Skin Dehydration

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 Posted by Matt

Skin dehydration can affect all skin types and people of any age. Often people associate dehydration just with dry skin but this is wrong - even the oiliest of skin can become chronically dehydrated.

Oil and water content in the skin are two completely different things altogether. Skin dehydration occurs when the water content is lost from the cells of the outermost layer of the skin (stratum corneum).

The stratum corneum cells (of a healthy skin) hold 10% water content, when this percentage drops below it is then classed as dehydrated.

The skin's outermost layer acts as a barrier to our body, when functioning correctly it stops things escaping and also stops things penetrating into us. When the skin becomes dehydrated it causes tiny cracks and fissures in the barrier. The water then evaporates through these cracks, this is known as Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL)
Things can then also penetrate the skin which can lead to irritation and infection.

There are many external factors that can cause the skin to loose its water content these include:

  • Soap or other alkaline products
  • Alcohol, (found in many harsh acne treatments)
  • The use of very hot water
  • Excessive exfoliation or too vigorous exfoliation
  • Drinking alcohol in large amounts
  • Central heating & air conditioning
  • Extreme weather
(Soap and alcohol strip away the skin's natural barrier very easily so the avoidance of these two is of paramount importance).

The effects of dehydrated skin can include the following:
  • Fine lines
  • Wrinkles
  • Premature ageing!!!
  • Redness
  • Soreness
  • Irritation
  • Infections
  • Itchy skin
  • Flaky skin
  • Skin tightness
  • Skin feels shrunken
There are ways to tell if your skin is dehydrated. You may notice some of the above, or see a tight shine to your skin (skin looks almost as if it is very oily).
The appearance of very fine lines running across your skin which 'kris-kross' when you move your skin with your finger. You may also notice fine age lines appear more pronounced.

You can prevent your skin becoming dehydrated by the following:
  • Maintain a healthy diet and steer away from salts in food that absorb the water and dehydrate your system.
  • Avoid harsh cosmetics and skin products that contain alcohol or soap as these strip the skin's barrier and lead to more dehydration.
  • When using central heating, place bowls of water near to or on radiators as this adds moisture to the air and stops it being so dry and dehydrating. You can also get tubes that you fill with water and clip onto the radiator.
To rectify dehydration in the skin, you need to topically apply skin care products. Applying products topically means they can penetrate into the skin straight away and start working, as the skin is the last to benefit from anything that is absorbed by the body internally.
Use products containing Hyaluronic Acid because this clever ingredient holds up to a 1000 times its own weight in water and will saturate the outer skin cells with the hydration needed.
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