Dehydrated skin is a condition caused by a lack of water, brought on by various factors, including the environment, medications, topical agents, aging, smoking and/or nutrition. The upper layers of the skin are hydrated from within, as fresh, hydrated cells make their way to the skin’s surface. The skin’s outermost layers form a protective barrier against chemicals, irritants and micro-organisms. When the waters and oils that form part of this barrier are out of balance, skin dehydration occurs.
Dehydration can affect all skin types, and comes and goes depending upon external and internal circumstances.
Characteristics of Dehydrated Skin
• Skin feels uncomfortable, tight and rough
• Fine lines appear
• Itching occurs
• Skin tone appears dull and/or red
• Loss of elasticity
• Flaking and scaling occurs
Reasons Dehydrated Skin Occurs
• Environmental factors such as exposure to sun, wind, air conditioning or heating, hot, cold or dry climates and prolonged exposure to water promote moisture evaporation.
• Medications like diuretics, cold/flu remedies and cortisone internally affect the production process of the protective barrier.
• Topical agents like soaps, cleansers, scrubs and alcohol-based products can either strip the skin of its oils or clog the pores, thereby destroying the balance needed to maintain moisture.
• Aging reduces skin’s ability to hold water and produce oils.
• Smoking constricts blood flow, which is detrimental to the flow of moisture and nutrition to the cells.
• Nutritional factors such as inadequate water or healthy fats in the diet, and too much salt, coffee or alcohol can all cause dehydration.