Let's be clear, dehydrated skin means that your skin is lacking water. It can be dry and itchy and perhaps dull looking, too. Your overall tone and complexion may appear uneven, and fine lines - more noticeable. While dehydrated skin can be a nuisance, it’s relatively easy to treat with the right lifestyle changes. Treatment begins from the inside out to replenish and maintain hydration throughout your body. Dehydrated skin can appear dry, but it’s not the same has having a dry skin type. Severe dehydration and dry skin should be addressed with a physician.
Don’t Confuse Dehydrated Skin with Dry Skin!
Dehydrated skin is sometimes discussed synonymously with dry skin. This is because dry and dehydrated skin share many of the same signs and symptoms, but they are actually quite distinct. Often what we consider to be dry skin is really dehydrated skin, and while they might feel the same, and possibly even look the same, the course of treatment is vastly different. You might accidentally be making your skin problems worse if you’re not correctly treating the prognosis!
At the most basic level, dry and dehydrated skin are both caused by a lack of moisture. The crucial difference is the kind of moisture missing. To identify this a little further, dry skin is a lack of essential oil in the skin whereas dehydrated skin is a lack of water. Also, dry skin is a skin type, while dehydration is considered a condition.
Skin types are classified as normal, dry, combination, and oily. You’re usually born with one type of skin, but it can change with age and season.
Your skin usually needs help with added hydration by applying a hyderator (adds water to the skin) and a moisturizer (creates a barrier on the surface of your skin to keep water from evaporating) to protect your skin from further moisture loss.
Dehydrated skin is a skin condition that is caused by external elements (weather and seasonal changes), unhealthy diet (lack of fresh produce) and lifestyle choices (alcohol or caffeine consumption). All of these factors deplete your skin’s water content, resulting in a less supple appearance. So, the main thing to remember is that dehydration is characterized by a lack of water, not oil; which may be sometimes confusing when making a determination what skin issue you may be dealing with. But even oily skin types can become dehydrated. Luckily, dehydrated skin is temporary and can be relieved with a combination of a healthy skin care regimen, and lifestyle changes.
How to Treat Dehydrated Skin
The best treatment for dehydrated skin is your diet. Yup, pay attention to what you’re putting in your body, not just what you’re putting on it. The skin is the last organ to receive the water you ingest, so you need to get plenty of it. We’ve all heard the water rule; you should be drinking plenty of water to keep your entire body hydrated. While many subscribe to the 8 cups of water a day rule, the key thing is to do what feels right for your body. We are all a little different, so it’s important to know what right feels like for you! Keep in mind your water intake also comes from the foods you eat, so grab a few extra cucumbers the next time you’re shopping for the week.
Another great way to treat dehydrated skin is to protect it from the sun. Vitamin D is essential for good health overall, especially during the gray and gloomy winter months. But you want to be careful with over-exposure. A fast and easy way to do this is by using SPF 15 or higher any time you plan to be outdoors.