When you’re suffering from dehydration and sensitivity, it can really affect your skin in more ways that one. Not only will you be prone to redness and discomfort, you skin may look dull, dry, wrinkled, and taut. It will also be more susceptible to acne and heal slower.
If you need a reminder on how bad dehydrated skin can end up, check out the worst my skin has ever looked. If you’re not sure whether dehydration and sensitivity are what’s causing your issues, find out here.
To start on the road to healing, it’s imperative to treat the root causes of dehydration and sensitivity: irritation because of improper skin care.
Start using a more gentle cleanser
The first line of treatment for dehydration and sensitivity is removing the strong foaming cleansers from your routine. They are often overly surfactant (remove too many oils) and too high a pH. This begins every day with a helping of irritation and dryness. Instead, use a gentle, fragrance free, non-foaming cleanser (I’d recommend something creamy like Neutrogena Ultra Gentle or gentle like Garnier Micellar Water)
Lose the irritating ingredients
Other than highly-foaming cleansers, there’s a ton of other sneaky ingredients that will upset your skin and cause the telltale symptoms of sensitivity. Plant extracts, essential oils and drying alcohols are a no-go. They offer little to no benefit to the skin, are proven to be irritating, can be dangerous, and further compromise the skin barrier and encourage precious water to evaporate faster. Check all your products, especially highly scented serums or moisturisers, for these ingredients and if you find any, toss them.
Switch out your moisturiser
You should be using a moisturiser that contains plenty of water-binding humectant ingredients. Unlike some other types of ingredients, humectants attract water to come from the air and the deeper layers of your skin to the outer skin cells, which is perfect for tackling dehydration. Two popular humectants are hyaluronic acid and glycerin. I personally use Hada Labo Premium Lotion, a watery gel-serum that sinks in fast and makes your skin feel super plump.
Occlusives are another category of moisturiser ingredients, that this time literally form a layer to prevent water from evaporating from the skin. You should trap in all the good hydration you got from your humectant moisturiser whenever possible with an occlusive layer, like Vaseline. This will prevent trans-epidermal (from-the-skin) water loss ruining all your hard work and drying your skin right back out again. Don’t worry, the fear of mineral oil and petroleum products is a myth.
You didn’t irritate your skin in a day, and you won’t heal it in a day either. Treating dehydration and sensitivity is less to do with taking action and more a lot of sitting back and waiting. Focus on being consistent with your routine and you’ll see results in the long term.