Soft, supple, glowing skin is a goal for many of us, but the changing weather and our busy lifestyles can take a toll on our complexion. We put our skin through a lot of stress which can leave it feeling uncomfortable and looking dull. You probably already know about dry skin, but have you heard about dehydrated skin? Keep reading to find out what it is, how to identify it and what the best natural moisturisers for dehydrated skin are.
What is dehydrated skin?
Dehydrated skin is a skin concern that can be triggered by a number of factors. These could be as a result of using harsh skin care products or using the wrong skin care products.
Dehydrated and dry skin are often used interchangeably and can be thought to be the same, but the two are actually very different. Dry skin is a skin type, whereas dehydrated skin is a skin concern.
A skin type is something that each person is born with and it is determined by genetics. There are four skin types: normal, dry, oily and combination. Identifying your skin type is the first step in understanding what your skin needs and how to treat it. As our skin type is predetermined, it doesn't typically change. The only thing that it is thought to affect it is the aging process, however this is a very slow and gradual change over time.
So while our skin type generally remains the same throughout our lives, there are a number of different internal and external factors which can cause your skin to look and feel different. Things like the environment, hormones, medication, nutrition and lifestyle can cause an imbalance to your skin's health. These factors can lead to irritation, sensitivity, excessive oiliness, acne and dehydration. These are called skin conditions and they can affect any skin type.
So let's talk about dehydrated skin.
Dehydrated skin is deficient in water, whereas dry skin lacks oil. Water is vital in the regulation of our body temperature, flushing out toxins and transporting essential nutrients to our skin to nourish it from the inside out. This is why other skin conditions can arise as a result of dehydrated skin.
What causes dehydrated skin?
There are a number of different factors that can trigger dehydrated skin, however it's often as a result of using harsh or overly abrasive skin care products. These products might contain irritating ingredients that disturb your skin barrier or microbiome. Using the wrong products for your skin type, for example if you use products more suited to oily skin when you actually have dry skin, can also lead to an imbalance which can cause dehydration. Essentially, dehydrated skin is your skin's way of telling you that it doesn't like how it is being treated.
As well as the products in your skincare routine, other external factors can also contribute to this skin condition:
Sun - UVA from the sun is one of the major culprits for dehydrating our skin. A little bit of sun can give us the essential vitamin D that our body needs, but too much sun accelerates the ageing process and increases both free radicals in the cells and oxidants in the skin.
Summer weather along with the sun, often comes heat and dry air. This is also very dehydrating.
Winter weather such as wind, rain and frost can result in dull, lifeless, red skin.
Air-conditioning and central heating sometimes in hot or cold weather, we want to cool or warm the body up, but using air-con or central heating too much can take the hydration and life out of our skin.
Menstrual cycle our skin changes depending on the stage of our menstrual cycle. Our skin is at its worst when we are in the premenstrual stage as our estrogen levels drop, and estrogen helps to keep our skin hydrated, supple and smooth. We are also more acne prone in the days leading up to menstruation.
Pregnancy: throughout pregnancy, the body uses high amounts of water, so it is more susceptible to becoming dehydrated.
Medication: there are certain medications that cause water loss in the skin.
Ageing: as we get older, our skin starts to lose its ability to retain water, making us more likely to have dehydrated skin.
Excessive sweating: simply put, as we sweat, we lose water in the body and in the skin, and sweating excessively makes replacing these lost fluids a little harder.
Hot showers, baths and hard water- in places where the water quality is hard, there is a higher level of limestone that can strip the water from the skin. Having shorter baths and showers can reduce the dehydrating effects hot water can have on the skin.
Stress - stress can be hugely detrimental on the skin. Over time, it can cause a person to age quickly and prematurely. It can also cause a host of other skin issues including redness, acne, dryness, and of course, dehydration. When the body is stressed, its response is to overproduce the cortisol hormone. Our adrenal glands are always producing cortisol, but when we feel the effects of stress, our bodies can produce too much. Cortisol is inflammatory, and while it can affect the body in many other ways, it also decreases your body's ability to retain water. The result is dull, dehydrated skin.
Diet- coffee is a staple in many of our diets, but the bad news is that this daily habit could be keeping you in a constant state of dehydration. This is because caffeine is a diuretic, meaning that it dehydrates the skin.
What are the characteristics of dehydrated skin?
Dehydrated skin can be identified by the way your skin looks and feels. Your complexion may appear dull, you might have a lot of redness, congestion and inflammation. It may also feel tight, rough, sensitive or itchy. This is a sure sign that there is something amiss with your skin.
