skin acts. If one or both of your parents had dry skin, chances are you will, too.
  2. Climate. Where you live can cause your skin to be drier than normal. If you live in a naturally arid place, like desert climates or anywhere with low humidity, your skin will likely be drier than if you lived in the tropics. 
  3. Age. With age, your skin naturally becomes drier. Aging skin causes your skin to become thinner and causes your sebaceous glands to produce less sebum (your skin’s natural oil). You don’t have to be over 70 to feel the effects. Skin begins to lose collagen and thin out as early as age 30. 
  4. Improper skincare. Not caring for your skin properly (washing, moisturizing, protecting) can lead to dry skin. Likewise, using products that aren’t formulated for your skin type can also make your skin dry. 

While dry skin is a type, dehydrated skin is a condition. 

What Is Dehydrated Skin?

Dehydrated skin isn’t a skin type like oily, normal, or dry. It’s a skin condition that can happen to any skin type. That means even if you’ve got seriously oily skin, it can still become dehydrated. In fact, oiliness is often a sign of dehydration. 

Dehydrated skin might not be easy to recognize. Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Oiliness. When your skin is dehydrated, your sebaceous glands go into overdrive, producing oil to compensate, which can leave your skin feeling like an oil slick. 
  • Dark hollows. Dehydrated skin can appear sunken or saggy. If you’re noticing dark hollows under your eyes or on your cheeks, it might not be from lack of sleep; it could be because your skin is in serious need of hydration. 
  • Deep wrinkles. You’re only 40, but you’ve got deep wrinkles around your mouth and on your forehead. It might not be your age; it could be that you’re dehydrated. When your skin is dehydrated, it’s more likely to fold and wrinkle, making you look older than you actually are. 

Dehydrated skin can be from a lack of drinking water, but chances are, it’s from bad lifestyle habits and seriously ignoring your skin.

What Causes Dehydrated Skin?

Just drinking a few extra glasses of water a day might help rehydrate your skin, but only if you aren’t self-sabotaging it somewhere else. Here’s what could be the real reason behind your dry pruning skin.

  1. Bad habits. Sleeping four hours a night, drinking too much, and smoking a pack a day might be sustainable for you personally and professionally, but it’s wreaking havoc on your skin. 
    Smoking, drinking, and not getting enough sleep can all cause skin damage, and much of that damage is in the form of dehydration. Even if you drink a lot of water, your skin can be dead last in line to get it, and these habits cause free radical damage that can seriously aggravate your skin. 
  2. Dehydration. If you’re really not drinking enough water, your skin will be dehydrated. You’ll notice other signs, like pruning on your fingers, dark urine, and even dry mouth. 
  3. Bad skincare. If you aren’t taking care of your skin or using the wrong products, you can end up with skin that is perpetually dehydrated. 

The good news, dehydration can be fixed. Here’s how to tackle both dry skin and dehydrated skin at the same time. 

How To Deal With Dryness and Dehydration

Put down the gallon jug of water and the bottle of body lotion you found lurking in the back of your bathroom cabinet. We’ve got a better solution. 

In addition to making some lifestyle changes (like eliminating smoking if you do and going a little less HAM during happy hour), using proper skincare will make a huge difference in how your skin feels and looks. 

Not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered. 

Better Skincare

Disco is the men’s skincare line that was created by a dude for dudes. It’s made to work perfectly with the pH balance of your skin, unlike the products you find in stores, which are usually made for women. 

For dry skin, Disco’s Hydrating Face Moisturizer helps keep it smooth and balances out natural moisture levels without making your skin feel greasy or oily. 

While you’re dealing with dehydration, grab Disco’s Repairing Eye Stick, formulated with caffeine, pycnogenol, and niacinamide, to decrease the appearance of dark hollows. 

Let’s Disco

Dry, flaky, dehydrated skin? Disco’s skincare to the rescue. Start taking care of your skin today, and you’ll go from dry to dapper with lightning speed. 



Dry skin - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic 

Skin Care and Aging | Nia.nih.gov 

Skin hydration: a review on its molecular mechanisms | PubMed 


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