You’ve probably read tons of articles or heard from plenty of friends and beauty advisors about dry, dehydrated skin and those terms are used very interchangeably or often together, but do you know that skin dryness and dehydration are two different things?
Yes, your skin can be dry and dehydrated but those with oily skin can also suffer from skin dehydration too. Confused? Well, read on to find out what skin dehydration is all about plus the ways and products to help turn around this skin condition.
What is dehydrated skin?
The short answer: Dry skin lacks oil while dehydrated skin is low in water.
What we commonly refer to as dry skin is a skin type (like oily, combination, acne-prone, and sensitive, for example), but dehydrated skin is a condition that can happen to any skin type and it is the result of skin that is losing more water than it is taking in.
We know that a healthy skin barrier helps skin retain a certain percentage of water but when that number drops below a certain amount in the stratum corneum (the outer layer of the skin), that’s when skin becomes dehydrated.
To compensate for this, water may move up to the surface which can create an imbalance of moisture within the skin. Since this is a water issue and not an oil one, people with oily skin types can also be dehydrated. In fact, skin may even become extra oily in dehydrated skin as low moisture levels might trigger the skin to produce excess oil to lubricate the skin’s surface. Dehydrated skin may look dull and feel tight with signs of congestion and redness.
On the other hand, dry skin refers to skin that is lacking in oil. Dry skin produces less sebum (or oil) than normal or oily skin and is a skin type that you can be born with naturally or caused by external or chronological factors: extreme temperature fluctuations, harsh weather, air conditioning, poor nutrition, pollution, UV exposure, and ageing can all cause oil to become depleted in the skin.
This gets worse if you use oil-control products as they can potentially strip the skin of natural sebum and make you drier. Dry skin tends to be uncomfortable, flaky, itchy, and rough to the touch.
How to take care of dehydrated skin
At-home skincare targeted for thirsty, parched skin is helpful but these five tips can maximise the benefits and functions of your hydrating products if you practice them in your routine.
Load up on H2O: This one might seem obvious but with so many beverage options out there, many of us tend to neglect drinking water to keep internal hydration replenished. Eight glasses of water per day is recommended but remember, that’s just an average. That spinning or HIIT class will cause you to burn through much more water, especially on the skin where sweating will worsen skin dehydration. You can also eat water-rich fruits and vegetables and essential fatty acids to increase your body’s water content.
Don’t overlook exfoliation: When it comes to achieving a hydrated, healthy-looking complexion, experts always stress the importance of skin exfoliation because it doesn’t help the absorption of your moisturisers if dead skin is building up on the surface. Exfoliating at least once a week to remove dead skin cells allows your moisturiser to work better.
Add a serum to your routine: Been sticking to your three-step skincare regimen for the longest time? Then, now’s the time to step it up a notch. Applying a serum before any moisturiser helps give skin the extra hydration it needs.
Use a heavier moisturiser at night: Even though we’re shielded from the harsh outdoor climate, the hot, dry air indoors can cause us to naturally lose moisture while we sleep. Using a heavier oil-free and non-comedogenic moisturiser before bed can help counteract this.
Consider a humidifier: Having a humidifier in your office or home keeps the air adequately humid so your skin can hold in all the moisture instead of releasing it to the air.
The top products for dehydrated skin
While skin dehydration can be frustrating, the good news is that it’s totally fixable so don’t let it cause you any additional skin drama. Ahead, our roundup of 39 products that you can incorporate in your daily skincare routine to help quench your thirsty skin and keep it hydrated 24/7.
Not all cleansers and toners are made for hydration so if your skin is especially parched, it could help to use a more hydrating formula at the start of your routine. As mentioned earlier, serums are a great way to give your skin an extra boost of hydration.
Moisturisers are almost always the number one go-to formulas to hydrate the skin because well, that’s their primary function. Facial oils work great if you have persistent dry, flaky, or dehydrated skin and you find that using just moisturiser isn’t doing enough to keep the moisture locked in – use it before your cream or on its own. Supplementing your routine with a face mist helps give your skin all-day hydration.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser
Formulated with a moisturising blend of squalane, apricot kernel and avocado oils, this mild formula is ideal for dry and dehydrated skin as it washes away excess oil, dirt, and debris without disturbing skin’s natural balance.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser retails for S$40 at all Kiehl’s stores and on the Kiehl’s website.
