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I am Debbie McGregor, owner and founder of Total Body Concept. I started the skincare clinic and day spa back in 1993. Welcome to my blog about fostering a holistic, more positive outlook on life. I have just started on my new life's mission to become a motivational speaker, and this blog will follow this journey. Enjoy!

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Everything you need to know about dry and dehydrated skin.

Back to blog home 22nd May 2020
Everything you need to know about dry and dehydrated skin.

Do you know there’s a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin? In basic terms, dryness refers to a skin type, and dehydration refers to a skin condition. Dry skin occurs when there are fewer oil-producing glands on the face and body, whereas dehydrated skin is characterised by a lack of water in the body, not oil. The answer in both cases is to restore and hydrate!

Signs You’re Dehydrated

Not drinking enough water can affect our bodies in some unusual ways, none of which are particularly pleasant. Sometimes it can be hard to know what constitutes ‘enough’ water, but a general rule of thumb is that you should be consuming around two to three litres of water a day.

Everybody is different though, so it’s important to recognise the signs of when your body has not had enough water and is potentially dehydrated. You may know some of the more obvious signs to look out for; urine colour, dry throat, tiredness - but there are some more ways in which your body can be trying to tell you that it has not had enough hydration…

Do a skin test

To test if you’re dehydrated, simply pinch the skin on the back of your hand and see how quickly it bounces back to normal. Any more than two seconds to return to normal, and you know it’s time to get some more fluids in. Also, have a look in the mirror. Does your skin look dull? Do you notice more exaggerated wrinkles? Dark circles under your eyes? These are indicators you are dehydrated. Other signs of dehydrated skin conclude redness, congestion and inflammation. Dry skin on the other hand is uncomfortable, flaky and itchy. Get to know the difference.

You don’t sweat when exercising

When the body is dehydrated, it tries its hardest to hold onto any form of hydration. This means that any excess hydration that is usually exuded through sweating or crying will be retained. This also means that you could be at risk of overheating, as the body uses sweating as a way to expel heat. If you notice you’re not sweating during a workout, get some H20 in your system ASAP.

You get muscle cramps

Cramping in the muscles can be a sign of dehydration, as the body is under stress when it has lower levels of hydration. As a result of the extra stress, the muscles have to work harder than usual to keep the body functioning which can be one reason for experiencing muscle cramps.

You’re craving sweet foods

Glycogen production is an essential job of the liver, which helps to extract glucose from food sources. Glucose is a major source of fuel for the body, and water helps to facilitate this process, without which, production slows down. As a result, sugar cravings can be triggered as the body desperately needs glucose in its system to function normally.

You’re bloated

As previously mentioned, the body tries it's hardest to retain fluid when it’s dehydrated, and one way of doing this is by retaining the water present in cells. The stomach, face, and even fingers can swell and appear bloated as a result.

You’re constantly hungry

When mild dehydration occurs, we often experience hunger pains. This is caused by a confusion in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that is responsible for regulating thirst and appetite. The confusion means that we may think that we need to eat more, despite having eaten more than usual. If you find yourself eating more than usual and not feeling full, drink more water instead.

Signs you have dry skin

Dry skin is a common skin condition that is usually caused by a lack of oils in your skin. One of the most common side effects of dry skin is flaking, and most people who suffer from dry skin will also encounter itchy and flaking skin. It’s important to know what causes dry skin, and how you can treat the condition in order to avoid flaking skin.


Extreme temperatures can really take our skin on a wild roller coaster ride, and our face often ends up the worst affected. If you have a sudden urge to scratch parts of your skin that weren’t itchy previously, you just may be suffering from some severe dehydration.


It sounds obvious (and it is!) but it’s amazing how often we ignore our skins cry for help when it gets dry. An absence of moisture in the skin can cause a whole host of issues down the track, so get in before that happens and make sure your skin is soaking up a whole lot of moisturiser goodness each and every day.


If you’ve suddenly noticed your skin becoming a whole lot more sensitive and prone to breakouts, a lack of moisture may also be the answer. Be careful to avoid any products that use harsh fragrances or chemicals also, as these will only serve to dry you out further. Read the fine print, and choose your products carefully, or ask your therapist at your next appointment what would work best for your skin type.


Dull or tired looking skin is a sure sign of dehydration, and more than likely a reminder that you need to sit down, put your feet up and take a moment to relax more often. Gentle exfoliants can help to bring some glow back to tired skin, although make sure to follow it up with plenty of deeply nourishing moisture.

