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We all know what it feels like to be dehydrated, but you do you know your skin can be dehydrated as well? Many people confuse dehydrated skin with dry skin and think they’re the same thing, but they’re actually completely different and treating them is very different. Here’s everything you need to know about dry vs dehydrated skin, plus the best dehydrated skin tips to rehydrate and plump your skin with hydration.
Parched skin can certainly be a little annoying to deal with, it’s actually pretty easy to treat. With the right skincare routine and lifestyle, you’ll be able to rehydrate your skin and get your skin balanced in no time.
If your skin looks more dull than usual, feels rough and bumpy, tight and dry, then there’s a chance you may need to make some skincare changes to rehydrate your skin and repair your moisture barrier. So keep on reading to learn the best dehydrated skin tips.
What Is Dehydrated Skin?
The meaning of dehydrated skin means that your skin lacks water. We’ll get into the differences between dry vs dehydrated skin later. But for now, dehydrated skin simply doesn’t have enough water to function properly. This means that your skin won’t be able to shed dead skin cells, which can lead to acne, clogged pores, blackheads and congested skin.
Dehydrated skin can also be extremely oily because your skin will produce natural oils to try and compensate. The excess oil production can also lead to acne and other skin problems. So it’s important to figure out if you have oily skin or oily dehydrated skin so you know how to properly care for your skin type.
Dry Vs. Dehydrated Skin: What’s The Difference?
Many people wonder what’s the difference between dry and dehydrated skin? First, let’s distinguish between dry and dehydrated. Dry skin is a skin type and means your skin is lacking oil. Whereas dehydrated skin, is a skin condition, and means your skin is lacking water.
The key here is that, since they are caused by two different things (lack of oil or lack of water), you need to treat them very differently! Adding oil to your dehydrated skin is not going to do much for you!
If your skin is truly dehydrated it is fixable with some skincare and lifestyle changes.
How Can You Tell If Your Skin Is Dehydrated?
Wondering how can you tell if your skin is dehydrated? Any skin type can have dehydrated skin. You can be dry and dehydrated, or oily and dehydrated. Since it is a skin condition, it doesn’t matter what skin type you have.
Dehydrated skin has many different symptoms that are usually easy to pick out if you have them:
- Oil production, but feels dry or has dry patches or flakes
- Skin appears dull or lifeless
- Feels stripped or tight after washing
- Irritation/burning when applying products
- Rough in texture – bumpy skin, closed comedones, clogged skin, dead skin cell buildup
- Fine lines
Skin texture is a big giveaway for dehydrated skin. Dehydrated skin texture is super rough and bumpy. When you glide your hand over your skin, you will feel the skin texture is rough and the skin feels dry and flaky.
You might not have all of these symptoms at the same time. It could be that you just have one or two. Do you have any of these symptoms? If so, it’s likely you have dehydrated skin.
The Dehydrated Skin Test
If you’re still not sure if your skin is dehydrated or not, try out the very simple dehydrated skin test.
Simply pinch the skin on your cheek and take note of any wrinkling of the pinched skin. Then let go. If your skin does not immediately bounce back and you noticed wrinkling skin, it’s likely your skin is dehydrated.
The dehydrated skin test is very simple and easy to do. If you are experiencing any symptoms as above, try out this test to confirm.
What Causes Dehydrated Skin?
There are many things that can cause dehydrated skin, but luckily there are fixes to all of them. Dehydrated skin happens when the water evaporates out of you skin cells, leaving your skin dehydrated and lifeless.
This is the hard part. There are so many different causes of dehydrated skin. One factor could be causing your dehydrated skin, or it could be a combination of a few different factors. In short, dehydrated skin can be caused by the same things that dehydrate our bodies like alcohol, not drinking enough water, caffeine, sun exposure, etc. Certain skincare products can also cause dehydrated skin. We’ll get into all of these causes of dehydrated skin in more detail below.
