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All About Dehydrated Skin

Healthy skin is hydrated skin. When skin is properly hydrated, it looks, feels, and performs better. That means it feels soft, supple, and is less prone to breakouts, wrinkles, dark circles, and dry patches. So, how do you know if your skin is hydrated? Well, if you have a dewy, fresh-faced, and clear complexion, it probably is… but if you find your skin lacking in any of these areas, it could be in need of hydration. Addressing this is a crucial first step to getting it back on track.

How to Tell If Your Skin is Dehydrated & What to Do About It

The Difference Between Dry and Dehydrated Skin

You are probably familiar with the typical “skin types”, which are based on the natural, genetic condition of skin. There is oily skin, dry skin, and combination skin. You can usually easily tell which category your skin falls into by the way it generally looks and feels.

Dry skin is defined by fewer oil glands that cause inadequate production of natural oils, making the skin look and feel dry most of the time.

Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is a skin condition that can plague any skin type. 

So, what causes dry skin? While your skin type is determined by the amount of oil your skin produces, its hydration level is determined by how much water it is holding on to at any given time. How hydrated your skin is changes on a day to day and even hourly basis, and is easily affected by factors such as the weather, diet, caffeine and alcohol consumption, environment, skincare regimen and so on.

Although you can’t change your skin type, you can change how hydrated your skin is. It’s important to build healthy habits and routines that keep your skin regularly hydrated, however skin is still likely to become dehydrated now and then. Pay careful attention to the symptoms of dehydrated skin so you can act quickly to combat them and see the return of plump, radiant skin sooner rather than later.

Symptoms of Dehydrated Skin

Chapped Lips

Our lips are one of the first parts of our body to show signs of dryness, and if they’re thirsty, the rest of your skin probably is too. If you’re experiencing dry lips or dry mouth, you need to supply your skin, lips, and body with hydration stat.


Anyone who has experienced dehydrated skin anywhere on their body knows the tight feeling it causes. If your face ever feels pulled taut, it’s likely dehydrated. In winter, especially, this is a common symptom because the cold, low-humidity air pulls moisture out of the skin and tightens pores.


We wish wrinkles were only the result of dehydrated skin, but alas, they are an unavoidable part of life. However, having well-hydrated skin can dramatically decrease their appearance. If you are seeing exaggerated wrinkles, maybe they are deeper than they usually are or popping up in places you don’t normally see them, it’s a good sign your skin is dehydrated. You can also perform a “wrinkle test” to see if you have dehydrated skin. Simply pinch your cheek and notice whether it easily wrinkles (a sign of dehydrated skin) or stays plump.

Dull Complexion

As we said at the beginning, hydrated skin is healthy skin. When skin is properly hydrated it is equipped to perform all the necessary functions of skin, including cell turnover. Cell turnover is what gives skin a healthy, glowing appearance. So if your skin is dehydrated, you’ll notice a duller, more lackluster complexion.

Dark Circles

Yes, dehydration can even cause dark circles under the eyes to be more pronounced. When skin is hydrated it is plump, however when skin is dehydrated it becomes sallow and thin. The skin underneath your eyes is already thin, so when dehydration kicks in, the purple veins beneath the surface are more visible, hence the dark circles.


Dehydrated skin can easily become irritated and sensitive. In dehydrated skin, the skin’s moisture barrier is often disrupted so it can’t properly protect the skin from irritants such as bacteria and pollution. These irritants can then penetrate the skin’s outermost layer, causing it to become red, and sometimes itchy.


Congestion and breakouts are common results of dehydrated skin. Weakening of the skin’s moisture barrier and a lack of cell turnover means dead skin cells remain on the skin’s surface where they can clog pores and cause breakouts. Most people experiencing breakouts halt all moisturizing products, but this isn’t the answer. Repairing the skin’s moisture barrier with moisture is essential if you want to keep breakouts from recurring.

How To Fix Dehydrated Skin

The first step is to be prepared with the best products for dry skin. At the first sign of dehydrated skin, you will want to be able to address it immediately, and you can only do that if you have the right hydrating products on hand. They will quickly quench your skin’s thirst.

Gentle Cleanser

One of the worst things you can do to already dehydrated skin is to use an intense cleanser that will strip away what moisture remains. Instead, minimize how often you cleanse and use a gentle cleanser when you do.

