We are in week 4 of the skin sins series – blog posts dedicated to discussing lifestyle habits that can wreak short- and long-term havoc on your skin. I’ve talked about some major no-no’s so far, like sugar, skipping sleep, and smoking – but this week I’m covering a somewhat trickier sin: dehydration.
Unlike a dry skin type that’s chronically caused by a lack of skin lipids, dehydration is a temporary condition caused by lack of hydration or trans epidermal water loss (TEWL – where water molecules are lost via the epidermal layer of the skin). While it has many causes, dehydration only means one thing for your skin: discomfort. Inadequate hydration can lead to skin that feels dry and tight, and can eventually lead to a rough, scaly, flaky, or cracked texture. The difficult thing about quenching your skin’s thirst is knowing what dehydrates it in the first place. Here are 4 things you might be doing to dry out your skin, and solutions for each of them:
1. You’re going cleanser crazy.
Cleansers aren’t one-size-fits all, and using one that strips your skin’s protective hydrolipidic barrier away leaves you more vulnerable to TEWL. Know your skin type and choose a cleanser that’s gentle enough for you, but still effective.
2. You’ve tuned out toner.
Toning your skin post-cleanse restores its natural pH, leaving it ready to absorb essential ingredients from the products that follow. Forgetting it can mean your skin doesn’t reap all of the benefits a hydrating serum or moisturizer has to offer. At the same time, using harsh, alcohol-based toners can leave your skin thirsty. Use a water-based hydrating facial toner to replenish moisture and prep skin for the rest of your routine.
3. You’ve encountered medication dehydration.
Certain medications like decongestants can dehydrate you. Quench your thirst by upping your fluid intake and supercharging your daily skincare routine with a skin serum loaded with hyaluronic acid – a molecule that can hold up to 1000x its weight in water and bind it to the surface of your skin. Applied after your toner, it will help smooth and hydrate and even boost the efficiency of your moisturizer.
5. You’re forgetting about your body!
Your skin doesn’t stop below your neck, so why should your skin care? Smooth away dry, rough joints and get rid of dull skin cells with an ultra-rich body creme. Apply it just after you get out of the shower (remember to keep the water warm, not hot) so your skin stays smooth and protected throughout the day.
Could your skin use some extra hydration? Tell me your biggest skin sin in the comments below and stay tuned for another skin sin reveal next week!