Causes of Dry Skin

Dry skin is essentially caused by the stripping away of lipids or fatty oils which help to seal moisture in the skin. The reduced oil presence can result from several aspects such as cleansing or exfoliating the skin excessively, not drinking enough water, exposure to the sun for extended periods of time. Cold winters can also dry out the skin, thanks to a lack of humidity in the air, and the presence of heat pumps in most homes and offices. Several of these aspects can be avoided, but some, like the drying winter air cannot, so knowing the best treatment for dry skin is essential. It’s important to note, however, that dry skin can be caused by a number of skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, so if you suspect your dry skin is caused by something other than these factors, it’s best to speak with your doctor.


Treatment of Dry, Flaky Skin

  1. Ensure you’re drinking plenty of water everyday. Skin is the body’s largest organ, and it needs to be kept hydrated just like the rest of the body. A lack of water presence in skin will dry it out faster than you can imagine.

  2. Speak to one of our professional skin care specialists at TBC about your skincare routine. It may be that your skincare products have not been matched to your skin type, stripping oils from the surface and causing your face to become itchy or tight after application. A correct skincare routine should be hydrating your skin, not worsening the problem. Ask about our baseline prescription, that will rehydrate and repair your lipid barrier.

  3. Keep your showers short, and avoid using hot water on the skin. Long, hot showers will only serve to exacerbate dry skin, so keep the temperature as low as possible.

Treatment of Dehydrated Skin 

1. Lifestyle Balance 

Depending on what you’re putting in your body, you’re likely to see the effects on the outside. So if the cold weather has got you chugging down too many hot chocolates or lattes, and not enough water, you’re likely to start seeing some effects of dehydration. Some medications as well as late nights, stress and fatigue can all add up to a loss of balance, so make sure you keep the fluids well at hand, and rest your body when it needs it.

2. Start From the Inside Out 

A balanced diet will also go a long way to making sure your skin stays at optimal glow, because as soon as your body’s internal homeostasis is interrupted, things start to not look so good for your skin. Foods high in fatty acids, (salmon, Avocado, olive oil and fish) will all help nourish your body from the inside out and trust us, cutting back on the sugar is an easy way to see quick results.

3. Use products with hyaluronic acid

Don’t be put off by the mouthful of a name, hyaluronic acid is a skin’s best friend when used well. Naturally found in our bodies, it is capable of holding 1000X its weight in water in each skin cell to ensure skin stays fresh, hydrated and youthful, but as we age the levels of hyaluronic acid start to fall. Never fear! There’s plenty of actions you can take to ensure your levels of this important acid are kept boosted, and here’s why you’d want to.

Products to the Rescue! 

Ultraceuticals Replenishing Mask and Thalgo Nutri Soothing Cream are both ideal products to treat dehydrated skin. Ultraceuticals Replenishing Mask helps to replenish vital hydration levels and support the skin’s lipid barrier function with shea butter and Vitamin E, while Thalgo Nutri Soothing Cream soothes and repairs all dry and sensitive skin for guaranteed comfort for up to 24 hours.

Best source of hyaluronic acid: Ultra B2 Hydrating Serum

Ultraceuticals offers plenty of products with hyaluronic acid present but B2 Hydrating serum is the serum with the most. Packed full of B vitamins panthenol and niacinamide it has everything you need to balance and restore your lipid barrier. Use it morning and night if you are feeling particularly dehydrated this winter.

This moisture enhancing oil-free serum utilises the power of Provitamin B5 (Panthenol) combined with Hyaluronic Acid, capable of holding up to 1000 times its own weight in water, to synergistically help restore vital moisture balance and provide hydration to all skin types. Enriched with anti-ageing Vitamin B3 (niacinamide), this moisturising must-have works to visibly plump and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to give the skin a supple, dewy and more youthful appearance. An ideal complement to your daily moisturiser to dramatically help increase the hydration levels of tired, stressed or very dehydrated skin.

The best moisturising mask to hydrate your skin: If your skin has been feeling dry or dehydrated, one of the best things you can do is to use Ultraceuticals Ultra Replenishing Mask. The super rich, non-greasy mark is a must-have rescue remedy for distressed skin, as it contains a powerful blend of biomimetic barrier repair agents - perfect for getting your skin back to its normal condition! The mask contains powerful conditioning ingredients like shea butter, panthenol and vitamin e, to help replenish hydration levels and soothe your skin. Apply 2-3 times a week for super-hydrated skin that glows!