What you need to know about dehydrated skin

I love water. Drinking it, showers, swimming, the ocean, cold weather...it's all wonderful.

So it comes as no surprise that I'm currently obsessed with hydrating skincare. This Pisces has been doing a lot of research on dehydrated skin and how to deal with it.


What is dehydrated skin?

The skin needs both water and oil to be healthy.

Not enough oil = dry skin.

Not enough water = dehydrated skin.

Dehydration is a skin condition while dry skin is a skin type. All skin types can be dehydrated. You can have dry, dehydrated skin and oily, dehydrated skin.

Yep, you read that right. Oily. Dehydrated. Skin.


A quick note on oily dehydrated skin

Sometimes, (excessively) oily skin is a sign of dehydration.

You may be outchea using African black soap to wash the face, stripping skin then slathering on an oil free moisturizer.

Kumbe stripping the skin of any oil without replacing it can cause the body to respond by producing even more oil. So we hop from one harsh skincare product to the next, getting oilier and more dehydrated.


Causes of dehydrated skin

Dehydrated skin can be caused by stress, the weather, sun exposure, over cleansing, over exfoliation - basically anything that strips the skin of moisture.


Symptoms of dehydrated skin

Hydrated skin is soft and smooth. Dehydrated skin is dull, flaky, tight, rough and irritated.

Some parts of oily dehydrated skin are dry and tight while others have excess oil. It is like combination skin on steroids.

Dry, dehydrated skin is mad tight and uncomfortable. It could even crack. Ouch.


How to treat dehydrated skin

Layering hydrating serums and moisturizers is the best way to treat dehydrated skin.

Hydrating serums contain humectants like glycerin, urea, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, honey and AHAs.

Hyaluronic acid is an amazing hydrator, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. Which is science speak for: a large glass of refreshing water for thirsty skin.

Seal in these humectants with moisturizing creams and/or oils to prevent the moisture from evaporating and leaving the skin.

Occlusive and emollient ingredients like plant oils, lanolin, beeswax, petrolatum, mineral oil and dimethicone are great ingredients to look for in moisturizers.

Simply applying a moisturizer like shea butter on dehydrated skin may smooth it, but it will still be dull and tight. The skin needs water to make it soft and plump.


Hydrating products to help heal dehydrated skin


Neutrogena Hydro Boost range available at Nakumatt Kenya.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost range available at Nakumatt Kenya. On top of the hydrating serum, apply either the water gel (normal to oily/combination skin) or cream gel (normal to dry skin).



Clarins Hydra Essentiel range available at Madora Kenya.

On top of the Bi-Phase serum, apply either the cooling gel (oily/combo skin), milky lotion (normal to dry) or silky cream (dry skin).



Clinique Moisture Surge range available at Lintons Beauty World.

On top of the concentrate (its a serum), apply the cream gel or overnight mask.



Avene Thermal Spring Water spray, available at various pharmacies.

This is ideal to freshen up on hot days. #MombasaNiJoto


Hydration tips

  • You don't need to buy every product in the respective ranges. Feel free to  mix and match. For example you could apply the Clarins serum and slather the Neutrogena water gel on top. No biggie.
  • Using a sheet mask often is a great way to hydrate the skin even more.

In Conclusion

We all need hydrating skincare, regardless of skin type. It makes it easier to address other skin concerns like acne.

Has your skin been dehydrated before? How did you treat it?