One characteristic of dehydrated skin that people may underestimate is that it can cause an increased production of excess oil on the skin's surface. This oil is your skin's way of overcompensating to make up for a lack of moisture. It makes identifying this skin condition more difficult if your skin type is already oily. Something that may help you to spot dehydration is that even with excess oil on the surface, your skin may still feel tight and dry underneath.
The best natural moisturiser for dehydrated skin
Shea butter is easily one of our favourite moisturisers for dehydrated skin thanks to how easily it absorbs into the skin while providing a rich burst of hydration. Its naturally filled with vitamin A, vitamin E and an abundance of phytonutrients that nourish the skin.
Shea butter gets its hydrating properties from is its high oleic acid content, which helps the skin to seal in extra moisture. It strengthens cell membrane integrity, keeping the skin healthy and its water levels intact. It also contains oleic acid's cousin - linoleic acid. This supports the regeneration of skin cells. If you have both dehydrated and acne prone skin, linoleic acid helps to rehydrate the skin and is suitable for the treatment of acne as well. There is a common misconception that oils are bad for oily skin. This is not true, although different oils will work for different people. People with oily skin should look for linoleic acid as a component of oils because oily skin skin types have lower levels of this than others. A top-up of this acid can help in the treatment of acne, whilst supporting healthy hydration.
Persea Americana, or better known as avocado oil, can be found in many skincare products these days - and for good reason. This natural oil is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins A, C, D and E, as well as an abundance of minerals.
The best quality and most potent avocado oil is unrefined and cold-pressed. It will have a dark green colour, thick texture and heavy feel. Despite this, it absorbs fast and has a low to moderate comedogenic rating. The revitalising goodness of avocado oil penetrates deep into the skin's epidermis (outer layer). Its oleic acid content is also anti-inflammatory which can help to reduce symptoms of inflammation, a common symptom of dehydration.
Before you try this natural moisturiser for yourself, always carry out a patch test first to see if it irritates your skin. The changes are low, but all skin is different.
Camellia oil is native to southern Japan and has been used as a miracle beauty product by geishas for centuries. It is cold-pressed from the seeds of the
yabu-tsubaki, a wild variety of Camellia japonica flower.
It's rich in omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids which help the skin to retain water. Camellia oil also contains linoleic and oleic acid, vitamins A and B, tocotrienols (Vitamin E) and palmitic acid. These create a non-greasy and fast-absorbing oil that helps to nourish dehydrated skin and keep it soft and supple. Its strong fatty acid composition makes it incredibly powerful at sinking deep into the skin, promoting cell growth and retaining moisture.
View our organic, fresh-pressed camellia oil to find out more.
Marula oil is deeply hydrating thanks to its nutrient-rich composition of antioxidants, vitamins and omega fatty acids that nourish the skin.
As well as providing long-lasting moisturisation, Marula oil reduces transepidermal water loss. This makes it one of the best natural moisturisers for dehydrated skin as it not only helps to fix the skin condition but it can help to prevent it too. Marula oil is an excellent anti-aging option thanks to its rich vitamin C and E content which is essential for collagen production, restoring elasticity and suppleness. As well as this, Marula oil contains antioxidants which can help to fight and protect against free radical damage caused by external factors that trigger dehydration.
Carrot seed oil
Carrot seed oil is a rejuvenating oil that's extracted from the seed of the carrot plant. It contains carotol which is what gives this oil much of its potency. It's also made up of high amounts of vitamin E, which helps to lock in moisture in the skin. Another key ingredient is vitamin C, which protects your skin from the harsh effects caused by environmental factors. When vitamin C and vitamin E are combined in skincare, their anti-aging and sun protection benefits are stronger than if you were to use them on their own.
Carrot seed oil is intensely nourishing properties are perfect for adding moisture to your skin without clogging your pores. It's non comedogenic and quickly sinks into the skin when applied.
Explore our organic carrot oil here.
How to fix dehydrated skin?
As well as removing any irritants or overly-harsh products from your skincare routine, there are a few other steps you can take to fix dehydrated skin:
Swap out your harsh skincare products for gentle alternatives. Avoid using any actives, products with heavy fragrance or essential oils as these can further irritate dehydrated skin
Stop using any abrasive scrubs, cleansing brushes or tools
Ensure that you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
Mix a few drops of either Avocado, Camellia, Carrot oil or Marula oils with your usual moisturiser before applying to give your skin a more intense boost of hydration
Apply an occlusive layer of skincare at the end of your routine to seal in all the moisture. Shea butter has a high occlusivity making it the perfect last step in your routine
Discover our full range of organic face oils for the best moisturisers for dehydrated, dry, oily and other skin concerns, all made without harsh chemicals or preservatives.