There’s a common skincare myth that dehydrated = dry, essentially eliminating all of us normal, oily and combination-skinned gals and guys from the mix. However, we’re here to bust that myth and give you the cold hard facts — that no matter your skin type, you can still have dehydrated skin.
Why We Have Dehydrated Skin, and How to Fix It
With winter upon us, it’s important now more than ever to address dehydration and nip it in the bud. It’s not only a huge contributor to premature ageing, but also can affect how your makeup applies and how the skin looks and feels overall.
Keep on reading to discover all you need to know about dehydrated skin, including why you might be experiencing it and how to fix it for good.
Dehydrated skin, unlike dry skin, can be a little tricky to diagnose. It’s not a permanent state like you might consider your skin type (although arguably, that can change with time, too). Instead, dehydration comes and goes based on a number of factors. These factors include:
- using the wrong products
- stripping the skin of its natural oils
- not drinking enough water
- creating dehydration through common foods and drinks
As a result, dehydrated skin can also be oily. Shocker, right? Even if you feel like your skin is a grease-pit all year ’round, there’s a chance that on occasion, it’s also dehydrated. You’ll experience a layer of oil sitting on top of parched skin crying out for help, which definitely isn’t a good look!
When winter rolls around, we tend to want to slough away dry skin cells, even if our skin types are historically oily. This creates the first cause of dehydrated skin — using the wrong products. Exfoliants, harsh ingredients like Vitamin C or retinol, or simply products incompatible with your unique skin can quickly create dehydration. In most cases, these culprits dry out the surface of the skin whilst exacerbating oil production, creating an excess that can also clog pores, leading to breakouts. No thank you!
Of course, there are a few lifestyle factors that contribute to dehydrated skin, too. For instance, if you’re consuming minimal (<1L a day) water, your skin might start to feel it. This is another reason dehydrated skin is more common in winter — we tend to feel less inclined to gulp away at our water bottles because of the temperature. Throw in common dehydrators like alcohol and you’re on the path to a complexion akin to the Sahara Desert.
So, how do you tell if you have dehydrated skin? It’s a little more complicated than just looking at your skin, or even touching it. The best way to discover whether your complexion is longing for hydration is through a ‘pinch test’. Grab your skin between your forefinger and thumb, ideally on an area where the skin is looser — either the hands or the bottom of the cheeks are good places to try. Pull it out about 1cm, or as far as it’ll go on younger, tauter skin.
If the skin springs right back into shape, you’re A-okay — no dehydration here! This doesn’t mean it’s not worth evaluating your routine, but there’s no imminent worries.
If it takes a second or two to settle back down, chances are you’ve got dehydrated skin. That’s okay — keep on reading to discover exactly how to treat it. After all, chances are most of us experience dehydrated skin once or twice a year, so it’s incredibly normal.
Now that we’ve identified what causes dehydrated skin, you’re probably wondering what the fix is — thankfully, it’s pretty simple. First, you’ll want to lay out all the skincare you use on a daily basis and check they don’t include any of these common dehydrators. Here’s a little run down on each.
Alcohol: just like it is on the body, alcohol can dry the skin right out. Avoid rubbing alcohols to disinfect the skin or clear breakouts (trust us, no one’s complexion is that hardy).
Peppermint: although mint is amazing for certain concerns, there’s a chance your skin might not vibe with it. If you want to unlock its antiseptic properties, try combining with a hydrating ingredient like Hyaluronic Acid or aloe vera.
Salicylic Acid: Salicylic Acid is super common for those experiencing breakouts and acne, and works to essentially kill off the offending bacteria so these imperfections clear up quicker. If you desperately need to use this, make sure you combine it with something hydrating. Use it less frequently if possible, too, monitoring how your skin reacts.
Benzoyl Peroxide: another commonly prescribed ingredient for acne, Benzoyl Peroxide can really dry your skin out. You’ll need to use a nourishing moisturiser, preferably with HA, almost directly after.
Vitamin C and retinol: these ingredients are touted as skincare wonders, especially if you want to stop the clock on ageing signs. However, they can be drying if used in excess — be sure to keep them to every second day if you find your skin is reacting and experiencing dehydration.
Alright, you know what not to use — how about what products are right for treating dehydrated skin? Well, we recommend opting for the gentle or natural route wherever possible, and knowing your ingredients as best you can. HAs are a godsend for dehydrated skin, as they (in very simplified terms) lock moisture molecules in place.
For cleanser, we recommend a gentle formula. Try the Skinstitut Gentle Cleanser, which is enriched with green tea, aloe vera and Vitamin E. Then, spritz a little of a refreshing toner or mist onto the skin to trap the moisture. The Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner is a must-have!