How to Treat Dehydrated Skin

If your skin is dehydrated, it can help to know what’s causing it and how to adapt your skin care. Mild dehydration affects many of us, and can affect the skin as well as other areas of the body.

If you are showing symptoms of dehydrated skin, this is a symptom of dehydration in other parts of the body. If your body uses more water than the amount you are drinking, you may be at risk of dehydration.

Here are the common signs to look out for, so you can ensure your skin gets the hydration it needs every day.

Dehydrated Skin

Hydration levels in your body are constantly changing and it is no different in your skin which can become dehydrated and start to look dull, dry and show signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles.

The surface of the skin has an invisible oil layer which acts as a barrier to stop moisture from escaping. This moisture barrier plays an important role in maintaining your water levels by slowing the movement of water out of the body and regulating the absorption of water into the body.

dehydrated skin

How can I tell if my skin is dehydrated?

The pinch test (or skin turgor test) is a quick and easy way to see how dehydrated you are. When pinched hydrated skin rapidly snaps back to its normal position, if it takes its time to return to its normal position then your skin (and the rest of your body) is probably dehydrated.

Other signs of dry skin may include:

  • Breakouts and irritation because dehydrated skin creates oils to make up for missing water, causing skin to sometimes feel oily and dry simultaneously.
  • Patches of dry, rough, scaly or itchy skin.
  • Noticeable fine lines.
  • Dull, “washed out” complexion.

Causes of dehydrated skin

If you have dehydrated skin, this means that your skin isn’t getting enough water. Lack of water (dehydration) could be the result of lifestyle or environmental causes, such as:

  • Wearing makeup
  • Diet
  • Weather
  • Incorrect use of products
  • Excessive sweating
  • Loss of fluids as a result of vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Sunburn

Older people and children may be at increased risk of dehydration. As you age, you lose your sense of thirst; while infants are more susceptible to diarrhoea and vomiting.

The role of moisturisers

Moisturiser helps prevent water loss from the skin’s surface, allowing the skin to rehydrate with water drawn up from the rest of the body.

The resulting hydration helps smooth the skin surface. Moisturisers may also help make the skin surface soft and more stretchy.

Difference between dehydrated and dry skin

There is a big difference between dry and dehydrated skin’s causes, though their common signs can be difficult to tell from one another. Dry skin is a skin type that you are born with (e.g. combination skin, oily skin); dehydrated skin is something that happens to your skin and is therefore a skin condition.

Dry skin is caused by the skin not producing enough natural oils to maintain hydration, and you may need to introduce solutions such as a dry skin gel. By contrast, dehydration in the skin is caused when you’re not drinking enough water alongside other factors.

How to treat dehydrated skin

If you have dehydrated skin, try to identify the cause of dehydration to find the solution. If you are unsure about whether you have dehydrated or dry skin, speak to a dermatologist as they can diagnose you based on your symptoms.

The appropriate treatment will depend on the level of dehydration in the skin. To treat mild dehydration in the skin, keep fluids up e.g. water and sports drinks with electrolytes. For children with dehydration, oral rehydration solutions are available over the counter.

How can Bio-Oil Skincare Oil help?

Bio-Oil Skincare Oil supplements the skin’s natural oil layer, helping to restore its barrier function and retaining moisture. It acts as an emollient, making the skin soft, smooth and supple while allowing skin to ‘breathe’ properly and maintain its normal physiology.

Bio-Oil Skincare Oil should be massaged in a circular motion into dehydrated skin (avoiding broken skin), twice daily, for a minimum of 3 months. Results will vary from individual to individual.

How to prevent dehydrated skin

Skin is the last organ in the body to receive nutrients; if you’re not drinking enough water, your skin will be one of the first places you’ll spot dehydration symptoms. While water intake is an important part of preventing dehydrated skin, it needs to be done in combination with:

  • Applying topical products as part of a skin care routine, to replenish your skin’s natural oil layer.
  • Drinking enough water while exercising, when sick, or in hot weather.
  • Avoiding sugary or caffeinated beverages.

Skincare routine tips

Your skin care routine should be tailored to your skin type (e.g. dry skin, combination skin), and needs to include ingredients that balance and replenish your skin’s natural oils. Water-based products are generally advised for skin with dehydration; however if you are showing symptoms of dry skin, this will require a different skin care routine and care regimen. It is possible for your skin to be both dehydrated and dry—in which case you should use a skin care oil with water.

What is Bio-Oil Skincare Oil used for?