Dehydration can make the skin feel and look much like a piece of parchment, rough on the surface and lot's of fine feather lines and a taught, dry sensation.
Remember dehydration is not a condition whereby the skin is lacking oil it is when the skin is lacking moisture, so simply slathering on a thick cream is not the answer.
Often when the skin is very dehydrated it is coupled with increased skin sensitivity so you’ll need to be cautious and not to be aggressive in your approach to treating it. As the skin becomes increasingly dehydrated the barrier function becomes impaired (gaps appear and the skin lifts/flakes in the upper epidermis), this in turn leads to the skin becoming increasingly sensitised.
Some key things you can do to effectively treat dehydration are:
Since you don't want to over exfoliate or irritate the skin but you do need to keep is soft, smooth and polished try using one of the new forms of micro foliation (a mini exfoliation process) the great thing about these products is that you can use them daily, so you can have a flake free day.
Microfoliants normally contain a rice-based powder, skin brighteners and anit inflammatories. If you are happy to keep your exfoliation down to twice weekly try using salicylic acid or lactic acid exfoliants over scrubs or peels as they can smooth the skin without any associated irritation.
I’d recommend you apply a hydrating gel mask or if the skin is sensitised and needing some TLC apply a multi vitamin mask that contains a good dose of Beta Glucan, a fantastic ingredient for repairing the skin. Apply the mask and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes at least twice a week, you can easily fit this in your routine by applying it whilst you’re making breakfast in the morning or sitting in the bath at night or watching the TV, follow this immediately with a hydrating booster then seal in the effects with your moisturiser.
Moisturisation is a very important step. A moisturiser’s function is to seal and protect the skin from the environment. To reduce the need to apply lashings of your moisturiser (not only costly but unnecessary) to a skin that feels tight and has patches of dryness, firstly spritz the skin with a hydrating toner that contains Hyaluronic Acid. The Hyaluronic Acid holds approximately a 1,00 times its own weight in moisture which means the skin will feel great, hydrated and moisturised because it works by evening the skins porosity (hydrates the dry patches).
Once spritzed, you will only need to apply about a pea sized blob of moisturiser. If you work in air conditioning then the spritz toner is a great product to keep in your handbag as you can spray a fine mist over your make up to rehydrate the skin and help avoid that 4 o clock parched look.
The best moisturiser for an impaired barrier function (goes hand in hand with dehydration) is one that is designed to actually repair it. Find moisturisers and therapeutic balms that will help shield the skin against the environment and control and protect the moisture loss of the skin. Look for the ones made with silicones that coat and protect the skin coupled with evening primrose oil and Shea butter to moisturise and prevent further moisture loss.
Eat good fats/oils found in oily fish, avocados, nuts etc. Plenty of omega oils, essential fatty acids are key components for a healthy moisturised skin.
Remember to avoid
1) The sun it can really dehydrate the skin.
2) Heating or air con as both strip the skin of moisture, remember to keep spritzing with your toner throughout the day.
3) Products that can be drying to the skin e.g. S.D. alcohol found in toners and clarifying lotions.
4) Reduce your alcohol consumption and beverages with a diuretic effect e.g. coffee.
Do all of the above and you will have a plump, moist skin simply bursting with moisture!
By Emma Hobson of the Dermal Institute, www.dermalinstitute.com.au