We all love summer – hot, sunny days and balmy nights. But the sun is one of the main causes of dry and dehydrated skin, making it look older, duller and feeling a bit tight and rough.
CAUSES OF SKIN DEHYDRATION
The main culprits for dehydrated skin are the usual suspects – sun, alcohol and bad diet – and they all come together in one big hit over the holiday season.
The sun causes the greatest dehydration – especially the UVA rays.
Aging is also a big factor and while we can’t stop aging but we can work with it. Our skin gets dehydrated as we get older because it gets thinner and therefore more permeable – so we lose water. The silver lining is that because our skin is thinner and more permeable it absorbs the moisture contained in hydrating products much more readily.
Surprisingly, your skincare routine can do more harm than good so it’s a good idea to get it right. Harsh cleansers like soap can strip the natural, protective oils from your skin – those oils are there to stop water leaving. I have said this a lot and here I go again: you really do not want squeaky clean skin. If it feels like that it’s because you’ve stripped away the good stuff. With exfoliating – a little bit is good but again don’t scrub away all the good oils.
Not to be a killjoy, but alcohol sucks the life out of your skin. It’s a diuretic and suppresses the hormone vasopressin which helps regulate your internal water levels. The morning after a big night you feel it in your body and your skin shows it. Coffee has a similar effect, although not as dramatic. And of course, smoking is a real no-no.
Another unavoidable element of modern life for office workers that’s detrimental to healthy skin is air-conditioning. It drags moisture out of your top layers, creating the dreaded dehydrated skin feel.
HOW TO TELL IF YOU HAVE DEHYDRATED SKIN
There is an easy way to tell if you’ve got dehydrated skin just think of a grape and a raisin. A grape is plump, smooth and juicy. A raisin is just a grape that’s had all the moisture pulled out.
Just like a raisin, the signs you’re dehydrated are dull, lifeless skin that feels tight and rough. Looking in the mirror, you’ll see your wrinkles look deeper and your fine lines are more pronounced.
The good news is, unlike that raisin – which can’t be turned back to a grape – you can restore your skin’s vitality.
FIXES FOR DEHYDRATED SKIN
Stay out of the sun as much as possible. Admittedly, it's not that easy coming in summer, but wearing a hat and SPF is a must.
Hats and SPF are critical when out in the sun
On the subject of SPF I’m going to be a bit controversial here – I don’t agree with skincare products with SPF in them – whether its make-up or moisturiser. I think it leads to a false sense of security. I have yet to see an SPF product that doesn’t advise re-application after 3-4 hours and that is actual hours not time in the sun. And I haven’t seen anyone who reapplies their make-up or moisturiser every three or four hours!
Find a gentle, natural cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin – there are plenty out there.
Eating a healthy diet and drinking lots of water are a given. However, it’s almost impossible to drink your way to hydrated skin as the water you drink goes to your essential organs first.
So, a good face cream or moisturiser is critical. A face cream works because it has three elements: water, oils and what's known as humectant.
The first seems a no-brainer: water. I have heard people complain that the water is just a “filler” in a face cream. It's the opposite: it’s there for a reason: to provide hydration.
The oil softens and nourishes the skin and acts as an occlusive, stopping the water from escaping. And it’s best to choose a face cream that has beautiful, natural oils.
A humectant is a moisturising ingredient that attracts water and slows down evaporation. It draws the water up from your lower tissues and in humid conditions takes moisture from the air.
Finally, to get the very best from your face cream apply it to a damp face and within three minutes of having a shower or bath. That will help lock in that valuable H20.