Dry or Dehydrated Skin? Both?? It’s Probably Affecting More Than Just Your Face.
Full disclosure: I didn’t even realize there was a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin until this past winter.
Further disclosure: I’m embarrassed to say… I was dealing with both.
Between accepting a new position at work, taking blogging & YouTube’ing for a spin, and all the chaos that comes with the holidays, I was definitely not looking after myself. In one of my YouTube videos, I mentioned just how dry and flaky my skin was becoming! Around my mouth, between my eyebrows and around my hairline. I’ve never experienced anything like that before, ever!
Being lazy and somewhat preoccupied with everything else going on, I shrugged it off as “Meh… I am getting older. It’s probably a normal part of approaching 30.” And I realize now that I was very mistaken.
What I was actually dealing with was a combination of both internal dehydration (lack of water) and external dryness (lack of oil).
Worse of all: It wasn’t just affecting my face. The skin on my back and down my legs felt tight and itchy. My eyes were becoming chronically dry! At the end of most work days, it was painful to blink. My eyelashes began falling out…
I was losing several eyelashes a day and my face was getting flakier by the day, no matter how much moisturizer I applied. Needless to say, it was starting to worry me.
Here are helpful solutions for treating irritated skin and eyes when chronic dryness or dehydration set in.
Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw
Internal: Your Diet.
- Take a plant-based Omega-3 Supplement: Yes, the stuff formally only available in fish form. I take a teaspoon of NutraVege Omega-3 Plant: Extra Strength every morning. Its base is algae, which is the original source of Omega-3 for fish! *The more you know* PS: This stuff tastes like fruit jelly, so no need to make a face when you swallow it. This stuff is like conditioner for your internal organs.
- Eat more fruit. Fruits are high in water and will deliver more nutrients to your body and bloodstream, which is essential for keeping your skin supple and glowy.
- Drink more water. I feel like I shouldn’t have to point this out, but I will anyway: your skin can dry-out from lack of water intake. Add fruit slices if you need to jazz it up a bit.
External: Hydrating Products.
- Look for face masks and lotions that hydrate, not just moisturize. The difference is that hydrating products will contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, argan oil, mango butter, evening primrose oil and glycerin to draw in and seal moisture against the skin. Ingredients like this will help plump your skin and protects the internal work you’re doing. (You are drinking more water and taking Omega-3 plant oils, riiiight?) My absolute favourite hydrating mask is the 100% Pure – Aqua Boost Hydrating mask. It was a game changer. Like everything by 100% Pure, the ingredients are non-toxic, high quality, and sourced from nature. And I’ve also really been digging the Odacite – Deep Hydration Mask.
Pro Tip: Mix a little bit of either of these hydrating masks into your AM moisturizer and apply a thin layer of the mask in the PM to see rapid results.
- Avoid cleansers that strip your skin. Most facial cleansers are really drying, even the ones marketed to “sensitive” skin. Avoid sodium laurel sulfate, which is a common ingredient in bubbling or foaming cleansers. Look for cleansers that are oil based or don’t contain chemicals at all. My go-to cleanser is Skin Essence Organics – Pure Facial Cleanser. Tip: Make sure you use a warm, damp facecloth to wipe away oil-based cleansers! Don’t rely on just your hands and water.
- Use facial mists to re-hydrate throughout the day. For the vast majority of my life, I saw facial mists as a gimmick. My skin was always more on the oily side and mists just seem silly to me. After going through the dry-spell (pun intended) last year, I feel differently about mists now. They can be a helpful tool in your skin-hydrating arsenal. At their simplest, they add more moisture to the top layer of your skin. More complex ones will add a thin veil of hydration-aiding ingredients directly where you need them. Which is super handy for re-hydrating mid-day. My go-to is the Jasmine Garden by May Lindstrom Skin. I’ve recently been introduced to the Hydrating Accelerator by Josh Rosebrook which is another effective option. However, you can easily make your own hydrosol at home using 50% filtered water and 50% pure rosewater.
- If you have seriously dry eyes, invest in lubricating eye drops. Get the heavy-duty ones from your optometrist, they will work better. Trust me. If you are the sort who likes to be on top of things, ask the optometrist to do a test for chronic dry-eye. (I did opt for the test myself, and she confirmed I do have it.) Chronic dry-eye was the main factor for my lashes falling out, as the eyelid tissues become irritated and swollen from being too dry.
External: Your Environment.
- Humidifiers and ultrasonic diffusers. Take a look at your environment: is the air dry? A good indicator of this is if your throat always feels dry or itchy. I have a humidifier in my office and a diffuser in my bedroom. The diffuser makes me so happy! Not only does it purify and add moisture to the air, but it has the added benefit of aromatherapy. The Saje diffuser model I purchased looks like an apple product and has rainbow LED lights.
- Reduce your eye exposure to those bright blue lights. You’ve probably heard that staring at computer & device screens can interfere with sleep, but it can also mess with your eyes. Think about it. You’re staring at a bright light for hours. And because you’re reading or scrolling through Instagram, you’re blinking less. If you suffer from severe dry-eye, try to limit your screen time. For your devices, make sure you have Night Shift (Apple products) enabled or fLux (desktop and Android only) added and turned on. These features shift the colour range of the screen’s light from blue to orange. This is equivalent to moving from direct sunlight to the lighting at dusk: it’s less intense for your eyes.
I hope you found some of these tips helpful! I would have never guessed that all these issues I was experiencing were a result of dryness and dehydration. And I am extremely relieved that my eyelashes have stopped falling out! I try to incorporate all of these practices year round, but they are especially important in the fall and winter.
If you have any of your own, let me know in the comments sections below.