Dry skin 101: How to quench thirsty skin
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Skin Experts

Dry skin 101:
How to quench
thirsty skin

Water is the building block of life, and it's a crucial component of healthy looking skin. So if you've got dry, rough skin on your face, it's a sign that your skin needs more moisture.
Dry, dehydrated skin not only looks dull, it also calls attention to fine lines and wrinkles. More importantly, it could also have a weakened moisture barrier, which helps keep moisture in and harmful irritants out.

Here's what you need to know about reviving your dehydrated skin (and finding your way to our best moisturizer for dry skin).

Is there a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin?

“Dehydrated" and “dry" might sound synonymous, but when it comes to skincare, their definitions separate like oil and water — quite literally. Dry skin lacks adequate oil and water. As a result, dry facial skin can feel rough and look dull.

Dehydrated skin, as the name suggests, lacks water, but may have sufficient (or even excess) oil. Our skin's moisture barrier is its first line of defense against environmental aggressors and is key to helping maintain hydration. Without enough water, this protective barrier can become compromised. Additionally, dehydrated skin often looks dull and feels tight and rough.

Any skin type can also experience dehydrated skin at some point due to a lack of moisture. Dehydrated skin can cause fine lines and wrinkles to look more defined and prominent. That's why the goal is to hydrate our skin so it not only looks and feels softer and healthier but is stronger and more resilient.

What causes dehydrated skin?

It's impossible to avoid all environmental stressors that can dehydrate your skin, but it's important to recognize some of the main ones that include:

Pollution: Pollution can dehydrate skin and compromise your skin's moisture barrier (which helps protect skin and maintain hydration), resulting in rough, dull skin.

Blue light: Reduce your screen time; blue light can cause oxidative stress and lead to dehydration.

Air travel: Flying isn't so friendly to your skin, (no) thanks to the dry atmosphere in airplane cabins. When the air is drier than your skin, it draws moisture out, which can make it dull and dry.

Weather: Your skin can get dehydrated with shifts in weather like winds or in the cold, which is why your skin might feel dry, especially during winter.

Key ingredients that help boost skin's hydration

When we're thirsty, we drink a glass of water to rehydrate. It's not so simple when it comes to keeping our skin hydrated — or is it? When you have the right ingredients in your daily skincare regimen, boosting your skin's hydration for a more youthful glow is much easier. Here's what to look for (and Clinique's got it all).

  • Hyaluronic acid: Hydrates and plumps skin
  • Aloe bioferment: This ingredient exclusive to Clinique helps skin retain moisture. We start with responsibly grown organic aloe and concentrate it 500 times (yes, 500). It then gets fermented so those molecules are broken down into smaller, more absorbable elements for your skin.

Discover our best moisturizers for dehydrated skin

Clinique has a robust array of products designed to enhance your dehydrated skin treatment regimen, providing a multitude of benefits, including effectively hydrating your skin to help strengthen its moisture barrier. With our skincare regimen, you can enjoy a complexion that exudes health and nourishment.

Lock in moisture for hours

Every type of skin can benefit from moisturizing, and our Moisture Surge™ 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator can benefit every type of skin. This oil-free, gel-based moisturizer soaks deeply into the skin's surface. It delivers soothing hydration in three seconds, leaving skin refreshed and hydrated for up to 100 hours. It's like giving your skin a tall drink of water.

The Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator also has Auto-Replenishing Technology that combines caffeine and activated aloe water and helps skin create its own internal water source to continually rehydrate itself, then locks in moisture.

It's so effective that 99% of consumers said their skin felt deeply hydrated after just one week of use.1

How to apply: Use twice daily after cleansing, applying it to your face as a lotion or as a five-minute mask. You can also apply it to other dry spots on your body, including elbows and knees, cuticles, and even the dry ends of your hair.

Hydrate and protect

Pollution, weather, and sun exposure can zap the hydration from your skin, leaving it dull and rough. Moisture Surge™ Broad Spectrum SPF 28 Sheer Hydrator puts the hydration back in your skin and also has sun protection.

It's hard to believe a moisturizer for dry skin treatment that's so light and airy also provides sun protection, but that's exactly how the Moisture Surge SPF 28 was designed. It might look like a pink cloud cream but it blends in sheer, without a white cast — and it's non-greasy.

The oil-free formula is also non-acnegenic. It provides instant hydration that lasts all day, for smooth, glowing skin perfectly primed for makeup. Aloe bioferment works together with hyaluronic acid complex to help retain moisture, while provitamin D is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals.

How to apply: After using the Clinique cleanser and Clarifying Lotion of your choice, apply Moisture Surge SPF 28 to your face. The pink formula will guide your application so you're getting it in all the key parts — then just blend until sheer.

Don't forget the eye area

Formulated for all skin types, All About Eyes is a lightweight cream gel treatment that hydrates and brightens the delicate eye area by visibly reducing dark circles and puffiness over time.

How to apply: Use twice daily after cleansing. Just put a dab on your ring finger and pat gently over the entire eye area.
Tired of a dull-looking complexion? Hydrate your skin, helping to strengthen the moisture barrier with Clinique's powerful line of products.
1 Consumer testing on 110 women.

Shop the Story

Moisture Surge™ 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator, Refreshing oil-free face moisturizer with aloe bioferment and hyaluronic acid.


.5oz / 15ml - Travel Size
1oz / 30ml
1.7oz / 50ml
2.5oz / 75ml
4.2oz / 125ml
Moisture Surge™ Broad Spectrum SPF 28 Sheer Hydrator, Cloud-like cream with SPF 28 hydrates and delivers sheer sun protection.
1oz / 30ml
1.7oz / 50ml
2.5oz / 75ml
All About Eyes™ Eye Cream with Vitamin C, Refreshing lightweight eye cream reduces the look of puffiness and dark circles.
0.5oz./15ml - TSA Friendly
1 oz./30 ml