Is Your Skin Oily or Just Dehydrated?

Is Your Skin Oily or Just Dehydrated?

Sounds weird? 

Trust us, it’s not. 

While it may sound a little odd to you right now that your skin is glossier and oilier because it lacks moisture, this is completely backed by science. 

Here’s how it works: Your skin needs moisture. Why? Because it needs to stay flexible and bouncy. This is what keeps you looking youthful. 

Now, in order to stay flexible, it needs moisture. To produce that moisture naturally, our body has sebaceous glands all over our faces. These sebaceous glands produce something called sebum. Sebum is the natural ‘oil’ that our face marinates in when it needs to. It is a filmy substance that helps prevent water loss. 

When this sebum is produced in excess, it makes us feel like our skin is bogged down. It feels greasy and heavy, and overall unpleasant. The pores on our faces also get blocked, the oil attracts and traps dirt in our surroundings as well. 

Blocking of the pores leads to … you guessed it! Acne. 

What is important to understand is that just because sebum may be overproduced and lead to greasy skin does not mean that all sebum is bad. You have to remember, too much of a good thing makes the good thing, well, not so good. So, in its limits, sebum is an essential element of your skin’s outer layer. The problem arises only when there is too much sebum produced. 

And this is where our wonderful problem of dehydration comes in … 

Oily Dehydrated Skin … How and Why? 

How can you even have oily and dehydrated skin at the same time? Wouldn’t that be a complete misnomer?

Well, actually, here’s the thing. 

When your skin doesn’t get enough moisture naturally or its natural sebum is stripped away due to whatever reason, it ends up going into overdrive with the sebaceous glands. And we have seen how too much sebum is a bad thing, right? The dirt clogs up the pores in a really bad way! 

This is how many people end up with what is commonly known as ‘oily’ skin. The skin isn’t really oily, it’s just that their sebaceous glands are overproducing sebum and leaving unwanted grease on their face! 

Now, you may be wondering, if you have what you have always thought to be oily skin or dry skin, is there a fix? And how do you know whether your skin is really naturally oily or dry or if it’s the sebum glands overproducing? 


Luckily, there are a few telltale signs. 

Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin

Both dry skin and dehydrated skin look and feel very similar. It may be very hard for you to tell the difference between the two. Whether you have dry skin or oily, both will look a little dull in the mirror. Your skin will most likely flake and even feel itchy when the weather turns a little drier or cooler. But there are some key differences that will help you understand what’s really going on. 

  • Dry skin entails small pores 

    Most people with dry skin have small, almost invisible pores. This is one of the causes of dry skin, because the pores produce a smaller amount of oil in general due to their size. 

    If the pores on your skin are visible and large enough, you most likely do not have naturally dry skin. The pores are big enough to emit the right amount of oil, but there is another issue at the cause of it. 

    • Your parents have dry skin

    Whether we like it or not, most of our natural features do originate from our parents. If your parents suffer from dry skin, then you most probably have the same genes. If this is the case, it’s fine! It’s perfectly fine. 

    • Dehydration leads to redness and soreness

    If your skin is frequently red and sore, it is very likely that it is dehydrated and not naturally dry. Whatever state your skin is in naturally, it will never be painful. Uncomfortable and maybe not the best looking, sure. But not painful. 

    Being frequently red or sore would signify something is clearly wrong. 

    • The dryness is a recent development 

    If your skin is naturally dry, it is likely that it has always been that way. The fact that it is something new would mean that this is out of ordinary. Think back to what could have happened to compromise your moisture barrier. 

    Oily vs. Dehydrated Skin 

    Now you may be thinking that you certainly don’t have dry skin, but you’re drowning in greasiness. Is it really oily or dehydrated? Let’s discuss. 


    • Dull skin 

      People with oily skin tend to have, also, glowing complexions. A dull complexion is likely to indicate that the overgreasiness is due to dehydration and not the presence of natural oils. 

      • Frequent breakouts 

        While oily skin is more prone to acne, very frequent breakouts past the age of puberty are not known to be common. The reason could certainly be an ulterior one, in particular something like dehydration. 


        • Lack of moisture

        If you live in an arid environment, or grew up in a more humid environment than the one in which you are currently staying, or are aware of the fact that you never moisturise, there is a very high likelihood that the greasiness on your face could be dehydration and not anything else. 

        How To Treat Dehydrated Skin 

        Now that you have hopefully been able to figure out whether you have oily, dry or dehydrated skin, it’s time to identify the right treatment option for you in the case of genuine dehydration. 

        Having already established that dehydrated skin is not an ideal scenario, let’s take a look at some ways in which you can make sure your skin health improves– and soon. 

        Regular Cleansing 

        This advice might seem very done before, but finding the best cleansers for oily skin, dry skin or dehydrated skin according to skin type is very important otherwise you’ll find yourself breaking out whenever you wash your face– which is quite literally the opposite of what you want to do! 

        For dehydrated skin in particular, we recommend the DermDoc 2% Salicylic Acid Face Wash for Acne. Reviews claim it to be gentle and perfect for daily usage. 

        Salicylic acid is an ingredient that does wonders for acne and overall skin health in general. You can read more about it here. But the short version is this: it is a substance that helps your skin calm down after a breakout, and is especially useful for acne-prone, sensitive skin, which dehydrated skin tends to be. One of the key features of dehydrated skin is the redness and irritation it displays, which salicylic acid can easily help with. 


        This is the only long-term solution to your problem when it comes to dehydrated skin. You have to remember that if you don’t hydrate, no matter how much you strip your skin of the oils your glands are overproducing, they will continue to overproduce, and all your work will be wasted. 

        For those with dehydrated skin, we recommend the DermDoc 2% Hyaluronic Acid Face Gel. According to DermDoc reviews, this product is great in terms of absorption and doesn’t make the skin feel greasy at all! This is important, as you are already someone that is suffering from excess greasiness. 

        Hyaluronic acid is a substance that helps you lock in your natural moisture and ensures that your skin has enough hydration to last the day. It is best to apply this twice a day, post cleansing, both in the AM and in the PM for best results. 

        By now, you should have been able to gather a clear picture of what the exact issue with your skin is. And if it’s dehydrated, then go moisturise! Why are you still here? 

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