Like the rest of the body, the skin can also suffer from dehydration, and this can have negative effects not just on the skin’s appearance but also its health. Luckily, treating this problem includes measures you can do anytime and anywhere. Here are a few tips that teach you how to treat dehydrated skin.

What causes dehydrated skin?

Treating dehydrated skin begins with understanding its underlying cause. Dehydrated skin often results from dehydration, which occurs when the body loses more fluid than it is taking in. Dehydration is more common than most people realize. One study found that 17-28% of older adults in the United States are chronically dehydrated. The body loses fluid through different ways including through sweating, urinating, and breathing.

Losing a lot of fluid also dehydrates the skin. The common signs of dehydrated skin include itchiness, a dull or uneven complexion, more noticeable shadows on the face, darker circles under the eyes, and more prominent wrinkles and fine lines. The skin also loses some of its elasticity, and the tell-tale sign is when skin takes more time to return to normal after you pinch it. The good thing is, it doesn’t take much to rehydrate the skin. Some tips you can follow are provided below.

Tip #1: Drink up!

One of the best ways to treat dehydrated skin is by addressing the root of the problem, which is by replenishing lost fluid. Daily fluid intake varies among individuals, but the recommended intake is around 3.7 liters for adult males and 2.7 liters for adult females. While this may seem too much, you can breathe a sigh of relief because you don’t have to drink that amount in plain water. Water is not your only source; you’ll be drinking other beverages and eating food that also contains fluid throughout the day. Drinking six to eight glasses of water and eating fluid-rich foods like fruits and vegetables are enough to replenish lost fluid in healthy individuals. Taking into account factors like the weather, level of physical activity, and health conditions is also recommended when determining how much fluid you should consume.

Tip #2: Moisturize, and moisturize some more

Another excellent way to treat dehydrated skin is by applying moisturizer. An effective moisturizer not only helps hydrate the skin, but it also locks in moisture to prevent further water loss. But bear in mind that not all brands are created equal. Some moisturizers are simply better at hydrating skin than others. Some moisturizers may also be unsuitable for certain skin types. Choosing the right moisturizer is crucial, especially if you have sensitive skin or other skin conditions.

Humeda, for instance, is an ideal moisturizer for those with acne-prone oily skin. It contains Pentavitin, a plan-derived ingredient that locks in moisture, and Hydranov PA, an algae-derived ingredient that boosts the production of epidermal hyaluronic acid. Together, Pentavitin and Hydranov PA provide intensive and long-lasting hydration without amplifying the oiliness of the skin. Another excellent example is NNO Nourishing Night Oil. NNO combines jojoba oil and vitamin E to counter the effects of aging and enhance microcirculation for clearer and more supple skin. If you are unsure which moisturizer fits your needs, it’s best to ask a trusted dermatologist, as they know best how to treat dehydrated skin.

Tip #3: Antioxidants are your friends

Getting antioxidants is another great way to treat dehydrated skin. We’ve all heard about how good antioxidants are at protecting skin against damage, promoting health, and maintaining a youthful glow. These are all true, and more than that, some antioxidants also promote skin hydration from within. For instance, research shows that not only does vitamin E protect the skin from damage caused by UV radiation and free radicals, but it also prevents skin from losing moisture. Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, increases the amount of hyaluronic acid in the skin. Retinoids, also derivatives of vitamin A, are known to decrease the loss of moisture through the skin, a process called transepidermal water loss or TEWL. Meanwhile, vitamin C offers protection against UV radiation.

Of course, the best way to get antioxidants is by eating antioxidant-rich food, particularly fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits, for example, are rich in vitamin C while yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin A. But if you’re interested in taking them as oral supplements instead, it’s again best to consult with your doctor.

Tip #4: Limit alcohol intake

Limiting your alcohol intake also helps treat dehydrated skin. Alcohol is a diuretic, a substance that promotes urine production, and this increases the amount of lost fluid. Research shows that alcohol inhibits the release of vasopressin, a hormone that increases water reabsorption by the kidneys. Too much alcohol can cause your body to lose more water than usual, and this can eventually result in dehydrated skin. If you enjoy having a drink every now and then, you can prevent dehydration by limiting your alcohol intake to recommended levels (2 drinks a day for males and 1 drink a day for females). Drinking alcohol slowly and increasing your non-alcoholic fluid intake can also counter the dehydrating effects of alcohol.

Tip #5: Take it easy with the triple-shot latte

Let’s face it: getting through a hectic day can be extremely difficult without caffeine. But while that large iced coffee might perk you up, too much caffeine can also cause dehydration. This is because caffeine, like alcohol, is a diuretic that increases fluid loss. And if you’re already the type to forget to drink water regularly, drinking too much coffee may aggravate already dehydrated skin. Fortunately, you don’t have to completely cut off coffee from your life. Studies show that it takes at least five cups of coffee a day for caffeine to have a significant dehydrating effect. So go ahead and enjoy some coffee. Just make sure you don’t drink too much.

Tip #6: Minimize skin damage

Dehydrated skin is basically compromised skin. Adequate hydration is essential to keeping the skin healthy and glowing. Dehydration, on the other hand, makes skin more sensitive and prone to damage. Worse, the itchy feeling that comes with dehydration can make you want to scratch and pick on your skin. Given the reduced integrity of dehydrated skin, it’s best to avoid substances and activities that cause skin damage. This means stepping out of the sun, avoiding extreme temperatures and low humidity, and staying away from soaps and detergents with harsh chemicals, as these have been identified as climatic and chemical aggressors. Remember, steering clear of factors that adversely affect the skin is just as important as actively treating dehydrated skin.

Tip #7: Get enough rest and sleep

Learning how to treat dehydrated skin is of course incomplete without getting enough rest and sleep. Recent studies show that people who get only six hours of sleep or less each night are 16-59% more likely to be dehydrated than people who get eight or more hours of sleep every night. Researchers speculate that it has to do with sleep deprivation disrupting the release of vasopressin, which the body releases more rapidly in the latter stages of the sleep cycle. So avoid staying up too late and develop healthy sleeping habits. Getting a full night’s sleep regularly, along with other measures discussed earlier, can help treat dehydrated skin.


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Article Reviewed by: Dra. Carol Carpio