Water Consumption: Does drinking water help dehydrated skin? You betcha! Your skin is your body’s biggest organ so it needs water just like the rest of your body. This is the biggest one (and most important!) one. Chances are you aren’t drinking as much water as you should. You know the recommended 8 cups of water a day? How many of you actually drink 64oz of water? If you do, that’s great! I challenge you to drink AT THE VERY LEAST 64oz a day. It will help plump your skin and also make your skin glow again!
Bad Habits: Drinking and smoking. These can both dehydrated your body, which, in turn, dehydrates your skin. I’m not saying go cold turkey, but at least cut back, or make up for it by drinking extra water that day.
Water temperature: Yes, those scalding hot showers are not good for your skin. This is something I will never give up, but you should at least be aware that they do dehydrate your skin. So, you should perhaps lessen the time you spend in the shower or be sure to apply hydrating products afterwards.
Heating and Air Conditioning: These can both cause water loss from your skin. This one is hard to fix because you can’t control the environment everywhere you go, but it’s good to be aware when you are in those places and can use the right products to hydrate again.
Climate: Dry climates are the worst for dehydrated skin. If the air is dry, your skin will be too.
The products in your skincare routine are likely to be causing dehydrated skin, especially if you use products targeted toward acne or oily skin. Here are some ingredients to stay away from if you’re wanting to rehydrate your skin:
- Essential Oils
- Chemical Exfoliants (AHA, BHA, Retinol, etc)
There are many different ways on how to treat dehydrated skin, and we will get into specifics later on, but it can certainly be helpful to make lifestyle changes if any of these above factors are causing your skin to be dehydrated. Some of them, like the climate, you can’t control, but others you can. Lifestyle factors can make a huge difference in the health of your skin.
Dehydrated Skin Tips
Finally, the reason you’re all here: the best dehydrated skin tips. Luckily, fixing dehydrated skin is pretty easy! If you’re wondering how do I rehydrate my dehydrated skin, then you’re in the right place. Treatment isn’t too complicated and it certainly helps to pinpoint what’s causing your skin to be dehydrated, that way you know what you need to do to fix it.
Can you rehydrate your skin quickly? Unfortunately, no. With the right hydrating products, you might think your skin is rehydrated properly, but that’s not always the case. Many products instantly hydrate and plump the skin, but it takes a while to repair your moisture barrier. Check out these dehydrated skin tips to get your skin back to normal.
Use A Non-Foaming Cleanser
The number one culprit of dehydrated and tight feeling skin is the cleanser. Many cleansers on the market contain sulfates or other drying ingredients like fragrance or alcohols.
Switching to a sulfate-free, hydrating cleanser will make the biggest change in your skin. Look for something that says sulfate free and hydrating on the bottle (keep reading for production recommendations!).
Avoid Harsh Products
First, get rid of all products that are stripping your skin. As I mentioned above, if any of your products contain sodium lauryl sulfate or denatured alcohol (rubbing alcohol!), get rid of them. This can include toners, cleansers, serums, exfoliants, etc. Read the labels on your products and if it has alcohol in it, toss it immediately!
Add Hydration Back Into Your Skin
Second, add in a hydrating serum. Something with Hyaluronic Acid (HA). HA is found naturally in the skin and can hold onto water, therefore, keeping water in your skin and not letting it evaporate out! Ideally, you want to apply this right after washing your face (with a gentle cleanser!) while your skin is still damp to maximize effectiveness.
Up Your Moisturizing Game
So, now that you’ve added some hydration back into your skin, you want to keep it there, right? That’s why you need a good moisturizer to seal all that good hydration in! This will vary depending on your skin type and will probably take a lot of trial and error to find one that your skin likes. Unfortunately, that’s just how skincare works. It’s not a one size fits all. That would be awesome, wouldn’t it?
For best results, look for a moisturizer with humectants like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, honey or aloe. These help to draw moisture into the skin. Also look for ingredients like fatty acids or ceramides which can help to lock moisture in and strengthen the skin barrier to further prevent dehydration.
