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5 Signs You Have Dehydrated Skin! (+ How To Fix It!)

Written by Shelby Torrese

Reviewed by Liz Brown

Are you and/or your skin dehydrated? Learn how to spot when your skin is dehydrated, how to fix it, and the difference between dry and dehydrated skin.

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“Your face must be thirsty!” were the words that forever changed my relationship with, and my understanding of, my skin. That simple sentence was the moment I found out it’s possible to have dehydrated skin. I knew our bodies could be dehydrated, but it never even crossed my mind that our skin was negatively impacted by not properly hydrating as well! I was getting a facial, and immediately after the aesthetician applied a moisturizer, it seemingly disappeared! She said that is a good indication of dehydrated skin. Now, I use this as my little trick whenever someone asks me how to know if they have dry vs dehydrated skin.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve Google’d how to fix dehydrated skin. I visit my grandma in the desert every year, which I love, but let me tell you, that is when my skin is at its worst! It’s itchy, flakey, and totally lacks the glow, and movement that my normal, hydrated skin does. Everyone in the desert must be used to it, though, because whenever I ask anyone how to hydrate skin, they just say I’ll get used to it. *Eye roll* So, for everyone who’s grandma lives in the desert, or also struggles with how to fix dehydrated skin, this one’s for you!

Dehydrated skin

Dry vs Dehydrated Skin: Know The Difference

The debate between having
dry vs dehydrated skin can be a tricky one, because having dehydrated skin doesn’t necessarily mean you have dry skin. One is a skin type, and one is a skin condition. I’ve outlined the difference between the two, and how to try and decipher the two, but if you’re still having skin troubles, it may be a good idea to get a facial! Skin is literally aestheticians’ way of communication. It’s what they know, it’s what they do, it’s literally their language. Plus, it’s a really great way to treat-yo-self. 🎉

Dry skin

Just like some people are naturally blonde, with straight hair, some people naturally have dry skin. Dry skin is a skin type, not a condition or phase your skin is going through. This is why it’s important to know whether you have dry skin or not. That way, you know how to care for, and treat it! I remember when I first learned I have oily skin. Up until that point, I was using all the wrong skincare! Some great skincare lines will even indicate on their products whether it is specifically for oily, dry, or combination skin!

Dehydrated skin

Going along with the hair analogy, just like some people unintentionally get lice (yes, my skin crawled reading that, too!) or dandruff, sometimes people experience dehydrated skin! It’s not permanent, and there are certainly ways to fix it. The trick is twofold: knowing that your skin is dehydrated, and knowing how to hydrate skin


5 Signs You Have Dehydrated Skin

1. The Moisturizer Test

This is my go-to Is my skin dehydrated? test. In the morning, put your daily moisturizer on (not an SPF) and if after about 60 seconds, your skin appears to have slurped up all of your moisturizer, it’s likely your skin may be dehydrated. HOWEVER, this does not mean you should add more moisturizer. That will just end up clogging your pores. Instead, get to the root of your issue. Are you drinking enough water? Is your collagen supply low? The answers to those questions will help you determine if, and why, your skin is dehydrated.

2. Your Skin Feels Rough

“Ah, smooth as a baby’s bottom.” The words every woman longs to hear after someone touches her face. Well, hopefully not too many people are touching your face, but if they were, this is what you would want to hear! If your skin starts to feel like your knuckles do after a deep house cleaning sesh, that is a sure sign your skin is thirstay! Skin may not be silky smooth, but it shouldn’t be rough. If your skin feels flaky, that is not a good sign, and you should consider some hydration remedies. 

3. Your Glow Is Gone

Think of a neon OPEN sign. When it’s plugged in, and the store is open, it’s literally glowing. When it’s not being fed electricity, and the store is closed, it’s dull. The same thing goes for dehydrated skin. You’re still the same gorgeous you, you’re just not glowing. When you start to notice your skin is a duller color than usual, that’s a pretty good indication of dehydrated skin. Dull skin may have a green, or even purple tint to it, and veins may be more noticeable than usual.

4. How big is your smile?

Okay, not literally. But for anyone who has been caught in an icy snowstorm, you know what I mean. If smiling is difficult because of how tight your face feels, you are likely in need of a stop at the hydration station. Remember, tight is different than firm. Tight skin is stiff, and feels like your whole face is chapped. Firm skin just means youthful, not wrinkly or crepey.

5. Dark Circles/Shadows

If you start to notice dark, under-eye circles, that is also a good indication of dehydration. Because our eyes are close to the underlying bones, lack of fluid will cause them to “sink”, thus creating dark circles. If you’ve been sleeping fine, and getting normal hours in, dark circles may be a cry for hydration. 