Dr. Roebuck’s Noosa Nourishing Creme Cleanser
Infused with green tea, echinacea, arnica, and jojoba, this gentle cleanser minimises the appearance of pores and neutralises free radicals while leaving your skin soft and hydrated.
Dr. Roebuck’s Noosa Nourishing Creme Cleanser retails for S$30 on sephora.sg.
Kew Organics Absolutely Youthful Hydra Cleanser
A rich blend of age-defying organic Arnica Montana Flower, coconut and lime extracts, this gentle cleanser eliminates impurities thoroughly, while leaving skin hydrated, clean and clear.
Previously known as the Japanese Knotweed Coconut Hydra Cleanser, this new-and-improved formula is infused with antioxidant-rich botanical elements to lend your skin a youthful glow.
Kew Organics Absolutely Youthful Hydra Cleanser retails for S$107 at all Kew Organics outlets and on the website.
Farmacy Clean Bee Ultra-Gentle Facial Cleanser
Suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin, this refreshing, low-lather cleansing gel rids skin of surface oil, impurities, and makeup while helping to maintain your skin’s natural moisture barrier and nourishing skin with a proprietary honey blend and hyaluronic acid.
Farmacy Clean Bee Ultra-Gentle Facial Cleanser retails for S$45 at all Sephora stores and on sephora.sg.
It Cosmetics Confidence In A Cleanser
Makeup-wearers will appreciate this cleanser-and-serum-in-one formula that’s developed to effectively lift away even waterproof eye makeup while improving skin vitality and restoring moisture with a combination of proprietary Anti-Aging Armour Rejuvenating Concentrate and collagen, hyaluronic acid, colloidal oatmeal and a ceramide complex.
It Cosmetics Confidence In A Cleanser retails for S$55 (148ml) at all Sephora stores and on sephora.sg.
Wei Five Sacred Grains Even Brighter Silky Cleansing Milk
This ultra-gentle, foaming milk cleanser leaves skin squeaky clean without stripping off its natural healthy oils, thanks to a nourishing blend of rice, millet, sorghum, Job’s tears, and black soybean (known as the ‘five sacred grains’). It also contains citric acid for gentle exfoliation.
Wei Five Sacred Grains Even Brighter Silky Cleansing Milk retails for (US$38.00) S$50.96 on Wei.
For Beloved One Advanced Hyaluronic Acid GHK-Cu Moisturizing Toner
A refreshing and highly moisturising toner that’s powered by copper peptide, copper gluconate and hyaluronic acid to offer reparative benefits and help protect your skin’s epidermis while replenishing and sealing in moisture.
For Beloved One Advanced Hyaluronic Acid GHK-Cu Moisturizing Toner retails for S$64 at all Sephora stores and on sephora.sg.
Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner
This alcohol-free, antioxidant-rich toner works great at hydrating and re-balancing the skin with a mixture of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ-10), hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, chamomile, cucumber, sage, and papaya enzymes.
Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner retails for S$62 (125ml) on sephora.sg.
Purposeful Skincare By Allies Heroine Mandelic & Licorice Superfood Glow Toner
This ph 3.5 formula may be a brightening toner that reduces blemishes, refines pores and enhances glow by way of gentle exfoliation, but it’s also capable of restoring moisture levels as well as fortify skin barrier and protecting it against free radical damage with licorice root, pomegranate extract, centella asiatica, and kombucha.
Purposeful Skincare By Allies Heroine Mandelic & Licorice Superfood Glow Toner retails for S$59 at all Sephora stores as well as on sephora.sg.
Vichy Mineral 89
Powered by Vichy Mineralizing Water, this ultra-hydrating serum is recently crowned the winner of “Best Hydrating Serum” at this year’s edition of Daily Vanity Beauty Awards for its ability to reinforce skin barrier function while restoring skin health and moisture levels in just one week.
Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Oil-Infused Serum
This lightweight bi-phase serum is a fast-absorbing, non-comedogenic formula soothes, softens and hydrates with a concoction of rosewater, damask rose extract, and skin-friendly botanical oils.
Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Oil-Infused Serum retails for S$96 at all Fresh and Sephora stores as well as on sephora.sg.
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
This oil-free serum delivers multi-depth hydration by combining low-, medium- and high-molecular weight hyaluronic acid (HA), as well as a next-generation HA cross-polymer at a combined concentration of 2%. Vitamin B5 in the formula helps to boost surface hydration.
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 retails for S$9.50 on Beauty Bay.
