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Is your skin dehydrated? We explain how to spot the signs

Do you have dehydrated skin? Our simple, expert led solutions will help you get things back on track

When it comes to skincare, ‘dry’ and ‘dehydrated’ are actually very different woes.  Yes, your skin can be both dry and dehydrated.  But, contrary to popular belief, oily skin is just as likely to be dehydrated as other skin types.

 Jen Vittanuova, EV Expert and Owner of PMA Medical says: “It’s not uncommon for those with oily or acne-prone complexions to also suffer from dehydrated skin that has been caused by the use of harsh products.”

The difference between dry and dehydrated skin

The key difference is that dry skin is caused by a lack of oil, while dehydrated skin is caused by a lack of water.

Dry skin is a skin type, whereas dehydrated skin is a condition and happens when there is a lack of water in the skin's top layer,” explains Rachel Goddard, EV Expert and Clinical Director of Rachel Goddard Aesthetics.  

“The best way to work out if your skin is dehydrated”, says Vittanouva, “is by sight and touch.  If your skin wrinkles when you gently pinch it, then it’s likely to be dehydrated.”

Characteristics of dehydrated skin

  • Dullness
  • Tightness
  • Exaggerated wrinkles 
  • Exaggerated dark circles under the eyes
  • Sagging skin
  • Redness or inflammation
  • Congested skin

15 things that cause dehydrated skin

  1. Not drinking enough water
  2. Excessive sweating (often from exercise)
  3. UVA rays
  4. Weather conditions such as cold temperatures and harsh winds
  5. Air pollution 
  6. Air conditioning and central heating 
  7. Hot showers and baths, saunas, and steam rooms 
  8. Alcohol and caffeine consumption
  9. Smoking
  10. Poor diet
  11. Ageing
  12. Stress 
  13. Air travel
  14. Poor or incorrect skincare regime 
  15. Over-use of retinol

How to treat dehydrated skin at home

Increase your water consumption

Simple as it sounds, drinking more water is the single most effective way to treat dehydrated skin, says Vittanouva. “It’s not unusual for clients to come to me asking for dermal fillers, when all they actually need to do is rehydrate. Skin loses volume and elasticity when you are dehydrated, but once you increase your water intake, skin cells will plump up and your complexion will look brighter.”

Rehydrate your skin from the outside

Reassuringly, Vittanouva explains that dehydrated skin can be remedied by making a few simple changes to your skincare regime: “Obviously, the most important thing is to get moisture back into the skin so that it can start to repair itself.  Once the right regime, with the right products, is adopted, you will see results within weeks.”  

Hyaluronic acid, a vital ingredient for attracting moisture to the skin, is a good place to start; you could also try a water-based face mist when in a drying, air conditioned environment.

However, it often isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution, so it's advisable to seek advice from a qualified skincare professional before using topical treatments on dehydrated skin.

Rehydrate your skin from the inside

A two-pronged approach to tackling dehydrated skin will not only yield the best, and quickest results, but will also help to prevent future reoccurrence of the issue.  

Daily fish oil supplements are recommended, along with vitamin A and hyaluronic acid in supplement form.

In-clinic treatments for dehydrated skin

Nine times out of ten, dehydrated skin can be repaired without the need for in-clinic treatments.  

If you do want to give things a bit of a boost, Vittanouva recommends treatments such as skin booster injections, dermal fillers, hydrating facials, microneedling and microdermabrasion, which, she says, can really help to improve the look and feel of skin suffering from dehydration.

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