Our restorative Milk & Honey Cleanser is specifically formulated for dry skin. It will nourish dry, dehydrated skin, help protect the skin’s barrier function, and boost moisture retention.


When dead skin cells build up on the skin’s surface they can block moisture and cause breakouts. Exfoliate your skin at least once a week to clear the way for moisture and help prevent breakouts.

Try using our Gentle Refining Mask once a week, which features a unique blend of natural alpha hydroxy acids and hyaluronic acid to exfoliate the skin while soothing, brightening and hydrating it as well.

Hydrating Serum

After cleansing and exfoliating, it’s important to supply skin with hydration it can hold onto. You can do this with a hydrating serum such as our VitaRich Serum.

Our VitaRich Serum contains essential fatty acids that deliver prolonged hydration and a blend of vitamins that provide deep nourishment to the skin.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is already present in the skin, but by adding this ingredient to your skin care routine for dry skin, you can help boost your ability to retain moisture. 

A hyaluronic acid serum such as our Hyaluronic Concentrate should come next in your routine to help your skin hold onto the moisture you supplied with a hydrating serum just before. Plus, it causes skin to appear softer, firmer and more volumized.


Now, it’s time to lock it all in. When you’re already noticing signs of dehydrated skin, or during the winter months, opt for a heavier moisturizer or cream.

Our PeptiDerm Moisturizing Cream, a formula rich in peptides and ceramides, will not only supply moisture but also help restore and repair the skin’s barrier so it can better retain moisture.


A hydrating mask can work wonders for dehydrated skin.

Our ReVitaLize Mask helps replenish moisture and smooth fine lines and wrinkles for firmer, more hydrated skin. On the days where you mask, do so before adding your serum, hyaluronic acid, and moisturizer to obtain the most benefits.

Moisture Mist

Keep your skin moisturized throughout the day with a hydrating facial spray such as our Moisture Mist.

Use Moisture Mist whenever your skin is in need of a hydrating boost. You can also spritz it on your face pre-serum to help increase the absorption of hydrating ingredients.

Lip Treatment

Don’t forget about your lips! Use something a little heavier than your typical lip balm, which really only provides relief for chapped lips, not treatment.

Start by sloughing away the dry skin on your lips with our Conditioning Lip Polish. Then, reach for our Redensifying Lip Complex, which features hyaluronic acid to both hydrate and plump lips over time.

Drink Water

While these hydrating skincare products will help repair skin, nothing is as good at restoring hydration and preventing dehydration as nature’s best—water. Hydrate your skin from the inside out by drinking plenty of water and eating water-rich foods. Keep in mind that any sweat-inducing workouts and beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine will further dehydrate you. Compensate by drinking even more water when these other factors are in the mix. 

try now


Conditioning Lip Polish

a smoothing lip treatment | lips
$22.00 or subscribe and save 5%

Redensifying Lip Complex

a volumizing lip serum | lips
$25.00 or subscribe and save 5%

ReVitaLize Mask

a firming mask | age defy
$38.00 or subscribe and save 5%

Moisture Mist

a moisture infusing spray | hydrate
$18.00 or subscribe and save 5%

Gentle Refining Mask

a mild exfoliator | refine
$38.00 or subscribe and save 5%
hyaluronic concentrate

Hyaluronic Concentrate

a booster serum | hydrate
$74.00 or subscribe and save 5%

VitaRich Serum

a daily serum | normal
$58.00 or subscribe and save 5%
peptiderm moisturizing cream

PeptiDerm Moisturizing Cream

a redensifying moisturizer | age defy
$100.00 or subscribe and save 5%

Milk & Honey Cleanser

a daily cleanser | dry
$32.00 or subscribe and save 5%
Alexis Mayne

Alexis Mayne

Love what's in our bottles? Alexis is a big part of the team that makes it happen. For more than 10 years, she's been instrumental in formulating and producing the Sanitas Skincare you love. Her areas of expertise include the science of skin, finding active ingredients that get results and connecting with the purest and most responsible ingredient suppliers. She also works closely with our Boulder-based manufacturing team to make sure our products are effective, safe and consistent, each and every time.


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