How to Care for Dehydrated Skin
Dehydrated skin occurs when the protective uppermost layer of the skin, known as the stratum corneum, is lacking in moisture. Every day our skin loses water - it’s totally normal! When your skin loses more water than it needs, that’s when the signs of dehydration can start to show.
While dry skin and dehydrated skin can share many of the same characteristics, such as tightness, roughness, flaking, scaling, redness and sensitivity, they are quite different skin concerns. Dryness refers to a skin type (lack of oil), and dehydration refers to a skin condition (lack of water) and they need to be treated quite differently.
There are so many things that can cause dehydrated skin. Our faces get stripped of moisture by air conditioning, the weather, lack of sleep, not drinking enough water, caffeine, too-hot showers and skipping your gentle skincare routine. And all skin types can become dehydrated - yes, even oily skin - because it's caused by a lack of water within the skin.
Method of Self Diagnosis
You can recognise dehydration through sight and touch.
Does your skin feel:
Increased incidence or appearance of fine lines and surface wrinkles
Ticked any of the above? You are probably experiencing some dehydration.
What can I do?
Drink lots of water we all know it! Bet we could all drink a bit more though right? Aim for 2 litres a day and spruce it up with additions such as mint and lemon. Or warm things up and go for a mug of hot water, ginger, and lemon for a tasty way to get your fix. Eat more water-rich foods too. Vegetables and fruits such as watermelon, cucumbers, bananas, strawberries, spinach, iceberg lettuce, radishes, and celery. Look to add these foods to your balanced diet.
Each skin cell membrane is made up of omega fatty acids, so keeping these strong and intact is the key to healthy, hydrated skin. Taking omegas orally can be more effective than using them topically. This way, you get the healthiest skin, as they work at a deeper cellular level from when cells are formed.
Increase the humidity! Air conditioning and central heating can often be what causes dehydrated skin on your face and body. They dry out the air around us, sapping water from our skin. As a general FYI, the more moisture in the air, the less water will evaporate from your skin- this is why your skin always looks so much better on a sweaty summer holiday. Try a humidifier during winter months and make the most of humid environments like a steamy bathroom. Smooth on your moisturiser within a few minutes of getting out of (a not too hot!) shower, to help make the most of that surface moisture on the skin before it has a chance to evaporate. Moisturisers can act like magnets within the skin, drawing in moisture from the cream on the surface and holding it there.
Stay hydrated while you travel. Dry air, low humidity levels and air conditioning from airports and aeroplane cabins can really disrupt your skin’s moisture balance. Avoid the signs of dehydrated skin on your holiday by planning how to deal with dehydrated skin from the get-go. Layer up with moisture rich products before you fly.
Pay attention to the seasons. Winter is particularly harsh as cold, low humidity air can cause the skin to dry out and become itchy, cracked and irritated. Cold air also tightens pores, reduces circulation, and reduces sebum production. Low humidity, hot showers, and central heating also contribute to skin dehydration, which is why it's so important to create a winter-specific regimen to soothe weather-worn skin.
How can treatments help?
All our treatments are able to address dehydration as hydration is essential for overall skin health.
For an all-rounder hydrating treatment, we would recommend our Essential facial. It involves sonophoresis which encourages hydrating serums into the deeper layers of the skin for long lasting hydration.
For a more advanced hydrating treatment, our Ultra Synergy uses microneedling to create microchannels in the skin for deep product penetration. This treatment also stimulates circulation, bring water and other nutrients from the blood to your skin.
What products support improvement?
Good skincare starts with clean skin. It ensures that the products you use afterwards can do their job properly. Your skin will benefit from the hydrating and repairing ingredients that can penetrate the skin more easily.
Don’t wash your skin with hot water. Piping-hot water can make skin feel even more dehydrated. When washing your face, use lukewarm water instead. Avoid harsh cleansers. This isn’t a time for rough exfoliating scrubs or cleansers that strip skin of moisture. Gentle products such as a cream or milky cleanser such as the Esse Sensitive Cleanser are best to help your skin look and feel hydrated and moisturised.
Supercharge your serums. Our superstar ingredient here is hyaluronic acid. Found throughout the body, it attracts and holds water – a staggering six litres for every gram of hyaluronic acid. The best serums use both low- and high-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid, as this ensures that your skin is hydrated both on the surface and just below. Our Pfeffer Sal Essential Serum is a fantastic all rounder. Oilier skin types can choose lighter, oil-free hyaluronic acid serums such as Synergie Hydrogel, but whichever sort you use, do apply a cream over it to ‘seal in’ the benefits. An antioxidant serum shouldn’t go amiss in a hydration routine either. Antioxidants protect against cell damage which can lead to trans epidermal water loss- the process of water escaping through the upper layer of skin.
Exfoliate at least once a week. As dead skin builds up, it can diminish the absorption of moisturisers and serums. Skip the use of exfoliating brushes or tools. While these devices are popular for removing dead skin cells, they can also exacerbate rough, red, and dry skin. Reach for enzymes or gentle acids instead such as Elequra Intense Restore Mask.
Use a moisturiser or oil at night. Even though we're shielded from the harsh outdoor climate, heated dry air causes us to naturally lose moisture while we sleep so add an extra nourishing step to your routine. For dryer skin types, reach for Baume 27. If you're on the oilier side, Esse Light Moisturiser will hydrate and reduce oiliness at the same time.
As with our gut, a healthy skin microbiome (good bacteria) is important; creams and serums with pre- and probiotics can be the answer to chronically irritated, red or dehydrated skin as they are fantastic at reinforcing your protective barrier. In fact, some bacteria are actually integral in the formation of your naturally occurring hyaluronic acid - for a potent probiotic boost, look no further than Esse Probiotic Serum.
And finally, always use sunscreen. Without the diligent application of sunscreen, the damaging effects of UV rays will counteract the healing action of the peptides, antioxidants and other ingredients used in your skincare. Le Prunier Plumscreen SPF31 is a wonderfully hydrating everyday SPF.