How to Fix Dehydrated Skin

When your skin doesn’t get enough water, it gets dehydrated (duh?). This is both hydration from the inside and outside, so it is a double whammy.

When your skin dries out it looks dull, and no one wants that. Further, it can lead to premature aging if left untreated, can be itchy, and can make your makeup look “cakey.” However, dehydrated skin is relatively easy to treat once you know.

Dehydrated Skin vs. Dry Skin

Many people assume dry skin as a synonym of dehydrated skin. However, both of these are  distinct from each other. Here is a brief introduction to both to help you identify whether you have dry or dehydrated skin.

Unlike dehydrated skin, which is a skin condition, dry skin is classified as a skin type. Traditionally, there are three main skin types that include dry, oily, and combination.

Dry skin is associated with a lack of natural oil production in the sebaceous glands. These oils are necessary to keep the skin hydrated and elastic. Sometimes underlying health conditions such as hormonal imbalances and hypothyroidism are also linked to dry skin.

Signs of Dry Skin

Some common signs of dry skin type include the following:

  • Scaly skin
  • Redness and white flaky patches around the face and other parts of the body
  • Irritation

While your skin type can’t be changed, for the most part, you can manage the symptoms and improve its appearance. Oil infused products and emollient creams can be used to add hydration to your skin.

As mentioned, dehydrated skin is a skin condition that is a result of your skin losing moisture. If you don’t drink enough water, urinate more often due to consuming caffeine or diuretics or sweat too much due to exercise, it can suck the moisture out of your skin. Along with that, unusually hot and dry weather can also dehydrate the skin.

Signs of Dehydrated Skin

The following signs are indicative of dehydrated skin:

  • Dullness
  • Itchiness
  • Sensitive skin
  • Appearance of wrinkles and fine lines

Testing if your Skin is Dehydrated

There is a simple pinch test that can determine if your skin is dehydrated. Pinch and gently squeeze a small portion of your skin on the cheek. If you see fine lines and wrinkles that are normally not there, your skin is likely dehydrated.

If you still aren’t sure and experience the symptoms for an extended amount of time, a dermatologist or aesthetician can help you figure out if you have dry or dehydrated skin.

How to Fix Dehydrated Skin

Dehydrated skin is definitely manageable with making some changes to keep moisture intact. You need to make sure that you follow through and make your skincare a priority and change your habits to keep your skin supple and hydrated.

Here are some tips:

Increase Your Water Intake

Often a significant increase of water is needed to see a difference in your skin. You might be surprised at how quickly an extra three or four glasses a day make you feel and look better. No need to go overboard, but try to drink at least two liters a day and see if it makes a difference (more details here).

Hydrating Food

Eating water-laden foods like watermelon, cucumber, apples, etc., are a fantastic way to improve skin. They also come with the bonus of vitamins and fiber. Start where you’re at now and add one or two more servings to your day (e.g. one apple, cucumber in your salad…).

And don’t shy away from salt! Salt helps your body absorb water, without it all the hydration just goes down the drain… As long as you’re not overdoing it (current daily recommendation is 2300mg a day), salt is a vital mineral. You can also try adding a tiny pinch of Himalayan sea salt to your water to help absorption.

Limit Alcohol and Caffeine Consumption (booooo!)

Alcohol can dehydrate the skin as it decreases the production of an anti-diuretic hormone. You can see this in effect after a night of heavy drinking when you wake up with a puffy, dry-looking face.

Coffee is life… and I will never not drink it! But try keep intake to two a day, and follow with an extra glass of water that is not included in your daily water intake goal.

Adjust your Shower Temperature

A long, hot shower or bath feels nice. However, excessively hot water can strip your skins natural oils. So when you get out of the shower, your skin will feel dehydrated and itchy. Also apply body moisturizer after a shower.

If the showers have to be hot, at least try to shorten the length. Applying a thin layer of jojoba oil or almond oil before your shower can help prevent moisture loss.

*Tip for your face: don’t cleanse your face in the shower. Avoid the hot water on your face, and do your cleansing at the sink in room temperature water afterwards. If you want to avoid water altogether (sometimes a great idea for sensitive or dry acne-prone skins) try using micellar water only.

Skincare Routine

Make moisturizing a priority, especially right after you get out of a shower. You can use a hyaluronic acid serum for problematic areas around your face and a thick moisturizer, body butter, or lotion for the rest of your body. Make sure that you apply moisturize all over your body, night cream, and under-eye cream right before going to bed.

Take a tip from the wonderful Joan Collins and apply moisturizer throughout the day. Keep some by the bathroom sink and layer it on every time you use the bathroom. See more celebrity beauty tips here.

As for makeup, use primers and foundations that lock in moisture and are designed to create a dewy finish.

Tips for Instant Relief

  • Use a thick moisturizer on your face and body
  • Use a humidifier in your bedroom to make sure the air around you isn’t dry. This is a simple but incredibly effective tip!
  • Don’t shy away from exfoliation. In fact, it is still vital for dehydrated skin. Use a chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid that will “unlock” the glue that holds skin cells together and sloth them away. Then the moisturizer you apply with work more efficiently on the newer cells underneath, that may be starved of moisture otherwise.

In the end, being able to identify signs of dehydrated skin and then taking quick action by adjusting your routine and making some changes is the key to keeping your skin hydrated and fresh.

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