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How to Spot if Your Skin is Dehydrated

skin dehydrated

It can be easy to think that oily skin doesn’t get dehydrated, but do you know that thirsty skin and dry skin aren’t the same thing? While dry skin is a base skin type, all skin types can get dehydrated by the environment, changing seasons and indoor heating. Feeling extra oily? That might actually be a sign that your skin is dehydrated and has tried to replace the lack of water by increasing oil production.

Dehydrated skin is something that needs combatting early, especially in the winter months when it can become sore and cracked over time. Tightness, itchiness, and flaky, scaly skin patches can all be a sign that your skin is suffering from a lack of moisture. Dehydration also makes the skin look older, enhancing wrinkles and making the surface appear dull and rough. So, with winter approaching, what can we do to make sure that we’re protecting our skin from dehydration? 

Know the Signs


Feeling like your skin is too tight for your face is a definite sign of dehydration. You might feel it especially when you’ve spent a lot of time in a central heated room, or after you’ve washed your face with an astringent cleanser.


Itchy skin can also be a sign of dehydration, although this can also be a sign of more severe skin conditions, so see your GP if it carries on. Whatever the cause, it’s really important not to scratch it. You’ll only make it sore, and more difficult to heal. 

Lines When Pinched

Pinching the skin on your arm is a good test for moderate to severe dehydration in the entire body, but pinching the skin on your face can be a good test of skin dehydration too. If you pinch a little of the skin and it forms into lines, you’ve got thirsty skin to deal with. Being dehydrated ages your skin, and makes wrinkles appear more pronounced, something we all want to avoid.

Rough Patches

Rough patches of skin, and the ever dreaded flakiness that comes with them, are a sure sign that your skin is dehydrated. No one wants the horrible after effects of trying to apply foundation to a flaky forehead, so it’s best to listen to your skin on this one and give it some extra care.

Tingling or Stinging

Tingling and stinging are both signs that your skin is extremely dehydrated. Like itchiness, it’s best to see a GP if the symptoms persist for more than a couple of days, as it might be something more serious. It also means that your skin is more likely to split or crack, so take care of it. 

Products to Use 

Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise 

It doesn’t matter what skin type you are, you should use some kind of moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated. If you are worried about it making your skin increasingly oily or making you break out, consult with a dermatologist about which type will best suit your skin.

Change Up Your Cleanser

If your skin is dehydrated, your current cleanser just might not be cutting it. Try changing to a gel cream cleanser instead, not only is it more hydrating, it also soothes and calms the skin. Don’t be tempted to use an exfoliating cleanser in the hope of scraping the flaky skin off, it’s too harsh for sensitive, dehydrated skin and will make the problem worse.

Try a Barrier Balm

Cold, windy weather is often our worst enemy when it comes to keeping our skin soft and hydrated. In the winter, we all know that lip balm is our best friend, but how many of us have used a protective facial balm? Rub a little into areas that are most likely to suffer from the cold weather, like the lips, nose and cheekbones, for extra protection against its dehydrating effects. 

Don’t Forget the SPF

In summer, we lather ourselves in sunscreen whenever we leave the house, it’s in our body lotion, in our BB cream, and in our handbags. In the winter, however, it can be easy to forget that the sun can still have a damaging effect on our skin. Mix a little SPF into your moisturiser or foundation to protect against its dehydrating effects.

Products to Avoid 

Acne Treatments 

I know it can feel like breakouts are more important to prevent than dehydrated skin, but I promise you that a little break from harsh cleaners will be good for both. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are found in lots of acne treatments, and can make your skin more dehydrated. Try using a topical cream on problem areas while your skin recovers.

Foaming Cleansers 

High foam products, as well as those with artificial fragrances, are notorious for drying out the skin. This applies to both foaming cleansers and soaps, so give them a miss if your skin is feeling dehydrated, and be sure to lather on the moisturiser.

Environmental factors

Wear a Scarf 

It might seem like a strange tip, but wearing a scarf can be a great way to protect your skin from the elements. Pull it up over your lips and nose to stop them getting chapped, or hold it up to protect your face in strong wind. Plus, you’ll be cosy too. 

Use Tepid Water

It can be tempting to wash in hot water during the winter, especially when you’ve just come out of the cold, but it’s a sure way to rob your skin of moisture. Instead, wash in tepid water with a gentle cleanser, it’ll stop you having a red face and your skin will thank you for locking in the moisture. 

Drink More 

Hydration on the inside is just as important as hydration on the outside. Add a couple of extra glasses of water in between your coffee fixes to see improvements on your face, it’ll help keep it hydrated and clear up blemishes too.

At Vivderma, we know all about how dehydrated your skin can get, without you even realising it. From emergency fixes, to long-term prevention routines, we can give your skin a helping hand when it comes to moisture.

For our full range of clinical solutions, head over to our homepage or call us today on 01484 538 967.


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