How do you know if you have dehydrated oily skin?

If you often feel like an oil slick by mid-day, it can be tempting to step up on oil control and ditching the moisturiser on our sweat-laden face.

But before you take further action that may land you in a skin care pitfall, take a minute to read this.

Dehydrated oily skin – it is a skin condition (not a skin type!) that many are prone to having but fail to recognise. This is because the external symptoms are pretty similar to an oily skin type.

Those with dehydrated oily skin are actually dry on the inside, which triggers the skin to produce more sebum to compensate for the lack of moisture.

Differences between dry, dehydrated and oily skin

Here’s a 3-second breakdown to summarise the differences between dry, dehydrated and oily skin.

Dry SkinDehydrated SkinOily Skin
Lacks natural oilLacks waterToo much natural oil

Some people with dry skin may also experience dehydration – skin that lacks both oil and moisture.

How do you identify if you have dehydrated oily skin?

  • Does your skin feel oily after an hour or two post-cleansing?
  • Do you feel dry and tight on the inside?
  • Can you spot fine lines though your skin feels oily?
  • Is your skin flaking especially around the chin, nose and mouth?
  • Does your skin look dull and lacklustre?

Another way to confirm the likelihood of having dehydrated skin is by looking at your recent skin care habits.

  • Are you using harsh cleansers that strip your skin dry?
  • Are you cleansing your face more than twice a day?
  • Are your skin care products mostly labelled “oil-control”?
  • Are you loading your skin with many active ingredients but it just isn’t getting better?

If your answers are mostly YES, it is time to review your skin care routine. Below we show you how to focus your efforts on hydrating and repairing your dehydrated skin.

First, a rule of thumb – always go gentle.

1. Go gentle with cleansing

Cleanser 1

Cleansing is essential to remove dirt and grime from the skin but doing it wrong disrupts our skin health and cause inflammation.

Those with dehydrated oily skin may often mistake themselves for having naturally oily skin and end up cleansing more than usual to remove ‘excess’ oil.

Coupled with harsh cleansers that further strips the skin of its natural oil, your skin may end up feeling like a desert plain – tight and incredibly parched.

Instead of grabbing every product that claims to be ‘oil-free’, focus your attention on those that promise hydration.

Cleansing cream and Cleanser 1

Go gentle with cleansing by starting with a mild and nourishing makeup remover like Cleansing Cream A1. Follow with facial cleansing using Cleanser 1, formulated to be hydrating to the skin.

You want to go for a fresh cleansing experience that leaves your skin feeling soft and supple.

2. Focus on Hydration

Focus on Hydration

After cleansing, use a hydrating toner or essence when your skin still feels moist. This helps your skin to absorb the products better.

Toner T2

Toner T2 is an alcohol-free balancing lotion that contain sodium hyaluronate, aloe vera, cucumber extracts and more to plump your skin with moisture, while soothing and calming irritated skin.

Tip: Toner is often used in larger amount over bare face as the first step after cleansing. Avoid using toners with high content of simple alcohol (ethanol, denatured alcohol) as they tend to dry out the skin.

3. Moisturise Well

Emulsion and Moisturizer 6

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with dehydrated skin is to skip moisturising.

No matter how grimy you may be feeling in the summer heat, doing this step can help to save your skin (and confidence!).

A good moisturiser helps to lock the hydration in your skin, preserving your skin’s water bank and restoring your skin barrier. A healthy skin barrier retains moisture in your skin better, while keeping irritants and pollutants out to prevent inflammation.


If you are worried about burdening your skin in the day, opt for a moisturiser with a lighter consistency like the Emulsion A6. Reserve soothing creams such as Moisturizer 6 for the night to help with your skin’s recovery processes.

Moisturizer 6

As with all good skin care routines, remember to always end off with sun protection before you head out for the day to protect your delicate skin against further sun damage!