Just like we need water to hydrate the inside of our bodies, the skin needs to stay hydrated, too. Our skin loses water every day. So, what happens when it loses too much water? Say hello to dehydrated skin!
Dehydrated skin may sound scary, but typically it is easy to treat and manage. There are multiple causes of dehydrated skin, as well as multiple ways to treat it.
However, keep in mind that dehydrated skin and dry skin are two separate things. Let’s begin by taking a look at the differences:
Dry Skin vs. Dehydrated Skin
While dry skin and dehydrated skin may sound synonymous, as they do share some of the same signs and symptoms, they are quite different.
Dryness refers to a skin type. When you have a dry skin type, your skin produces less sebum, or natural oils, than normal. When your skin lacks sebum, your skin cannot retain moisture and has a difficult time building a strong skin barrier needed to protect against free radicals.
Dehydrated skin refers to a skin condition or temporary state. While dry skin means your skin is lacking oil, dehydrated skin means your skin is lacking water. When your skin is dehydrated, the skin typically produces more oil (sebum) to keep itself hydrated and tries to keep that moisture locked in.
Therefore, your skin can look and feel oily, but somehow dry at the same time. The good news is, this condition tends to come and go, and once it is managed, it doesn’t persist, unlike dry skin.
Causes of Dehydrated Skin
Dehydration of the skin is caused when your skin’s water content is depleted. This occurs due to the skin’s barrier being damaged resulting in moisture loss or through poor habits.
Some external factors may be out of your control, like weather and seasonal changes. However, the majority of the time dehydrated skin is a symptom of lifestyle choices, such as:
- Over Exfoliating or Using The Wrong Skincare Products
- Unhealthy Diet & Lack of Produce
- Lifestyle Choices (Drinking Alcohol, Caffeine, and Smoking)
- Prolonged Heat & Sun Exposure
- Hot Showers
- Lack of Internal and/or Topical Hydration (Drinking Water & Natural Skincare)
Getting a sunburn can also cause your skin to become extremely dehydrated. So, it is important to remember to take necessary precautions before and after exposure to the sun.
Signs Your Skin is Dehydrated
Dehydrated skin doesn’t discriminate and can happen to any skin type, including oily skin. While it may be difficult to decipher between dry and dehydrated skin, there are 4 main signs that your skin is dehydrated:
1. Sunken & Shadowy Appearance
Ideally, our skin should be bright and clear. While that may be difficult to achieve in general, it is especially hard to achieve when your skin is dehydrated. This is because dehydration affects your skin’s overall ability to function properly, like cell regeneration and flushing out toxins.
When your skin is thirsty for moisture, that natural glow decreases because dead skin cells are just sitting on top of our skin. Instead, your skin will look dull, or a little more “grey” than you’re used to. You might also notice a shadowy appearance around the nose and eyes, along with dark under-eye circles.
2. Wrinkles & Fine Lines
Dehydrated skin can cause premature signs of aging because your skin then lacks elasticity. Wrinkles and fine lines then become more prominent and you may notice them in places you don’t remember seeing them before, typically on your face and the back of your hands,
(Not to worry though, these are not necessarily permanent and can be diminished.)
3. Itchiness & Increased Sensitivity
When your scalp becomes dry and you start developing dandruff, your scalp might feel a little itchy, right? The same can happen with any area of skin when it is dehydrated, especially around your eyebrows.
Dehydrated skin can feel rough and flaky or even feel exposed and raw (ouch!). This increased sensitivity is due to the fact that your skin cannot protect itself properly from external stressors. This can eventually make your skin feel uncomfortably tight, as well.
4. Increase in Breakouts
While your skin may feel like it is lacking moisture, it may also seem excessively oily. How is this possible? Since dehydrated skin overproduces natural oils to make up for the lack of moisture, creating excess oil.
This excess oil can potentially wreak havoc on your skin, causing pores to become clogged and acne to become present.
The Pinch Test
If you are unsure if your skin is lacking in hydration, there is a simple test you can do to help determine so — The Pinch Test (or Skin Turgor).
Simply grasp a small amount of your skin on the lower arm, abdomen, or back of your hand between two fingers, so that it is tented up. Hold the skin for a few seconds and then release.
Hydrated skin rapidly bonuses back to its normal state. Dehydrated skin, however, takes some time to return to normal.
Remedies for Dehydrated Skin
Dehydrated skin may sound scary and difficult, but as long as you take the necessary steps to remedy it as soon as possible, your skin will be good as new.
New Lifestyle Choices
As stated before, dehydrated skin is often caused by lifestyle choices. So, just like lifestyle choices can cause the damage done to your skin, new lifestyle choices can help fix it. Common choices include:
- Drink plenty of water, especially before, during, and after exercise
- Moderate drinking caffeine and alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Eat more plant-based foods
- Get plenty of sleep
- Use a Humidifier
If a sunburn played a role in your dehydrated skin, there are easy ways to help treat it and help prevent it from happening again.
Your skin is a living organ, and in fact, it is the largest organ. This organ needs water to survive and do its job. If your skin gets severely damaged from the sun, it makes it difficult for your skin to heal itself, making it even more vulnerable to UV rays. The key is providing moisture to the skin and keeping it locked in.
Sunburns need attention as soon as possible to prevent further damage. The best way to quickly remedy a sunburn is with aloe vera gel. Aloe works to restore the skin’s surface while also tending to the subcutaneous layers beneath, all while providing and locking in moisture to counteract dehydration.
Shop our favorite aloe vera gel here!
Not to sound like a broken record, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to lock moisture in when your skin is dehydrated. One of the best ways to do this is with a steady treatment of hydrating skincare products, especially moisturizing cream.
However, you shouldn’t use just any hydrating skincare product. When your skin is dehydrated it becomes sensitive, and some skincare products can cause further irritation. Therefore, you should avoid products that contain alcohol and any fragrances, whether synthetic, natural, or essential oils.
Instead, look for moisturizing creams that are packed with antioxidants, skin-restoring ingredients, and skin-replenishing ingredients, like aloe vera.
Aloe vera isn’t just for sunburns. When it is an ingredient in natural moisturizing cream, the benefits are endless, especially in terms of dehydrated skin. The amino acids in aloe are fantastic at hydrating the skin and reducing wrinkles and that sunken appearance we discussed earlier, while Vitamins C and E nourish the skin.
Looking for the perfect moisturizing cream to treat your dehydrated skin? Try an all-natural, plant-based moisturizer like Aloe Infusion. Aloe Infusion is made from organic aloe vera, shea butter, grape seed oil, and other natural ingredients that soothe, rejuvenate, and protect your skin for up to 12 hours. Our non-greasy, fragrance-free formula is perfect for those wanting to restore and revive their skin. Click here to try Aloe Infusion for yourself!
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