How To Deal With Dehydrated Skin

Skin Condition 101

How To Deal With Dehydrated Skin

By Janell Hickman

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As one of the most common skin conditions, dehydration will likely happen to most of us, but luckily, as a condition, it doesn’t have to be forever. Signs of dehydration include patches of skin that feel tight or dry — often appearing as a crepe-y kind of skin patch with an oil slick on top. This can occur on the T-zone, nose, or chin area. Contributing factors to this skin condition include weather, diet, and lifestyle choices (yep, like wine or caffeine intake).

Why Every Skin Type Needs Moisture, All Year Long

Seasonal change can take a toll on our skin — whether we’re going from hot-to-cold or vice versa. Regardless, your skin needs hydration, no matter your skin type. Likely, your skin’s moisture barrier just needs some extra TLC. In the winter, this might look like a heavier cream or balm, versus a hydrating toner or moisturizing sunscreen for the summertime. For acneic/oily/combination skin types who may be hesitant to double down on this step, it’s essential to understand that dehydrated skin can actually over-produce oil to compensate for a lack of moisture in the skin. But never fear, read on for product recs just for you.

Dry Skin Vs. Dehydrated Skin

Is your skin dry or dehydrated? That’s a super common question. These terms are often used interchangeably, however, there’s a key difference. While you can’t change your skin type, you can influence your skin’s temporary condition.

By definition, dehydrated skin lacks water, while dry skin lacks natural oils (also called sebum). Dry skin is also a skin type, while dehydration is considered a skin condition. While drinking water is a good habit to adopt, Heyday Skincare Educator Alexandra Serron reminds us that drinking water has only anecdotally been shown to improve skin's radiance, with no true data to support this claim.

“[Unfortunately] that glass of water is not going to your skin,” she explains. Thankfully, dehydrated skin can be reversed by incorporating moisture-binding emollients, and the right amount of exfoliation (more on that later).

Our Top Products For Tackling Dehydration

A Rebalancing Toner

If you are breakout-prone, this calming toner helps rebalance moisture levels to return skin to a “normal” pH-level.

A Hydrating Mist

We hate to pick favorites, but this hydrating toner is one of the more popular recommendations of our skin therapists. Great for all skin types, including oily, this triple-threat formula of crop juice, calendula, and glycerin helps nourish and moisturize dehydrated skin.

A Gentle Exfoliant

Combination skin types particularly will love how this water-activated rice-based powder gently polishes away dead skin cells. Think of this as a prelude before applying hydrating moisturizers or serums.

A Reparative Serum

Dehydration often leads to further irritation. That’s where this serum comes into play — it combines soothing arnica extract, healing St. John’s Wort extract, and anti-inflammatory lavender to get your complexion back on track.

Reconsider Your Cleansing Routine

Cleansing plays a major role in returning your skin to its natural, hydrated state—yet over-cleansing or washing with the wrong product can have adverse effects. There’s a reason why “squeaky-clean” is a term designed for your floors, not your not face.

Serron recommends an oil cleanser for everyone—no matter their skin type. “Oil cleansing is that prep step to ensure the rest of your skincare is going to be effective,” she explains.

Remember, you should be selecting a cleanser based on your skin type, not your current skin condition. Ultimately, you want a cleanser that’s gentle, yet effective, and doesn’t leave your skin feeling tight or taut.

Yep, Exfoliation Matters Too

Here’s the deal — you can be using the most expensive, beautiful nighttime cream, but if you have a layer of dead skin on top, that product is not going to be effective. Proper exfoliation can help increase cell turnover, allowing healthier cells to emerge at the surface.

Serron is partial to enzymes because they “are technically a chemical exfoliant. They eat away at the dead surface skin cells rather than penetrating into your skin, which can cause a bit of a reaction if you're sensitized,” she adds.

Immediately after exfoliation is when you should opt to do a mini-treatment... just like you’d receive during a signature Heyday facial. “Your products are going to penetrate best right after exfoliation,” explains Serron. “That's when you would want to mask, especially if you're doing your hydrating mask, sheet mask, all of the above.”

Humectants and water-binding ingredients are important, but exfoliation is essential to allowing your moisturizers to penetrate properly.

Toners Can Help Lock in Moisture

While using a toner might seem like an extra step, it’s actually a skin savior for dehydrated skin. “In the winter, when we're talking about dehydration, toners are literally those humectants that we're screaming at you about,” Serron laughs. “A toner is the product that helps you bind any water to your skin.”

Think of your skin like a dry sponge. If you put a dry sponge in a wet puddle, it's not going to absorb as much as the wet one would. Like draws like, so moisture is attracted to more moisture—a win for dry skin.

“This is why almost every single serum, some moisturizers, body oils, etc. tell you to apply to damp skin,” explains Serron. “You're going to use a lot less of your product and it's also going to be more effective.”

And Don’t Forget About Your Moisturizer

After all that self care, the last step is a hydrating moisturizer—which basically seals in all of your other products’ hard work.

Facial oils are also a great bet. Lean towards oils that have antioxidants to help rebuild and replenish your skin’s barrier. The trick here again is finding the right one for your skin type. “It's the last step that's going to lock all of that hydration in,” adds Serron.

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