Does your skin feel tight, like it’s one size too small?
Is it dry, flaky, and parched?
Or are you noticing fine horizontal lines running across your face?
Then, you could be suffering from dehydrated skin.
As far as skin conditions are concerned, it is quite a paradox.
As it can be both dry and oily simultaneously.
So join us as we look at the ingredients that will treat this trickiest of conditions.
Understanding Dehydrated Skin
Dehydrated skin is a condition, not a skin type, that is characterised by the following:
- a rough, coarse texture
- flaky, scaly patches
- fine lines
If your skin feels great after cleansing but oily a few hours later, it is likely dehydrated and oily, as this study shows (1).
It lacks water in the epidermis – your visible layer of skin – and, as a result, your skin tries to compensate by producing more oil to keep itself hydrated.
If you feel tightness on your cheeks and it wrinkles quickly when you pull your skin taut, it is dehydrated and dry.
The Dehydrated Skin Test
A test we recommend to determine if your skin is dehydrated is to pinch your cheek; if you find it wrinkles with pressure instead of holding its usual shape, this is a good indication that your skin lacks water.
Common signs of dehydrated skin include inflammation, sensitivity and congestion. Your skin may feel tight, and you may notice more lines in places you forget.
Dehydration can also cause dark circles under your eyes.
Understanding Dry Skin
If you have dry skin, your skin is lacking in OIL and can be categorised into three groups:
- Xerosis is generally the most common dry skin complaint
- Ichthyosis is a moderate dry skin condition
- Ichthyosis Vulgaris is the most severe dry skin condition, characterised by scaling skin, often found on the legs.
Interesting fact: Legs are often dry because the skin on your legs has fewer sudoriferous glands.
What Causes Dehydrated Skin?
The following are both internal and external causes of dehydrated skin:
Your skin contains ingredients; that decrease with age, causing an imbalance in your skin’s natural lipid barrier.
Humectants that keep your skin plump and hydrated, such as hyaluronic acid and urea, deplete with age.
Smoking, drinking, and taking recreational or prescribed drugs cause your skin to become dehydrated.
Environmental toxins, UV rays, cold wind, harsh ingredients, air conditioning, and heating are other factors that can dry out your skin.
More often than not, dehydrated skin is also due to a cosmetic issue from harsh skincare products containing sensitising ingredients.
4 Ingredients to Treat Dehydration
To get that clear skin difference, you must achieve correct hydration within your skin cells; below are some of the classes of ingredients responsible for moisture retention and balance:
Humectants for Hydration
These are important for skin hydration, as this study shows (2).
Humectants attract water from the dermis and the atmosphere, drawing it into your outer layer of skin.
Hyaluronic acid, pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA), glycerin, urea, and lactic acid are all great examples of humectants.
Our humectant-based skin shot H₂O hydrating complex is a great way to give your skin a direct hit of moisture, and if your skin is super dehydrated, layer over H20 with Quench hydrating water cream for a moisture magnet boost.
Occlusives for Protection
These contain lovely rich phytosterols for skin healing, which have natural water barrier effects.
Shea butter, avocado, sunflower oil, cocoa butter, macadamia, jojoba, squalane, and evening primrose are all lovely occlusive ingredients that keep your skin soft and supple.
The skin treatment Ceramide barrier repair balm is an excellent example of an emollient-rich skincare product.
Replenishing Skin Identical Ingredients
Barrier-repairing ingredients like ceramides (3) contain compounds found in your skin which help keep the moisture balance in your skin.
They mimic ingredients found in your stratum corneum (the outer layer of skin), including lipids, ceramides, and cholesterol – which are the essential building blocks of your skin.
Emollients for Moisturisation
These fill in the gaps of impaired barrier function and smooth, dry, rough skin.
They are found in the form of lipids or oils and work by repelling polar water molecules, limiting their passage to the outer environment.
Understanding Water Movement
Before we start, we apologise as we have to go all skin-sciencey for a short while.
When thinking about dehydration, we need to focus on the natural hydrolipidic film, a type of emulsion that covers the surface of your skin.
This complex fluid is formed by specific substances excreted from the sudoriferous and sebaceous glands, epidermal lipids, and the natural moisturising factor.
Interestingly, this film over your skin contains an essential fatty acid substance known as 7-dehydrocholesterol.
UV directly affects 7-dehydrocholesterol, producing Vitamin D, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream and utilised within your body to help develop bone tissue and correct the utilisation of calcium and phosphorous.
The film is created by two phases – the liposoluble phase and the hydrosoluble phase.
The liposoluble phase: This film is the oily phase secreted from sebaceous secretions; it originates in the sebaceous gland and is closely attached to your hair follicles and the epidermic lipids of the bilayers of the stratum corneum (your outer layer of skin), and it is slightly acid.
Hydrosoluble Phase: The hydro-lipidic film progressively reduces as you age, and your body’s internal hydration levels are reflected by the hydrous transfer through your skin.
This aqueous phase is comprised of your natural moisturising factor (NMF). It is essential in maintaining hydration of the epidermal layer and perspiration from the eccrine sweat glands covering the entire surface of your skin.
Drying elements from the environment increase evaporation from the epidermis, and excess transpiration occurs.
The hydrous transfer then reflects the internal hydration levels of the body through your skin; thus, dehydration and a slowing down of the hydrosoluble phase occur, especially when natural hydration is out of balance.
So as you can see, it is all a matter of maintaining the water balance in your skin; all skin tissues have to maintain sufficient water for the correct function, including the ability to adjust within your environment.
Water, how much is enough?
Clients often ask, “why is my skin so dry or dehydrated as I drink plenty of water?”.
Sadly, drinking eight glasses of water daily is excellent for your body but not for your skin.
Sorry to disappoint, but think about it – if it were that easy to get rid of dehydrated skin, then we would all be drinking lots of water, and there would be no incidents of dehydrated skin.
Whilst your skin is the largest organ in the body, it is the last to receive water and nutrients; all the other organs steal it first.
This means the cause and treatment for dehydrated skin are far more complicated than just drinking water.
To conclude. The naked truth
As you can see, having balanced, hydrated skin is based on the following factors:
- relevant ambient humidity
- the retention power of the stratum corneum, your outer layer of skin
- the products used that will lock moisture into your skin’s upper layers
- the period involving how long water moves from the lower skin layers to the upper regions of the stratum corneum
Finally, remember that dehydration is due to a lack of water, not oil, and even oily skin can experience dehydration.
This is because the activity of your sebaceous glands can be normal or overactive in dehydrated skin.
1. The Clinical Relevance of Maintaining the Functional Integrity of the Stratum Corneum in both Healthy and Disease-affected Skin.
2. Ceramides and skin function.
3. The efficiency of humectants as skin moisturisers in the presence of oil.