Dehydrated Skin? Here’s How To Fix It And Restore Moisture

Target the root causes of dehydrated skin.
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Everyone’s skin is susceptible to dehydration, especially with the harsh elements of the coldest season beginning to set in. If you identify with dehydrated skin (which is different from dry skin), you need to read this as we’re breaking down all about how to get rid of it and how to prevent your skin from getting dehydrated in the first place. Get ready to keep your complexion glowing all year round with our tried-and-true methods that’ll provide much-needed hydration, making parched skin just a bad memory.

What is dehydrated skin?

Dehydrated skin is characterized by skin that lacks water. Unlike dry skin, which is a skin type that’s mainly inherited, dehydrated skin is a temporary condition that occurs when the skin loses more water than it takes.

Signs of dehydrated skin

It’s not difficult to identify whether your skin is dehydrated or not. Just take a look in the mirror and observe if you notice one or more of these signs of dehydrated skin:

  • Dullness
  • Deeper fine lines and wrinkles
  • Breakouts
  • Increased sensitivity
  • More visible dark circles

What causes dehydrated skin?

Dehydrated skin is caused by low humidity, hot showers, not drinking enough water, harsh skincare products, lack of sleep, and air conditioning. A weakened protective barrier can also contribute to dehydrated skin as there are more chances to lose water when the barrier is compromised, so maintaining your barrier integer should be top of mind. And this is what you’re about to learn: how to fix dehydrated skin and prevent transepidermal water loss.

How to fix dehydrated skin?

First of all, you should quit using ingredients that may potentially strip the skin of moisture, such as drying alcohols (benzyl alcohol, SD alcohol, denatured alcohol), fragrances, and sulfates. Instead, look for products with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, squalane, ceramides, niacinamide, and lactic acid, as these ingredients work great on dehydrated skin.

Cleanse with a delicate face wash and lukewarm water

Choose a gentle, SLSs-free cleanser that dissolves impurities without stripping away essential moisture but adds hydration and calms skin. For instance, a squalane cleanser will leave your complexion clean while strengthening the moisture barrier.

Use a hydrating toner

With dehydration putting skin to the test, what better way to balance pH and add more hydration is there if not using a toner? Toners are that in-between step that adds more benefits to the skin, balance, and soothes it while nourishing and providing antioxidant properties.

In addition to providing an extra layer of hydration for thirsty skin, toners allow the skin to drink in more moisture when applied before serum and moisturizer — because the skin is more permeable when damp. We suggest you try a hyaluronic acid toner.

Apply hyaluronic acid serum

A moisture magnet, hyaluronic acid draws water from the environment into the skin, increasing water levels and plumping the complexion, making this compound a must in your routine. Besides helping diminish the telltale signs of a dehydrated complexion, like dullness, visible wrinkles, and breakouts, a natural hyaluronic acid serum skips potential harsh agents that may exacerbate dehydration. 

Lock hydration with an occlusive moisturizer

By their nature, occlusive agents prevent further dehydration by forming a protective film on the outermost skin layer that hinders transepidermal water loss (TEWL). In layman’s terms, using occlusive moisturizers hampers hydration from being lost, so plumper, softer and bouncier skin.

Exfoliate with lactic acid

You can’t skip exfoliation — not even when your skin is dehydrated — as the accumulation of dead cell buildup hinders product penetration and makes skin appear dull and rough. Even though all alpha-hydroxy acids have humectant activity, aka they attract water molecules into the skin, lactic acid has the mildest exfoliating power.

Conclusion? Once or twice a week, exfoliate your complexion with a lactic acid peel before doing your PM skincare routine; think of it as a prelude before serum and moisturizer.

Maintain the protective barrier integer

Since a weakened barrier is a common cause of dehydrated skin, maintaining it integer should be your priority. Compounds naturally found in the skin, including ceramides, fatty acids, and squalane, are what you should aim at. These comfort the skin while strengthening and softening it. Actives that induce collagen synthesis are also great at fortifying the barrier — think vitamin Cpeptidesniacinamide, and retinol.

Get to slugging

Slugging is a term given for a TikTok beauty hack that implies slathering on a heavy-duty occlusive (hey, petroleum jelly) as the last step in your PM routine to trap moisture and prevent products from seeping out. To ban dehydration, lock humectants like hyaluronic acid, panthenol, aloe vera, and honey with a serious layer of petroleum jelly in your nighttime routine and enjoy nourished skin by morning.

P.S. Don’t do slugging after applying products with retinol or AHA/BHA, as it will increase the chances of irritation. 

How to prevent dehydrated skin? 

Why fix dehydrated skin when you can prevent it? Screenshot these tips, you’ll need them, especially now that winter is coming:

  • Dodge harsh ingredients, like sulfates, alcohol, and fragrances
  • Adapt the concentration of powerful actives to your skin needs
  • Maintain a robust protective barrier
  • Don’t wash with hot water, but with lukewarm
  • Use a humidifier
  • Drink eight glasses of water per day
  • Eat foods that support the lipid barrier (walnuts, avocados, and fatty fish)
  • Don’t exaggerate with the consume diuretics like alcohol and caffeine 
  • Never skip on sunscreen

Read next: Use These Products To Quench Your Dehydrated Skin ASAP

Who wrote this?
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu
Ana is a sociologist and feminist with a shared passion for literature, psychology, and skincare, the combo that made her determined to start Women's Concepts. With over five years of experience in dermatological research, she has now become a certified skincare consultant keen to convince others of the importance of a diligent routine. Her close relationships with dermatologists around the globe, along with years of researching, analyzing studies, and hand-testing products on a daily basis, made Ana one of the best persons you can get advice from.
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