Drink water

How To Fix Dehydrated Skin

Tip 1: Drink Water

If you haven’t drank water all day (or a few days!), that’s a pretty good sign your skin is, or will soon be, dehydrated. I asked a board-certified aesthetician about the importance of drinking water to avoid dehydrated skin, and she just about blew my mind with her insight. She taught me that our skin (which is our largest organ, by the way) is the very last organ to receive the hydrating benefits of the water we drink! So, even if we think we’re drinking enough, it simply may not be enough to benefit our skin. Be sure to drink AT LEAST half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you are 150 pounds, you should be drinking at least 75 oz. of water per day.

Tip 2: Skip The Scrub

You’re not wrong if you think scrubbing away dry, dead skin will help your poor, dehydrated face replenish its glow. The thing is, you want to use a light exfoliant, not a harsh scrub. A heavy-duty scrub will only further irritate your already fragile skin. You can even opt for a homemade scrub. Mix 1 tbsp softened coconut or jojoba oil with 1 tbsp sugar, and a few drops of any hydrating essential oil like sandalwood, rose, or lavender.

Tip 3: Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol & Excessive Sodium

Just like we want to hydrate the body and our skin with water, we want to make sure we’re not intaking too many dehydrating drinks or foods. Caffeine, alcohol, and sodium-indulgent foods suppress our body’s natural antidiuretic hormone, causing water to be flushed much more rapidly than usual, therefore, putting our bodies at risk of further dehydration.

Tip 4: Use a collagen peptide supplement

Collagen is an amazing skincare supplement, and has personally changed the way my skin looks and feels. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and is literally what keeps our skin lubricated and flexible. It’s like a wet, meshy casing over our joints and bones. When we’re low in collagen, we tend to have drier skin, stiff joints, and are more prone to wrinkles. Marine collagen in particular has been shown to help moisturize skin. [1] With so many collagen supplements on the market these days, the hunt to find the right one can start to feel like a crazy house! When looking for a collagen that will help moisturize dehydrated skin, it’s important for you to get a collagen supplement that contains Type I (but having at least 5 types of collagen is important for overall well-being!). The only collagen I trust my skin with is Super Youth Multi-Collagen Peptides. It not only contains necessary marine collagen, but is also so versatile and EFFECTIVE! I toss it in my morning coffee, my post-workout smoothies, and even my grandma’s secret marinara sauce recipe (but don’t tell her!). 😂

Tip 5: Don’t Skip The Oil!

While moisturizing lotions are marketed as hydrating, they’re really not penetrating any deeper than the surface layer of skin. When you’re in need of a deeply hydrating routine, it’s really oils that you should turn to. Oils are able to get deeper into pores than moisturizers, and allow your skin to be hydrated from the root layer.

The Bottom Line

Knowing your body, your skin included, is always the first step in learning how to care for yourself. The next time your skin is acting up, whether it be dry or dehydrated, I hope this blog helps you better understand ways on
how to fix dehydrated skin, and combat unwanted side effects. Plus, when racking your brain for how to hydrate skin, come back to the ways we can avoid it altogether! If you find yourself experiencing recurring dehydrated skin, remember the tip about water! Your skin is the last to reap the benefits of drinking water, aka getting hydrated, so drink up and watch your skin transform!

About The Author

Shelby Torrese

Nutrition, Movement & Meditation Coach

Shelby Torrese is a wellness enthusiast (and matcha fanatic!) from Miami, FL. She attributes her love of movement to her mom, a personal trainer, and her love of food to her dad, a farmer. She studied creative writing in college while getting her yoga certification, and went on to pursue fitness and nutrition in grad school. Her go-to advice is, “Balance,” and she is a firm believer that the ocean can cure just about everything.

  • Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher
  • NASM Certified Nutrition Coach
  • M.S. in Human Performance


Reviewed By

Liz Brown

Fitness & Nutrition Expert (CPT., FNS.)

Liz is a health & wellness expert, writer, and editor with over a decade of experience in the fitness & nutrition industry. She emphasizes research and simplifies complex topics to help make healthy living simple and sustainable. When she isn't researching and writing, she's sharing delicious recipes, easy DIYs, and home decor tips on her blog and social media.

More from Liz, visit: Personal Blog, TikTok, Instagram


  • NASM Certified Personal Trainer(since 2012)
  • NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist (since 2014)
  • Credentialed Coach Practitioner, Coach Training Academy
  • B.A. Liberal Studies (Health & Nutrition Sciences)
  • A.A. Liberal Arts (STEM)

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