Dry & Dehydrated Skin - How To Get Back Soft Supple Skin

Using a moisturizer may be the most common skincare regime from the earliest times; in fact, one of the first formulas created in the 2nd century is still being replicated today for its natural moisturizing benefits called Galen’s Wax. 

Thankfully science has advanced by eons since the 2nd century and we have been able to not only create more advanced moisturizers but also understand the different skin needs for moisturization and suppleness.

Since dry and dehydrated skin have almost similar symptoms – rough to the touch, feels stretched and scaly and feels generally just very parched.

But here is where the similarities end (for science) – for us regular beings, being confused continues and so does our use of sometimes incorrect products that don’t really help our skin needs. To be able to pick the right products for our skin, we need to understand the following.

To understand why our skin gets dry, we should first know about the skin barrier – this is where all the action takes place that makes our skin less or more dry. Think of our skin surface and subsurface layers as a barrier, that protects it from outside disturbances like pollutants, chemicals, sun and other extremities, etc. from penetrating our skin, while at the same time protecting the insides of the skin by not allowing water, natural oils, nutrients and skin friendly ingredients to escape into the external world.

So, it’s a 2-way barrier made up of skin cells stacked like bricks, and cementing them in perfect symmetry are our skin lipids (oils). What happens when there is some damage to this barrier due to external factors like sun, pollution, weather, etc. or internal factors like genetics, stress or hormonal imbalances. When this happens, precious natural lipids are allowed to leak out and harmful pollutants are allowed to intrude in.

dehydrated skin 2

This leads to the skin dryness that we feel. And if not treated, leads the way to the start of permanent lines and wrinkles caused due to the dry grooves in the skin

Dehydrated skin is a bit more complex than just dry skin as due to lesser water levels, the skin cannot retain nutrients and oxygen, which is why even oily skin can be dehydrated (as water levels has little or nothing to do with oil glands) but more on that later




Since the basic ingredient missing is lipid or oils, the best way to start renewing dry skin is to give it healthy nourishment via products that contain ingredients rich in lipids and oils, like plant and nut butters, botanical oils and emollients that will provide the lipids to repair and strengthen the skin barrier.

Using a sunscreen – UV rays can actually dry out the skin more due to the penetration of UV rays into unprotected skin, so a sunscreen is a must. 

Avoid hot water washes – hot water can harm the skin barrier and actually cause dry skin when earlier there was none. Stick to warm or regular temp water for cleansing instead

Use fragrance free skincare – most skincare products with fragrances, synthetic additives and preservative tend to irritate and dry out skin further, so if you have dry skin opt for fragrance free-products and see the difference 

Exfoliate, but gently – since we now know dry skin has a damaged skin barrier, any exfoliation that is harsh can increase the damage. This includes exfoliating ingredients in skincare like AHAs, Retinols etc. Opt for enzyme gommages that are more gently in their exfoliation and that won’t damage the skin further

Avoid alcohol in all forms – Alcohol by nature has a drying effect on skin, and is a popular ingredient in skincare, but avoid all forms of alcohol additives to help the skin from drying out further.

Add Vitamin E and its derivatives to your skincare – Vitamin E is great to nourish skin with antioxidants, make it a must have in your skincare (look for the other names vitamin E goes by on labels - t ocopheryl acetate, tocopherol acetate, or vitamin E acetate)

Avoid harsh facewashes – facewashes with high cleansing surfactants can strip away natural hydration as well. Opt for skin relevant cleansing ingredients and not just a facewash that foams a lot.


Our skin is made up of 70% water, so imagine if we have don’t give it enough water, how our skin would crave for every tiny bit of hydration

Just like a damaged skin barrier allows dry skin to get worse, does it affect the water content in the skin also?  Our skin stores water deep within the dermis and it slowly evaporates via a healthy skin barrier. But once there is damage to this barrier, the evaporation becomes much more rapid – this is called TEWL (Trans Dermal water Loss). Water loss leads to dehydration and the skin needs great big gulps of water to restore its healthy firmness and radiance.

Since oils and moisture are so interconnected dehydrated skin if not helped in a timely way, leads to skin oils over secreting to compensate for the water loss as we need lubrication and moisture, without which our skin would just dry up and crack open.


Sadly yes, dehydration is misunderstood to be only related to people with drier skin textures. In reality dehydration (like thirst) is the same for all humans, and so of course for all skin types be it dry, oily, sensitive, mature or even acne prone.

Dehydrated skin and oiliness - A lack of water can cause the skin to double the production of oils to compensate as well; leading to skin that has acne or oil prone symptoms as well as dryness and dehydrations as well.

Tips for dehydrated and acneic skin

This skin condition needs a delicate balancing act as both dryness and oil balance need to be addressed

Start by using a mild cleanser – cleansers help with cleansing away bacteria, dead skin and excess oils, but incorrect cleansers can leave your skin feeling stripped of its natural oils as well.  Look for cleansers that have a water base and mild actives like AHA’s.

Include HA (hyaluronic acid) in your skincare – most acneic skin needs deep cleansing actives to clear away excess oils. Support their work with great hydration and they will work more effectively – adding HA will keep skin cells well hydrated and not react to the actives in your acneic skincare.


A general rule for all skin types is to keep your skin hydrated with a regulated intake of water (drink at least 8 glasses) through the day. What we should remember is that skin is the LAST organ the brain decides to allocate water to – other more important organs get their share first like the heart, lungs and others. Once they had their fill, then our skin gets its share. So limited intake means rationed supplies, which sadly means our skin would never receive its fair share to function healthily and so dehydrated skin has become more of a lifestyle disorder that is so common now.