Fix Your Climate
Now, you’re really limited to what you can do here, but a humidifier should be able to help you. Even if you live in a humid climate (like me), chances are the air inside your house or office is not that humid. This is another dehydrated skin tip that’s super easy.
Personally, I run my humidifier only at night when I sleep and it makes a huge difference! My skin looks hydrated and plump in the mornings and I’ve noticed such a huge difference since adding one! They even make personal ones you can sit at your desk at work, if you’d like.
Skin is our largest organ, so what we put into our body can directly affect the health of our skin. This includes water! Drinking plenty of water can help with hydrated skin immensely and is one of the easiest tips for dehydration skin.
Minimize Alcohol & Caffeine
Yeah, yeah, no one wants to hear those words, but caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate your body which dehydrates your skin! You don’t have to cut them completely, but cutting back can make a huge difference, at least while you heal your skin and get it back to normal.
Even if you use the most hydrating products on the market, they can only do so much if you have a layer of dead skin sitting on top! When your skin is dehydrated, it usually cannot shed dead skin cells as effectively so they end up sitting on top of your skin. This can lead to rough and dull skin, but it can also keep your products from absorbing.
A gently exfoliant can help to remove those dead skin cells so your skin is smoother and your products can absorb better. Look for an AHA like glycolic, lactic or mandelic acid. These have humectant properties, so on top of exfoliation, your getting hydration as well.
Avoid Hot Water
Listen, I love a steaming hot shower as much as the next person, but it’s terrible for your skin. Hot water can strip your skin of hydration and moisture in a snap. I’ll be honest, I still take really hot showers, even though I know its bad for my skin and hair. But I wash my face afterwards at the sink instead of the shower. That way I can still enjoy a hot shower but I use cool water when washing my face at the sink so my skin doesn’t get dried out.
Dehydrated Skin Routine
How do you get rid of dehydrated skin? For best results, you need to create a skincare routine for dehydrated skin to get your skin back on track and rehydrate your skin as quickly as possible. In order to rehydrate your skin, you’ll want your routine to be as basic as possible for a little while. Along with the above dehydrated skin tips, here is what I recommend as far as skincare routines for dehydrated skin:
step 1: Cleanser
A good skincare routine starts with a good cleanser! Clean skin ensures that your skin is free of any dirt, oil bacteria and makeup and will also help your skincare products work better. This means that any hydrating and repairing ingredients you put on your skin later will work even better.
STEP 2: HYDRATING SERUM
A hydrating serum will help to lock in water and rehydrated your skin to keep your skin plump, repair your moisture barrier and keep your skin healthy.
Pro tip: apply your hydrating serum on damp skin so that your serum locks in that hydration from the water and your skin will be plump and hydrated instantly!
STEP 3: MOISTURIZER
A moisturizer will help to lock in hydration so it doesn’t evaporate, leaving your skin dehydrated. A good moisturizer will also help to repair your moisture barrier and keep skin healthy.
You can certainly use more products like essences, toners, etc. but this is just the basic routine I recommend starting with. The main thing is to make sure your products have lots of hydrating ingredients and stay away from fragrance, essential oils, sulfates and alcohols that can make dehydrated skin worse.
I also recommend a sunscreen in the mornings, especially if you will be outside a lot. Sun exposure can lead to dehydrated skin!
If you use any type of chemical or physical exfoliant, it’s ideal you would stop using this for at least 6 weeks while your skin heals. I would personally recommend stopping all exfoliants while your are trying to get your skin rehydrated. It’s tough, but doable!
How Long Does Dehydrated Skin Take To Heal?
It can take a while for parched skin to fully heal, especially if your moisture barrier has been damaged. It can take at least 6 weeks for skin to fully heal. Oftentimes, it’s more like 6 months or more! That’s why it’s important to treat dehydrated skin. If you leave dehydrated skin untreated for a while, it will damage your moisture barrier and that’s what takes so long to heal.