Dear, Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum
Made in Korea, this hydrating serum is capable of lowering the skin’s surface temperature while delivering moisturisation deep into the layers to maintain optimal moisture and sebum balance.
Dear, Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum retails for S$29.90 at all Guardian stores and Guardian online.
Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
Not only does this ultra-hydrating gel serum offer round-the-clock hydration by attracting and binding moisture to your skin, it also can help protect the skin against free radicals and alleviate any skin dryness that you may have.
Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum retails for S$74 at selected Sephora stores and on sephora.sg.
Holika Holika One Solution Moisturizing Ampoule
Thanks to a complex of sea minerals, this fast-absorbing serum quenches skin effectively while promoting a radiant, healthy glow.
Holika Holika One Solution Moisturizing Ampoule retails for S$33.50 on lookfantastic.
Pai Back to Life Hydrating Serum
Specifically formulated for sensitive and eczema-prone skin, this serum incorporates a blend of hyaluronic acid and three indigenious Australian berries to boost skin’s ability to hold moisture and support its natural moisture barrier while protecting it against moisture loss.
Pai Back to Life Hydrating Serum retails for S$97 on sephora.sg.
Skin Inc Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Hydrolysed hyaluronic acid in the serum ensures deeper absorption by the skin while its patented Japanese seaweed encapsulation technology helps to deliver the potent ingredients effectively for long-lasting hydration.
Tarte Deep Sea Collagen Super Serum
A bi-phase cocktail of marine-based collagen, marine plant extracts and nourishing oils that delivers a concentrated dose of hydration, nourishment and antioxidant benefits for plumper, brighter-looking skin.
Tarte Deep Sea Collagen Super Serum retails for S$32 (13ml) and S$64 (28ml) at all Sephora stores.
Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil
Perfect for combination or oily skin, this formula purifies and refines with an exclusive blend of rosemary, geranium, and lotus extracts while protecting skin against dehydration with hazelnut oil.
Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil retails for S$80 at all Clarins stores.
Biossance 100% Squalane Oil
This lightweight multi-tasker instantly hydrates while locking in essential moisture and helping to reduce signs of redness and irritation. Not only can you use it on the face, it’s also great for areas of the body that need extra hydration as well as the hair if you’d like to add shine and tame flyaways, split ends and frizz.
Biossance 100% Squalane Oil retails for S$59 at all Sephora stores and on sephora.sg.
REN Clean Skincare Rose O12 Moisture Defence Oil
Featuring pure steam-distilled rosa damascena oil that’s blended with ximenia, rosehip seed, camellia, jojoba soya, macadamia, rice germ, and arctic cranberry seed oils, this skin-restoring serum strengthens skin’s protective barrier to lock in moisture and prevent dehydration while offering protection against oxidative damage and premature ageing.
REN Clean Skincare Rose O12 Moisture Defence Oil retails for S$73.50 on lookfantastic.
Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator
We can’t do a list of products for deydrated skin without mentioning this refreshing gel-cream hybrid from Clinique, the OG of thirst-quenching creams. The moisturiser is now enhanced with activated aloe water and hyaluronic acid, which provides an instant H2O boost and helps skin create an internal water source to continuously rehydrate itself throughout the day.
Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator retails for S$75 (50ml) at all Sephora, Isetan, Takashimaya, Robinsons, BHG, and Metro stores. Smaller sizes are also available on sephora.sg for S$47 (30ml).
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
This quick-absorbing formula keeps skin smooth, supple and hydrated with a patented prebiotic technology that’s been dermatologically tested to stimulate skin’s natural hyaluronic acid production for lasting hydration.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel retails for S$22.90 at all major pharmacies and supermarkets as well as online at Watsons and Guardian. At the time of writing, it’s selling at a sale price of S$18.50 on Shopee.
Laneige Water Bank Hydro Cream EX
An upgraded version of the original highly popular cream, this is now formulated to create a moisturising, refreshing moisture film on the skin while preventing the evaporation of moisture.
Laneige Water Bank Hydro Cream EX retails for S$52 at all Laneige and Sephora stores.
Origins Ginzing Oil-Free Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer
Ideal for combination to oily skin, this gel moisturiser delivers 72 hours of oil-free hydration and instantly revitalises with coffee, ginseng and Hydra-Hug Technology so that you can say goodbye to tired, lacklustre skin.
Origins Ginzing Oil-Free Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer retails for S$36 at all Origins and Sephora stores as well as on sephora.sg.
