Here’s everything you need to know about dehydrated skin, according to The Skin Nerd

Do you know the signs of dehydrated or dry skin? Or how about the differences between dry and dehydrated skin, and how to treat it? Or that dehydrated skin can cause premature ageing?

Not many of us know everything there is to know about skincare, particularly when it comes to dehydration and what that means for our skin.

This is exactly why we decided to quiz The Skin Nerd herself, Jennifer Rock, on the difference between dry and dehydrated skin, the science behind it, the effects it can take on the skin and why it can lead to premature ageing, if this is something you may be concerned about.

What’s the difference between dry and dehydrated skin? 

The culprit behind any teeny fine lines and loss of elasticity could be dehydrated skin – not dry skin, there’s a difference. These could absolutely signal skin ageing, which is a normal, inevitable process, yet it’s surprising the havoc dehydration can cause on skin.  

First, it’s important to understand that dry skin and dehydration are very different. For starters, dry skin is a skin type that you’re born with, while dehydration is a skin condition that can affect anyone – whether you have dry, oily, or combination skin. In essence, if you have dry skin, you’re lacking sebum (aka oil, our skin’s natural moisturiser) and if your skin is dehydrated, you’re lacking water content.

What does dehydrated skin look like?

A diminished water supply in the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, can cause premature ageing in the form of “drinkles” (aka fine lines caused by dehydration), dullness, rough-textured skin, and a lack of plumpness. These “drinkles” only appear on the epidermis yet can deepen further into wrinkles if water isn’t replenished. 

How do we get dehydrated skin?

Unfortunately, dehydration occurs more frequently as we get older as our skin’s supply of hyaluronic acid and ceramides starts to deplete from our mid-twenties. To get nerdie, hyaluronic acid is a hero humectant which attracts and retains moisture to hydrate and plump, while ceramides are lipids (aka fatty molecules) that make up the lipid bilayer, otherwise known as the skin barrier, in the epidermis. 

Exposure to environmental irritants such as the weather, UV exposure, and pollutants can weaken the skin barrier to the point that it becomes more permeable. A compromised skin barrier allows more moisture to escape which equals further dehydration – not ideal. It’ll also let external aggressors enter which could spell inflammation, irritation and sensitivity.

More importantly, how do we hydrate dehydrated skin?

The good news? Dehydrated skin can be rectified with skincare that repairs the skin barrier and replenishes lost moisture. Thankfully, our skin’s supply of hyaluronic acid and ceramides can be “topped up” through our skincare. 

One of my favourite hydrating serums, the Medik8 Hydr8 B5, contains multiple molecular weights of hyaluronic acid to draw and anchor water into the upper and lower layers of skin. I like to think of hyaluronic acid as a water reservoir, as each molecule impressively holds 1000x its weight in water. I would then say to use a lipidic moisturiser like Skingredients Skin Good Fats which contains skin-native ceramide NP to boost barrier function and protect moisture stores. 

Finally, applying a daily broad-spectrum SPF is essential for protecting skin against UV damage. As mentioned above, exposure to UVB and UVA rays can weaken the skin barrier and cause dehydration – wearing SPF is a super-easy way to combat this. The Murad City Broad Skin Spectrum SPF 50 is fabulous because it provides broad-spectrum sun protection as well as shielding skin from the damaging effects of blue light from devices, pollution and infrared radiation.

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