But with the right dehydrated skin tips and products for dehydrated skin, you can heal your moisture barrier and get your skin back to its glowing and plump self.
Best Ingredients For Dehydrated Skin
Here are some ingredients to look out for to help fix and repair dehydrated skin. It’s important to make sure you’re using products that are well-formulated and have ingredients that are going to add hydration back into the skin, while repairing the skin’s moisture barrier.
- hyaluronic acid
- fatty acids
- sodium PCA
- polyglutamic acid
Best Dehydrated Skin Products
Wondering what products are good for dehydrated skin? Here are my product recommendation to rehydrate your skin quickly and get your skin back to its healthy and glowing state. When you’re wondering how to fix dehydrated skin fast, using the right products is key in rehydrating your skin.
Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster
With hyaluronic acid and skin-repairing ceramides, panthenol and glycerin, this hydrating serum packs a punch. This versatile serum can be used on its own or mixed in with your favorite serum or moisturizer to add extra hydration to your skin.
naturium quadruple hyaluronic acid serum 5%
This serum contains very low, low and high molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, meaning it hydrates your skin on multiple levels, to plump and replenish even the the thirstiest of skin. Plus with glycerin and glycolipids, this serum adds extra hydration and replenishing power without being heavy or sticky.
Then i met you the giving essence
With hyaluronic acid and polyglutamic acid, this is one of the most hydrating serums on the market. Polyglutamic acid can hold up to 4x more water than hyaluronic acid, making it a great choice to rehydrate skin fast. Plus with fermented and other brightening ingredients, it’s sure to give your skin a gorgeous glow and repair it at the same time.
ISNTREE Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus
Five different types of hyaluronic acid, plus MultiEx BSASM Plus, a patented ingredient to help prevent water loss, this is one of the strongest hydrating serums on the market. It’s perfect for rehydrating and repairing dry, dehydrated and parched skin.
KRAVEBEAUTY great barrier repair
A super creamy hydrating serum that helps to repair a damaged skin barrier, brighten skintone, reduce redness and irritation, this is truly a do-it-all serum. With hyaluronic acid, ceramides and niacinamide, it helps to rehydrate skin and strengthen the moisture barrier to prevent further water loss.
Naturium marine hyaluronic water cream
This cream is loaded with polysaccharides, hyaluronic acid and phytonutrients to rehydrate the skin instantly and helps to prevent further water loss, keeping skin plump and hydrated. With sea water and anti-oxidants, it’s the perfect hydrating cream for parched skin.
soon jung hydro barrier cream
This cream is packed with 92.2% hydrating ingredients to help repair the moisture barrier and keep skin hydrated long after application. Panthenol to moisturizer, madecassoside to soothe and green tea extract to calm inflammation, it’s a powerhouse moisturizer sure to repair your skin in no time.
cerave moisturizing cream
A cult-favorite that doesn’t skimp on skin-reparing ingredients. With hyaluronic acid, ceramides and fatty acids, it’s the ultimate skin-replenishing moisturizer to keep hydration locked into your skin all day long.
Dehydrated Skin Tips: Wrap-Up
With these dehydrated skin tips, you’ll be able to rehydrate your skin quickly and get your skin back on track in no time. Remember, it can take some time, so don’t expect to be able to repair your moisture barrier overnight. Rebalancing your skin is key to skin health and keeping your skin looking its best. After all, hydration is the best kept secret to getting glowing skin!
When you’re wanting to improve skin hydration, the key is to make sure you’re not using any stripping or harsh products, and make sure you’re using lots of hydrating ingredients to add moisture back into your skin. Once you start making changes to your skincare routine, the difference between hydrated skin vs dehydrated skin is night and day. Once your skin is hydrated and rebalanced, your skin will look and feel smoother and you’ll likely experience less acne and oil production.