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer
On top of providing skin with a heavy hit of H2O with three molecular sizes of hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and ProHyal+, this cream can contains antioxidant-rich elderberry to help visibly reduce signs of ageing.
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer retails for S$101 at all Sephora stores and on sephora.sg.
Paula’s Choice Probiotic Nutrient Moisturizer
This formula is designed to fortify skin’s natural defences and provide sufficient nutrients with a unique blend of prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics so that the skin can ward off dehydration and thrive again.
Paula’s Choice Probiotic Nutrient Moisturizer retails for S$42 on the Paula’s Choice website.
Belif The True Cream – Aqua Bomb
This oil-free gel cream combines Belif’s key moisturising formula, Napier’s Original Formula, with Napier’s Aqua Formula to neutralise skin-damaging free radicals, improve skin elasticity, and minimise the appearance of pores while flooding the skin with weightless moisture.
Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream
This formula offers skin an intense water drench with two forms of hyaluronic acid and tamarind extract while gently exfoliating and brightening skin discolourations with papaya enzymes and alpha-arbutin.
Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream retails for S$32 (15g) and S$92 (50g) at all Sephora stores.
Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet
Deeply hydrating even hypersensitive skin, this gel-to-water formula uses organic grape water, polyphenols and chamomile to replenish the skin’s water reserves and strengthen the skin to reduce sensitivity.
Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet retails for S$51 at all Sephora stores and on sephora.sg.
Kora Organics Purifying Moisturizer
Rich in antioxidants, this lightweight formula contains lemon, green tea, and pomegranate extracts as well as aloe vera to help reduce shine and clarify skin while leaving it hydrated and protected.
Kora Organics Purifying Moisturizer retails for S$69 (50ml) at all Sephora stores and on sephora.sg.
Glowfully Healing Elixir
Recently awarded the winner of “Best Gel Moisturiser” at the Daily Vanity Beauty Awards 2020, this cooling, fragrance-free gel contains eight different types of amino acids and niacinamide and is specially formulated for the Singapore climate to soothe and hydrate even the most sensitive of skin.
Glowfully Healing Elixir retails for S$54 on glowfullyskin.com.
Allies of Skin Molecular Saviour Probiotics Repair Mist
Comprising an alcohol-free aloe-rosewater base and a restorative blend of probiotics and antioxidants, this skin-repairing mist is formulated to refine pores and provide a heavy dose of healing hydration and antibacterial protection to stressed and thirsty skin.
Allies of Skin Molecular Saviour Probiotics Repair Mist retails for S$90 at all Sephora stores.
Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Cucumber And Green Tea
With the soothing and refreshing aloe-cucumber-green tea trio, this facial spray provides an instant burst of rejuvenating hydration for the skin and hair, and is suitable to be misted over makeup.
Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Cucumber And Green Tea retails for S$13 at all Sephora stores and on sephora.sg.
Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream Mist
Powered by 5-Cera Complex and Natural Moisturizing Factors, this deeply moisturising cream mist instantly provides hydration, maintains your skin’s moisture level, and supports skin barrier to alleviate dullness and dryness resulting from exposure to constant temperature differences.
Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream Mist retails for S$36 (110ml) at all Sephora stores and on sephora.sg.
Bio-essence Bio-Water Energizing Water
Winner of “Best Facial Mist” at Daily Vanity Beauty Awards 2020, this formula works great as a mid-day skin-refresher as it produces fine droplets that keep skin hydrated, soothed and refreshed while locking in moisture.
Bybi Mega Mist
Certified vegan and cruelty-free, this hydrating hyaluronic acid-based face mist nourishes and hydrates your skin for a plump and dewy complexion. It also contains aloe vera, algae, and pomegranate to help soothe skin that’s feeling dry or sensitive, reducing redness and calming irritation.
Bybi Mega Mist retails for S$30 at all Sephora stores and on sephora.sg.
Pixi Hydrating Milky Mist
Packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients provitamin A, hyaluronic acid, and black oat extract, this soothing mist is best used before serum or makeup to provide your skin with an instant surge of hydration and prep it with a first layer of moisture. The formula also has vitamin B complex to fortify the skin.
Pixi Hydrating Milky Mist retails for S$25 at all Sephora stores and on sephora.sg.
Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist
This super-fine mist keeps skin dewy, fresh and hydrated with a moisture-binding, skin-softening cocktail of hyaluronic acid, organic rosewater, coconut water and hibiscus extract.
Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist retails for S$65 (120ml) at all Sephora stores and on sephora.sg.