Is Your Skin Dry or Dehydrated? Here's How to Tell
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Your skin is a dynamic organ that can generally compensate for changes in the environment and maintain hydration. But sometimes it needs a little help—that’s where effective moisturizing treatments come into play.
Your skin is dehydrated if...it suddenly (that’s the key word here) appears dull, becomes red and sensitive, or feels tighter than usual. Even the oiliest skin can experience a bout of dehydration as a result of dry weather, airplane travel, sun exposure, irritating ingredients, or a few too many cocktails. The good news: This, too, shall pass. The even better news: It’s easy to treat.
Here's The Plan
While your skin is having a thirsty spell, handle it with kid gloves—that is, übergentle products and a few simple lifestyle tweaks.
Dehydrated Skin: For Your Face
Wash wisely. You need a product that’s pampering and hydrating, like one of our favorites, micellar water. This no-rinse formula—think of it as a supercharged liquid makeup remover—contains micelles, tiny molecules that gently trap and remove dirt and oil without stripping skin (1), says Romanowski.
Increase water absorption. Right now your best ally is a humectant. This ingredient pulls water from the air and the deeper layers of your skin to intensely hydrate. Two of the most common are hyaluronic acid and glycerin (2 and 3). If you don’t want a rich cream, the new hydration serums are made for you: They have a lighter texture that’s perfect for normal to oily skin.
Watch your diet. Yes, you can moisturize skin from within—just pile your plate with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows these nutrients, found in flaxseed and many nuts and fish, can reduce inflammation and help strengthen skin cell membranes, improving their ability to hold on to precious moisture. As you fill up on omega-3s, increase your water intake and cut back on diuretics like caffeine and alcohol: For every glass of alcohol you down, your body can be depleted of the same amount of water and then some.
Hike the humidity. “An arid environment will grab moisture from any source it can find, including your skin,” says Idriss. The fix: a humidifier. Put one in your bedroom to create your own hydrating microclimate.
1. Simple Water Boost Micellar Cleansing Water ($9; drugstores)
2. L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care for Normal/Oily Skin ($18; drugstores)
3. Dior Hydra Life Deep Hydration Sorbet Water Essence ($73; Dior.com)