Life is all about balance. And skin health is no exception. To maintain moisture and stay hydrated, skin needs healthy levels of both water and oil. Can’t get enough lotions, creams, and moisturizers, no matter how much you slather on? Dehydration may be the culprit. That said, dry skin types aren’t the only sufferers—oily complexions can lack hydration, too. In fact, sufficient water levels help cells maintain moisture, which harmonies skin by balancing oil production. So ditch the drought and say, “bye bye dry!”
Dehydration is one of the most prevalent skin issues, affecting up to 96% of the population. Dehydrated skin shows signs of aging, loses collagen and elasticity, and is robbed of vital nutrients. Having fluid between our cells is necessary for proper skin function. It feeds the skin, carrying vitamins, nutrients, and water vital to cellular function, plus acts as a waste collector for the cells, ridding skin of accumulated “junk.” If there isn’t an exchange of nutrients, water, and waste, cells can’t function and will eventually die.
To imagine the dysfunction dehydrated skin causes, think of a dry riverbed. Boats cannot travel on it and nothing can flourish and live in it. There must be water in order for life to thrive. There must be water in order for boats to be able to carry things from one side to the other. This is very much like what happens inside your skin. Without the fluid between the cells, nutrients can’t flow through and waste can’t exit.
As we age, our skin becomes more dehydrated naturally, which is a key factor in the process of both visible signs of aging (wrinkles, fine lines, premature aging, lackluster, scaly, taut skin), and loss of vitamins and nutrients, which are unseen culprits that contribute to aging.
Fortunately, there are lifestyle behaviors that can help us maintain healthy hydration levels as we age. Below we share a few daily tips to prevent dehydrated skin, but first, we bust a few myths.
Myths about Dehydrated Skin
People often associate oil with hydrated skin, but this is only half of the issue. Your skin may be oily but still lack hydration from water, which affects its health and appearance.
One common misconception about hydration is that if your skin is oily on the surface, it’s sufficiently hydrated. This isn’t true. If you have oily skin it does not mean you do not need hydration (fluid). On the same token, hydration paired with deep pore cleaning will reduce the overproduction of oil.
Oil doesn’t hydrate. Only water and emulsions can do that. However, healthy natural oils are an important factor in keeping skin hydrated, as they create a barrier on the skin, sealing in moisture. We always advise spraying a toner on skin before applying a treatment or moisturizing oil.
Tips to Stay Hydrated
Water intake is vital to healthy skin, but drinking water alone isn’t enough to keep skin adequately hydrated.
Sleep and stress are triggers for dehydration. Try to get your daily 8’s. 8 ounces of water 8 times a day and 8 hours of rest a night for 8x8x8! Your body weight and exercise level change the amount of water you need the 8×8 is a common benchmark to strive for, but some people can do with less.
Eat water-packed foods like watermelon, berries, grapes, grapefruit, lettuce, and tomatoes.
Eat flax, chia seeds and/or omegas.
Use a face serum with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate), squalane, or alpha hydroxy acids.
Improper cleaning, which strips skin of hydration. “Squeaky-clean” or taut skin should never be associated with clean skin. These are actually signs of dehydration. Soap and other alkaline cleansers do not have the required pH balance and are therefore damaging to your skin.
Skin damage, from harsh chemicals in your products to sun exposure, increases dehydration. Read your labels, switch up your products, and watch your sun exposure.
Lack of proper skin care can include everything from overexposure to sun, harsh facial scrubs (such as apricot-kernel based scrub), chemicals, not drinking enough water, smoking cigarettes, and/or certain medications.
Be on the lookout for skin-dehydrating ingredients such as alcohol, petroleum-based ingredients and “cones” (any ingredient that ends with c-o-n-e such as dimethicone, silicone, etc.).
Hot showers – as good as they feel, they’re super drying for the skin. Keep water temperatures tepid.
Alcohol and coffee are hydration hijackers, and as we age, we see the effects almost immediately. If you’re going to drink either one, load up on water before and after.
Lack of sweating helps keeps your pores working properly as well as rids the body of toxins. When you sweat although you are losing fluid, you are also eliminating toxins and keeping your pores clean. Clean pores and reduced toxic burden help maintain overall hydration.
Exposure to heat from the sun, furnaces, wood burning stoves and/or space heaters can rob skin of hydration. Stay mindful of this, even in winter months.
Hydration Boosters – BUY or DIY!
BUY: Milky Rich Facial Cleanser – A special blend of soothing botanicals removes dirt and impurities while moisturizing goat milk delivers restorative proteins, vitamins, and minerals, minerals to nourish the skin’s deepest layers.
DIY: Almond Cleanser
1/4 cup almonds
1/8 cup soy or goat milk
2 teaspoons honey
Place almonds in a mini food processor and grind until they become almond meal, but not butter. Add honey and mix again. Add milk and pulse 5-7 times.
Directions for use: Place a dime-sized amount in the palm of your hand and add a few drops of water. Gently apply in circular motions with your ring and middle finger, using light pressure. The circular motion increases blood flow, opens pores and aids in the “cleansing” process. Using your weakest fingers ensures non-damaging exfoliation. Rinse with warm water.
How to store: Keep in refrigerator for up to one week in an airtight container. When storing face products, it is best to use glass. Plastic can leach chemicals into your pure, homemade products. You can recycle old jelly and peanut butter jars or find smaller glass containers anywhere from Costco to Michaels Crafts. If you want to make extra in advance, it can be frozen in ice cube trays (filled 1/3). Once frozen, simply break your cubes out and store them in a glass container in the freezer. This will give you easy-to-use single servings to defrost as needed.
BUY: Full Infusion Facial Serum – This multi-oil moisturizer enriches skin with beneficial moisture while helping to balance oil production for a vibrant, even complexion.
1/8 teaspoon flax seed oil
1/8 teaspoon fish oil
1 capsule of vitamin E
1/8 teaspoon evening primrose oil
1 teaspoon safflower oil
Mix oils together in a small glass bowl.
Directions for use: After cleansing and toning your skin, place 3 drops of the serum in the palm of your hand. Rub hands together and gently apply to face. Let absorb for 1-2 minutes before applying moisturizer. This will ensure that the nutrients and actives penetrate deeply into the skin.
How to store: Keep serum in a glass airtight container the refrigerator for up to 8 weeks