Imagine this: you have your trusted skincare kit, you’re consistent with your routine, but you notice your skin is looking dull. Well, you may have dehydrated skin and your current skincare may not be what you need to properly deal with it. If it’s your first time with this skin concern or if you’ve long been looking for ways to get you through this, we have the guide for you.
Read on to find out what dehydrated skin is and what you need to do to get back to healthy, soft, and glowing skin.
Dehydrated Skin vs. Dry Skin
People often think that dehydrated and dry skin are the same thing—but they’re not. Knowing the difference is important to help you understand what your skin specifically needs. It will also help you answer a key question: do you lack hydration or moisture?
What does dehydrated skin look like?
Is your skin dehydrated?
Try the Pinch Test
This is a quick and easy way to check if your skin is dehydrated. While not full-proof, it’s a good place to start. Here’s how you can do it:
- Gently pinch a small area of your skin. You can do this on your cheek, stomach, chest, or the back of your hand. Hold the pinch for a few seconds.
- If your skin bounces back, you’re likely not dehydrated.
- If it takes a few moments, you might be dehydrated.
Itchiness is a common sign of dehydrated skin. Observe how your skin feels and make sure not to give in the temptation to scratch.
What causes dehydrated skin?
Now that we know what dehydrated skin is, how it looks, and how you can identify dehydration, let's get into the possible causes of this skin concern.
- The sun's UVA rays
- Hot water, showers, and baths
- Air-conditioning and heating
- Alcohol and smoking
- Lack of sleep
- Lack of water
- Skincare that's not right for you!
Best skincare ingredients for dehydrated skin1. Hyaluronic Acid
If you’ve ever gone online or read about K-beauty, then you’ve definitely heard about hyaluronic acid. This star is important to your skin’s ability to retain moisture as it attracts and locks in water. It instantly hydrates skin, and with regular use, you can enjoy longer-term results: plumper skin and less wrinkles.
Dehydrated skin may actually be caused by low ceramides so adding them into your skincare routine is the ideal move. Ceramides help retain moisture in your skin and strengthen its protective barrier, shielding your skin from pollutants and irritants.
Here’s another familiar name in K-beauty skincare and one of the best ingredients to help with dehydrated skin. Niacinamide builds proteins, maintains hydration, and defends against stressors. It also helps your body to naturally produce more hyaluronic acid.
4. Shea Butter
This skincare ingredient softens and nourishes skin, locking in moisture for long-lasting hydration and protection.
5. AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)
Being careful with your exfoliation is an important tip when dealing with dehydrated skin. AHA is recommended for you as it removes dead skin cells and help make way for new ones gently. It works wonders in keeping your skin plump, bouncy, and smooth.
Okay, this sounds intimidating and a lot like making kimchi or kombucha but hear us out. Fermented ingredients are actually great in terms of strengthening your skin barrier, increasing the potency of your skincare (without leading to harshness), and helping them go deep within your skin.
These ingredients are great for drawing in moisture, giving your skin that soft and bouncy feel, and fighting off damage. If you want to stave off the dull effects of skin dehydration, then amino acids and peptides are here for you.
Like most of the ingredients in this list, Glycerin draws moisture from the environment and hydrates your skin. It even enters your skin barrier and keeps the hydration locked in for several days!
If you have acne-prone skin, you may have heard of Centella already. But we're here today to talk about how it helps with dehydrated skin. Centella Asiatica is great at helping your skin barrier retain moisture, dealing with sensitive skin, and reducing redness. It also recommended during seasons when temperatures are unpredictable to help soothe the stress on your skin.
10. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a classic when it comes to skin care. When dealing with dehydrated skin, however, aloe vera provides your skin barrier with its own little moisture reservoir which your skin can access anytime it needs. This is on top of its more prominent skincare benefits like soothing irritated skin.
Skincare for dehydrated skin
1. Wash away dirt and your worries.
If you have dehydrated skin, you shouldn’t worry about double cleansing as this actually works well for your skin concern. You should just be careful to replenish any oils or proteins that your cleansers may have stripped off.
🚨 If your skin feels tight after washing, you may need to change your cleanser. 🚨
When you have dehydrated skin, exfoliating less gives you more benefits. Too much exfoliation is one cause of dehydrated skin, so cut back to once a week and observe how your skin reacts. In this case, gentle exfoliants like PHA or AHA are going to be your best friends.
3. Prep your skin with toners
You can never go wrong with the right toner. This step in your skincare routine gives you a deeper cleanse, restore nutrients that may have been stripped off by cleansing or exfoliating, and helps your skin absorb skincare products better.
It’s easy to confuse essences with toners but those two actually have different uses. Toners help prep your skin for the next steps of your skincare routine while our friend the essence brightens your complexion and boosts hydration—exactly what you need with dehydrated skin.
Don’t skip your serum! Some people may think these are non-essential but they come with a slew of skincare benefits especially when you have dehydrated skin. Serums dive deep into your skin, helps it absorb skincare products faster and better, and delivers long-term results.
Try serums with hyaluronic acid and antioxidants to hydrate and protect your skin barrier.
6. Moisture is our best friend.
Moisture and hydration are two different things but using moisturiser when your skin is dehydrated can still help. Moisturiser locks in the hydration and nutrients that you’ve built up during the previous steps of your skincare routine AND helps restore your skin’s barrier. It’s a win-win so go ahead and reach for that bottle!
🔎 Learn more about hydration vs. moisture and what your skin may need HERE.
7. Roll out the sheet masks
Think of sheet masks as your runway to radiant, lively skin. They are well-known and well-loved for being instant pick-me-ups for your complexion—perfect for the dullness caused by dehydration.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. SPF is key to keeping your skin glowing and healthy. UVA and UVB rays can cause more problems with your dehydrated skin and exacerbate the already existing ones, especially wrinkles and pigmentation. So always remember, rain or shine and indoors or outdoors—SPF IS A MUST.
9. Kiss, kiss, hydrate and love 💋
Another sign of dehydration is cracked lips which can be both painful and unpleasant when applying makeup. Give yourself plump, juicy lips with some moisturizing lip balms.
More ways to care for dehydrated skin
Skincare works wonders in treating and caring for dehydrated skin but it’s always best to support your K-beauty routine with a healthy lifestyle and some added help.
- Drink water. Listen, your skin is dehydrated. Proper hydration is always important but with your skin parched this is especially needed.
Eat water-rich foods to boost hydration. Try munching on some:
- Spray some water mist on your face, especially if you’re out and about on a hot day.
- Use a humidifier in your room on in other dry environments where you spend a lot of time in.
With all that info, we can shorten our recommendations for dealing with dehydrated skin to the following:
- Strengthening your skin barrier is key to keeping your skin healthy.
- Natural and gentle ingredients that provide hydration are your friends.
- HYDRATE. Drink water to support your skincare routine.
There you have it, lovelies! Our guide to treating and caring for dehydrated skin. Dealing with any kind of skin concern can be stressful, but remember to be kind to yourself and patient with the process. Your skin will heal with time and the right care. Fighting! 🍑✨