Dehydrated skin: why it happens and how to fix it

As the temperature drops and we crank up the central heating thermostats, you will begin to read a lot about dehydration in beauty magazines and blogs. There are numerous products on the market to prevent or cure it but what is it, how do you know if you have it and what really works to prevent it?

Dehydration is the lack or loss of water in our skin. It can be superficial or run deeper.

Most of will experience superficial dehydration from time to time. It shows as sudden fine lines appearing on the face, often noticeable in straight lines around our eyes and cheeks. This is due to the temporary loss of water from the upper layers of the skin and is brought on by simply not drinking enough water for a couple of days, consuming too much alcohol on a big night out, after a sun holiday or exposure to dry heat such as when we start lighting fires or turn on the heating for the winter. Being sick, particularly with a raised temperature will also cause a temporary loss of water. Simply drinking more good fluids will soon restore this balance in a healthy, functioning skin.

For some, dehydration will run deeper and cause more problems. Flaky, itchy, reactive problems often start with dehydration. Confusingly, this skin can also seem shiny at times, leading sufferers to think their skin is oily. In fact, this shine is from water evaporating too fast when you do drink it. The reason for this condition is actually a lack of oil in the skin. One function of the oil is to keep water in the skin where it is needed for many functions. When this natural barrier (the acid mantle) is unbalanced then it can’t stop water from evaporating, leading to the symptoms outlined above.
Most of the impaired water/oil balance that I see in clients is due to using the incorrect products for their skin, keeping a bad diet or lifestyle choices that are unhealthy in general. Some medications can also contribute to dehydration.

If your skin is showing signs of dehydration here’s some changes you can make to help:

• Drink more water. This is the number one thing you can do for skin health.
• Protect your skin from the outside with nourishing facial oils; look for ingredients like rosehip seed oil, shea butter, ceramides, squalane, jojoba seed oil, avocado seed oil, pomegranate seed oil.
• Avoid alcohol, stress and direct heat and processed foods as much as possible.
• For correction of skin already suffering the effects of dehydration, using Skin Essentials by Mariga Lipid Repair Concentrate under appropriate day/night cream will quickly restore comfort and balance.
• Always be gentle with your skin. Avoid over-exfoliation and any skincare products containing fragrance or sulphates.

Fun fact: too much water can lead to dehydration!!
While the skin is great at absorbing water, it’s not great at holding on to it. As the skin softens on prolonged contact with water, like during a long bath, its barrier weakens leading to water loss and dehydration, so luxuriating in the bath too often really will leave you looking like a prune!