mature woman looking at mirror reflectionWhen your skin feels itchy or fine lines appear, is it dry or dehydrated? While dry skin is a specific skin type, dehydration is a sign you’re not getting enough water. Beyond aesthetics, dehydration affects the moisture barrier and how your skin protects the body from bacteria and infections.

Treatment focuses on replenishing and retaining hydration. If you’re concerned you have dehydrated skin, here’s what you should know.

Signs of Skin Dehydration

Although dry and dehydrated skin share many attributes, a lack of water can cause:

  • An itchy sensation
  • Visible cracks
  • An uneven texture or complexion
  • A dull or pale appearance
  • Sunken eyes, often accompanied by dark circles
  • Visible or more prominent fine lines and wrinkles
  • Tight-feeling skin
  • Increased sensitivity to sunscreen and cleansers
  • Poor absorption of skincare products

Dehydration is a sign your body is not getting enough water, due to your own intake or excessive sweating. In this case, skin symptoms might be accompanied by dry mouth, lightheadedness, dizziness, weakness and elevated heart rate.

Certain lifestyle factors can also contribute to the development of dehydrated skin:

  • A nutrient deficiency
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Increased stress
  • Using too many or the wrong skincare products
  • Sharp changes in temperature
  • Consuming too much caffeine or alcohol
  • Routinely using swimming pools
  • Excess sun exposure
  • Over-exfoliating
  • Over-exercising
  • Using diuretics

Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin

By contrast, “dry” describes a specific skin type that does not hold onto oils or moisture as well, through your natural composition or age. Your skin may also feel drier when the humidity decreases or this change could be hormonal.

You’re also more likely to develop a scaly, flaky texture and redness. These factors may be accompanied by another dermatological condition like acne, eczema or psoriasis.

How to Rehydrate Your Skin

If left untreated, dehydrated skin will not hold onto moisture or protect your body as effectively. To improve hydration, start with the following lifestyle and skincare changes:

  • Drink Enough Water: Keep track of your daily water intake and set reminders to hydrate if you’re falling behind.
  • Prioritize Sleep: Strive for a minimum of seven hours to allow your skin to repair itself and avoid dullness or puffiness.
  • Use a Humidifier: Supply your skin with additional moisture and lessen feelings of tightness and itchiness.
  • Moisturize with Skincare: Look for products with glycerin and lactic acid, as well as ceramides, a naturally occurring substance in the skin to help it hold onto moisture. Finish with sunscreen to lessen the risks of UV exposure.
  • Watch Your Diet: Eat more fruits, vegetables and lean protein, while decreasing alcohol intake. Also look for foods with a higher water content.
  • Be Strategic With Exfoliation: Exfoliation improves cell turnover, allowing the skin to absorb more moisture and improving its response to products. Yet over-exfoliating can disturb the moisture barrier, so aim for two to three times a week.
  • Look Into Professional Skincare: Visit a dermatologist to identify any underlying skin conditions. Beyond your at-home routine, consider a facial that focuses on hydrating deeper layers of the skin.

To learn more about skincare or schedule a facial, contact Catherine & Company today!