Why Your Skin is Dehydrated: Causes and Prevention

Dehydrated skin is a result of literally lack of sufficient water [moisture] in your skin. This leaves your skin looking and feeling dull, rough, sensitive and uncomfortably tight. Different from dry skin, Click HERE for a guide on How To Tell if your Skin is Dehydrated.

Dehydrated skin – especially if you have normal, oily or combination skin types – is easy to identify and can be cause by many lifestyle and environmental factors including:

1. General Dehydration

Insufficient water intake daily can lead to dehydration that will quickly reflect on your skin. And we’re talking pure water here, not liquids in general.

Prevention: Keeping in mind that dehydration also leads to an array of other problems including reduced energy and kidney problems, aim to drink 8 – 11 glasses per day for optimal hydration and general good health.

2. Extreme Weather

Sudden changes in the weather – without subsequently altering your skin care routine can lead to dehydrated skin. This is especially so when you are exposed to cold wintery air, harsh winds or lower humidity and higher temperatures than your body is acclimatised to.

Prevention: When you are exposed to sudden temperature changes that could dehydrate your skin, intentionally drink more water, and add a hydrating serum into your skin care routine as a preventative measure.

3. Heaters

Room heaters dry out the moisture in the air, subsequently leaving you in an extremely dry environment that could dehydrate your skin over time.

Prevention: If you must have a heater on for an extended period of time [2 hours or more] bring in a humidifier into the room to add the level of moisture in your environment, and do not sleep with the heater on – your skin and your electricity bill will thank you.

4. Air Conditioners

Like heaters, prolonged exposure to air conditioners – even when its hot and humid out will dry out the air and can subsequently dry out your skin making it get dehydrated.

Prevention: Avoid having the AC in your office and car on throughout despite the fact that it feels oh, so comfortable, opting instead for a fan for prolonged use.

5. Extremely Hot Showers

Like every normal human being, you probably wash your face when in the shower…and like most women, your shower is probably scalding hot. Extremely hot water strips your skin of all its natural oils that keep your skin feeling supple and may leave your skin feeling dry and dehydrated, especially if you do not have a solid post-shower skin care routine.

Prevention: Turn down the heat. Extremely hot showers affect the skin on your entire body, not just your skin. After a hot shower, rinse your face with cold water and ensure you use a skin serum or moisturiser with hydrating properties to replenish your skin’s moisture.

6. Overusing Face Scrubs

Face scrubs are designed for deep face cleaning and should not be used every day – even if you have an oily skin type – as they will continuously strip your skin off essentials oils and moisture.

Prevention: Use a face scrub once a week [twice if you have oily acne-prone skin] and avoid harsh face scrubs that leave your skin feeling dry and tight immediately after use.

7. Breastfeeding

Over and above the obvious loss of liquids from your body while breastfeeding, lactating mothers generally produce less hyaluronic acid, collagen and elastin as a result of reduced estrogen and progesterone levels, post-partum which could lead to dry, flaky, dehydrated skin.

Prevention: Drink at least two litres of water daily when breastfeeding to maintain optimum hydration levels and use heavier moisturisers and oils on your skin during that period complement your skin’s natural oils and lock in moisture.

8. Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is known as a diuretic. The ethanol in alcohol inhibits the production of vasopressin, the hormone that regulates water excretion, making you pee more.

Prevention: Drink less alcohol – obviously – and especially avoid daily alcohol consumption. You may have read somewhere that drink a glass of water after every alcoholic drink or two, which works by generally making your stomach fuller, hence slowing down your rate of drinking, but it does not go a long way in keeping you hydrated – you’ll pee it away. Critical for your hydration is to ensure you have two to three [to four] glasses of water before you go to bed.

9. Excessive Caffeine Intake

Caffeine in large amounts is also considered a diuretic. So, if you’re in the habit of having four to five cups of coffee before lunch, this could be one of the factors causing your skin to look and feel dehydrated.

Prevention: Complement your intense caffeine habit with loads of water – think one for one – and stay well hydrated until the caffeine leaves your system. You also want to avoid drinking too much caffeine on an empty stomach, and going decaf.

10. Smoking & Vaping

Nicotine found in vapes and cigarettes cause your blood cells to narrow as your body attempts to counter the effect of the chemical on your body, hence reducing the amount of oxy-rich blood getting to your skin. This leaves your skin looking and feeling dull and dehydrated. Tobacco and affiliated carcinogens found in cigarettes are also known to damage collagen and elastin, making your skin feel dry and sensitive, all the while making wrinkles and fine lines more visible.

Prevention: Stop smoking – even that vape is not a healthier option.

11. Lack of Sleep

Lack of adequate sleep can prevent your skin from replenishing its lipid barrier, lowers your pH levels and is tied to transepidermal water loss, hence making your skin appear dull and dehydrated.

Prevention: Beauty Sleep is actually a thing! Ensure you get enough rest, and when you don’t or can’t, use products that will replenish your skin’s moisture levels.

12. Illness

You could have just come out of an illness that left you feeling of being dehydrated most of the time, and this will show on your skin.

Prevention: During illness, when you know you are not taking in or retaining enough water, use a heavy duty moisturiser or oils two to three times a day on your face and lips to supplement and lock in your skins natural oils preventing them from drying out and getting scally.

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