Stay hydrated -Drink sips of water at regular intervals to keep all organs (including the skin) happy and hydrated and not fight for scarce water reserves. 

Opt for water-based skincare – since moisture is the lacking element (rather than oil), if we use an oil or cream-based skincare regime, we would be clogging and blocking parched cells. Rehydrate them using water based and water-soluble skincare, right from your cleanser to the sunscreens you choose.

Reinforce the hydration with Hyaluronic acid – Hyaluronic acid is dehydrated skin’s SOS buddy as it can hold up to 10000 times its own size of water. This means that using HA is like creating reservoirs of hydration within your skin for prolonged hydration.

Use sleeping masks – we lose water in respiration, sweating as well as while the skin restores itself when we sleep. Adding a sleeping leave on mask for hydration will not only replenish moisture but also help the night cycle the skin uses to nourish and repair itself.

What treatments are recommended for dry and dehydrated?

Dry and Dehydrated skin responds amazingly to skin replenishing treatments like oxygen based facials, hydradermabrasions and reparative advanced treatments like radiofrequency , HIFU and Ultrasound that help to boost skin elasticity and improve the skin barrier to remain strong.

At the AgeLess clinic we recommend – WishPro , Oxygeneo, Hydrafacials, Laser exfoliations.
Click here to check out our super-medi facials.

Avoid prolonged steams or aggressive ingredients like bleach, strong peels and dry microdermabrasion as they tend to leave the skin feeling dry. If you do choose these treatments, remember to replenish the lost moisture with a serum right after the treatment


We can’t close this topic without re-emphasizing the importance of Sunscreen to prevent dryness, dehydration and their complications caused due to improper sun protection.

The first and easiest tip to prevent dryness is to remember to always use a sunscreen daily as UV rays (especially UVA) are unseen but cause the most damage to the skin barrier and to levels of moisture within the skin. Use broad spectrum sunscreens that have added anti-oxidants and vitamins. If your skin feels a sunscreen makes it drier – opt for a hydrating water-based sunscreen or one for sensitive skin.

Some of our top picks for dehydrated skin:


Avene Micellar Lotion

Cleanses and removes make-up from the face in one step, Provides gentleness and freshness for eyes and lips in one quick and easy step. It has a double-action formula with enhanced makeup removing power and hydrating. Naturally soothing properties of Avène Thermal Spring Water - gentle emollient action from the cleansing agent (biomimetism of the hydrolipidic film) - increased hydration* by trapping water in the surface layers of the skin

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Sebamed Cleansing Shower Oil

MRP: ₹1037

Sebamed Cleansing Shower Oil with the pH value of 5.5 ensures the effective cleansing and conditioning of sensitive and dehydrated skin. It is a patented formulation containing 50% avocado oil which restores the hydrolipid balance of the skin. This refatting effect on the skin prevents further lipid erosion occurring during showering. 18% Lecithin helps to reduce skin dryness and flaking. Avocado oil helps relieve dry and itchy skin.

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Emolene Cream

Emolene cream is a hydro nourisher that restores the natural moisture balance. It contains propylene glycol and urea. Urea and propylene moisture and heals dry skin, whereas glycol is a good skin conditioner. It is called "humectant" because it is an important component of the body's natural moisturizing factor (nmf). Urea softens the horny layer so it can be easily released from the surface of the skin. Propylene glycol acts by retaining the moisture content of the skin, preventing the escape of moisture or water. Emolene cream can be used on face, hands, elbow, feet, and is suitable for all skin types. 

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Hydronic Moisturizing Lotion
MRP: ₹599

Regaliz Hydronic Moisturizing Lotion provides 48 hours of moisturizing protection and is suitable for dry, very dry, and atopic skin. It helps in preventing dry, rough, scaly, itchy, and minor skin irritations. It softens and moisturizes the skin and enhances the skin's elasticity and firmness. It also improves skin density and inhibits the aging of the skin.

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Shangpree Balancing Gel Cream
MRP: ₹3750

Your skin needs both oil and water to look and feel its best. It is especially difficult for those with acne-prone sensitive skin to find a good skincare product that will work in such a situation. This restorative gel (water) based formula will provide relief to irritated skin, stimulate the natural renewal process and strengthens the skin’s barrier, for healthier and more balanced skin. This gel cream is quickly absorbed by the skin, leaving a restored, smooth and soft hydrated skin.

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Shangpree s-energy ALL DAY MOIST EMULSION
MRP: ₹4950

The signature S-energy™ range is formulated with Korean botanicals and our trademarked S-Energy™ Complex. Drier skin types dehydrate and lose the natural moisture barrier more easily, therefore, your skin might often feel dry and irritated. This non-alcohol based lightweight emulsion is enriched with Allantoin that has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties to relax damaged skin. For a fresh feeling and gentle protection, it is infused with Lavender, Oregano, Spearmint, Sage and Bergamot that create a healing and calming effect. This gel-like formulation will melt effortlessly into the skin without leaving behind a film. What makes it even better is the fact that it is free of the ‘artificials’ i.e. paraben, fragrance, alcohol and colorants.

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Need recommendations on how to customize your skin regime? Speak to our skin experts and learn how to pick the right skincare to keep your skin looking fabulous
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