Beauty myths!! They’re everywhere.
Some we love to believe, some we refuse to let go of, but then, there are some, when it comes to your skin, they must be dispelled. So it’s my mission in this article to debunk the beauty myths surrounding dehydrated skin and offer you real solutions to fix the problem.
But first, let’s look at why your skin is dehydrated.
Unlike dry skin which is a skin type mostly determined by your genetics, dehydration is a skin condition. Something that has developed in your skin over time. Which is good news in a way, as it means you can change it.
It all starts with your lipid barrier function and the pH of your skin. If your lipid barrier remains out of balance for too long, your skin begins to lose its ability to maintain water content.
What’s putting your lipid barrier out of balance?
The skin is a beautifully complicated organ and there are many reasons why the lipid barrier becomes imbalanced. But mostly it’s caused by our constant exposure to the harshness of the environment, incorrect or inadequate skin care practices and the usual suspects such as smoking, too much alcohol and other dietary factors, which I’ll get to in a moment. For now, let’s look at the myths.
Myth #1: You just need to drink more water.
Yes, you most certainly do, but not as much as you think and furthermore, it will not fix your dehydration problems, and while it’s true, you are 75% water. Those dead skin cells sitting on the surface of your skin have little or no moisture content and no amount of water consumption is going to change them. Of course, you need water and you’ll be healthier, and you may have better skin health, but it’s NOT the underlying cause of your dehydration problems.
If your skin has become so out of balance it shows’s signs of flakiness, your first reaction may be to exfoliate or scrub those flakey patches away. Please don’t and here is the reason why.
Your skin is trying to tell you something and you should listen up. Flakiness or dry flaky patches are an indication of skin so out of balance it is becoming irritated and quite likely you are heading towards a skin condition nobody wants.
Yep. Sensitive skin!! Stop scrubbing! The more you scrub or harshly exfoliate a flakey, irritated skin the worse it’s going to get. Instead, work towards bringing your skin back to its former equilibrium. The best place to start is getting the basics right. A gentle balancing cleanser, a rehydrating serum containing hyaluronic acid and a well-formulated moisturiser with sun protection is a good place to start. I’ve written about this in much more detail over here.
Pictured above: Ultraceuticals Ultra B2 Hydrating Serum.
Myth #3: Spraying a water mist will help.
No, not really. While the idea of spraying pure water on the face is a sweet idea, it will not rehydrate your skin. BIG myth. Huge.
Spraying water on the face without adding a serum or moisturiser to lock the moisture in is just going to add to your problem or even make it worse.
Why? The water you just sprayed on your face will evaporate into the atmosphere and take much-needed water from your skin with it.
This is especially true if you are in a drying environment like an aeroplane or any air-conditioned room where moisture is being sucked out of the atmosphere. It would be wiser to spend your money on a humidifier to increase the moisture in the air, followed by a good facial oil loaded with essential fatty acids.
Pictured below: VERSO Super Facial Oil to boost the skin’s lipid barrier.
Sometimes in our quest to eliminate the harsh appearance of a parched dehydrated skin, we find ourselves looking for moisturisers that are heavier or richer with perhaps more emollients. While this is a good idea if your skin is dry (lacking in natural oil production), it will not solve the problem of a skin unable to retain moisture. In fact, if your skin dehydration is mistaken for dryness (lacking in natural oil) then an overly rich cream is going to throw your skin further out of balance and once again you’ll end up with a moisturiser that doesn’t suit your skin type and even more dehydration. Frustrating, right? Get your skin correctly diagnosed to determine your skin type. The truth is a skin that is beautifully balanced needs very little added moisturiser.
Myth #5: It has nothing to do with diet.
Well, if you think about what your skin has to deal with every day, then it needs all the help it can get. Taking a look at the quality of your diet may be the most important thing you do for your dehydrated skin.
The foods you include in your diet will make a massive difference to the retention of water in your skin.
Specifically, the inclusion of essential fatty acids (EFA’s) which contribute to the strength and structure of your lipid barrier are, well, essential. Any EFA deficiencies in the skin will lead to a dysfunctional lipid barrier, hyper exfoliation of the epidermis (visible flakiness) and even dermatitis can occur and of course, the inability to retain vital moisture to keep it soft, supple and luminous.
The high-quality moisturisers contain fatty acids. But, you can do more. Look to your diet. Replace what’s lost in your skin by seeking out these all important and essential fatty acids in whole foods like fish and shellfish, eggs, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed and walnuts as well as leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. Go forth. Eat your way to a dewy, moist skin.
Your body has no other way of producing these essential fatty acids unless you eat them. If you think your diet is lacking, you can always supplement with a couple of fish oil or flaxseed capsules. Everyday.
The top 5 ways to hydrate your skin.
So in a nutshell? Drink water for your overall health and wellness to ensure every cell in your body is hydrated, minimise exposure to the sun and cut back on too much alcohol.
1. Balance your skin’s delicate lipid barrier with gentle balancing cleansers and eliminate harsh scrubs, in favour of gentle AHA serums.
2. Protect with well-formulated moisturisers with added essential fatty acids and ceramides.
3. Add a serum rich in hyaluronic acid under your usual moisturiser.
4. Humidify your environment with a portable humidifier and when travelling, opt for facial oils instead of spritzing with pure water, or choose facial mists loaded with antioxidants like green tea.
5. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, get plenty of essential fatty acids in your diet. Everyday.
Do all this and you will be well on your way to a beautifully hydrated and glowing skin!!
And now you?
How’s your skin feeling? Are you having trouble tackling dehydration? Why not leave a comment? Or, if you like this article, share it with your friends. Questions? You can shoot me an email here.
See you next time,