GLOW ACADEMY: KEEP SKIN WELL HYDRATED
Each of us has our own unique skin goals, the checkpoints on our ‘ultimate glow’ mood boards that we’re working towards. With such a diverse range of what we all want from our skin, no two people’s aims are necessarily going to be the same. We know that often deciding where to work backwards from when you’ve got the end of the journey in sight can be an overwhelming prospect. To help out, we thought we’d pull together some of the goals we hear most commonly from our Tropic community and guide you through those first steps on the journey to your dazzling destination. Welcome to Glow Academy...
If hydration is your #1 skin goal, you can’t get started without reading the lowdown on DEHYDRATED SKIN. Note; this blog is best read with a jug of water close at hand. We’ve got a feeling you may get thirsty.
SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS DEHYDRATED SKIN?
For beings that are 70 per cent water, we still just can’t get enough of it. When we’re losing more of this essential fluid than we’re taking in and our cells are craving it, dehydrated skin is our body’s way of sounding the alarm to let us know that we need to hit up the H₂0 and bring things back into balance.
We’ve got one quick misconception to debunk before we go any further – dehydrated skin is not the same as dry skin. Dry skin is a skin type that’s characterised by a lack of lipids, something that’s part of you genetically which you’ll be looking after for your entire life. Dehydrated skin is a skin condition largely influenced by external factors causing a lack of water in the skin’s upper layers, and it can flare up at any time for anyone, regardless of their skin type.
When dehydration hits, you’re likely to notice skin appearing dull (the opposite of dry skin’s inflamed redness) with shadowy, dark patches around the eyes and nose, plus fine lines and wrinkles will appear more visible. Still on the fence? Put your skin to the test by lightly pinching the back of your hand – if it takes a good few seconds to bounce back to its natural state, it’s a big indicator of dehydration.
WHAT CAN HAVE AN IMPACT ON DEHYDRATED SKIN?
Not drinking enough water! We know you’ve probably heard a thousand times that you should be drinking seven to eight glasses a day, but sometimes it’s easy for that to slip your mind as the ins and outs of life get in the way. By the time you realise that the last time you quenched your thirst was yesterday morning, your skin is already feeling the parching effects.
Nobody’s about to say that keeping fit is a bad thing, but who among us hasn’t hit the treadmill and been shocked at the sweaty mess they’re faced with in the mirror after? It’s the sign of a good workout, but as you’re sweating, you’re also losing water at a much higher rate than usual.
Ever wondered why ‘get some rest and drink lots of fluids’ seems to be the go-to from friends and family when you get sick? When you come down with a common illness like the flu or food poisoning, it’s very common for you to lose a lot of water and electrolytes (essential minerals that help keep you hydrated) all in one go, whether that’s through excessive sweating, sickness or diarrhea.
For all the lovers of a good old glass of red in the evening, this last one stings a bit. Alcohol can dehydrate skin cells fast due to its diuretic nature, meaning it makes your renal system remove fluid from your bloodstream much more quickly. The result? Those frequent trips to the bathroom that accompany particularly eggnog-filled Christmases or the booziest of wedding receptions.
HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF DEHYDRATED SKIN?
- If you know you’re bad at staying tap-happy throughout the day, set an alarm on your phone to remind you every 90 minutes over 12 hours. That way, you’ll be locking eight skin-satiating bouts of healthy hydration into your daily routine.
- However you like to exercise, make sure that a water bottle is never too far away so that you’re able to replace the precious H₂0 you’ve lost, whether you’re a devoted biker or a pavement pounder.
- Cabernet fans, we have good news! You don’t have to say goodbye to alcohol entirely. In fact, you can still make it a regular part of your week... in moderation. It’s just important that whatever your tipple of choice, you pour yourself a big old pint of water in between each glass to balance out the fluid levels in your body.
- When the weather takes a turn for the extreme, aim to drink more to account for its effects on the body. Summer sizzlers will naturally make you sweat more and a cold snap dries out your skin.
- You don’t have to get all your water straight from the tap. In fact, almost all living things contain water, so keeping your fridges bountiful with fruit and veg is a tasty way to top up your hydration intake while getting your eight glasses in. Start with cucumber (at 96 per cent water, it’s got the highest concentration of the cool stuff in any food) and work your way through other juicy goodies like mushrooms, tomatoes, melons and oranges.
WHICH INGREDIENTS ARE GOOD FOR DEHYDRATED SKIN?
Look out for skincare which features..
Water – OK, maybe this is cheating but there’s really nothing else that’s going to have as powerful an impact on dehydration. Search for products like toners or serums which have high water content.
Hyaluronic acid – The beauty industry byword for powerful hydration, this is also a humectant. That means it draws water to it once it’s applied to skin, whether that’s from the outside environment or deeper layers of the dermis.
Aloe vera – Both high in water content and a humectant, you’ll also also enjoy the added bonus of its powerful soothing and antioxidant properties.
THE DEHYDRATED SKIN FAQ
Can air conditioning make me dehydrated? On a sweltering summer’s day, there’s nothing like catching a blessed pocket of air-conditioned cool air, but we should also be aware that it can have a dehydrating effect. As it lowers humidity levels and draws water out of the air, our skin may start to feel and look parched, so the typical advice to have a glass of something refreshing on hand at all times becomes all the more important. If you’re going to crank up the AC, just keep drinking!
Does caffeine cause dehydration? This myth sometimes gets bandied about because of caffeine’s nature as a mild diuretic, but stop right there before you throw away your brew of choice! Your morning cuppa is still very much allowed, as the levels of caffeine in drinks like tea and coffee are so low that you really won’t notice any dehydrating effects. In fact, the water that you’re mixing them with is helping to contribute to your overall daily H₂0 anyway.