Finding the best products for dehydrated skin is difficult when there are plenty more products for dry skin than for dehydrated skin. There is a skincare misconception that both dry and dehydrated skin are one and the same.

To detangle the myth: dry skin is a skin type and dehydrated skin is a skin condition. Dehydrated skin is caused when the skin does not have enough hydration, and dry skin is caused when the skin does not have enough natural substances. The truth is that dehydrated skin can have any skin type, whether that’s oily, dry, combination or sensitive etc. People often find it weird to think of dehydrated skin as oily, but you can still get dehydrated skin with an oily skin type, as dehydrated skin is not caused by a lack of oil, but a lack of water.

So, How Can You Tell If Your Skin is Dehydrated?

Dehydrated skin might be easily mistaken for dry skin because it often feels dry and rough, lacking adequate moisture levels in the skins surface. Sometimes dehydrated skin is caused by damage to the top layers of the skin, the skin’s barrier, preventing the skin from holding onto moisture. When this damage occurs, it’s usually because of fragrance, skin-sensitising ingredients or harsh scrubs. Other causes of dehydration include alcohol intake, poor nutrition, smoking, cold weather, sun exposure, and hormones.

When skin is dehydrated, it may appear rough and flaky and may look tight and irritated. An easy way to test for dehydrated skin is to touch your skin and see if it bounces back. If not, your skin is most likely dehydrated.

By finding the best products for dehydrated skin, you can help to repair and replenish dehydrated skin to its optimum levels of hydration and moisture. This article outlines how you can use natural, organic ingredients to care for and treat your skin.

To treat dehydrated skin, it’s vital that you make sure to cleanse your skin before applying any other products. Clean skin means that the following products will penetrate the skin more easily, working to rehydrate your skin.

Plant Oils for Dehydrated Skin

You can apply these oils after and over the top of your usual moisturiser as this can help lock in hydration to the skin. Alternatively, you can also apply it as a serum before you apply your moisturiser. Oils can lock in moisture, but only if the moisture is there to begin with, so making sure there is a level of moisture from another product before applying is a good idea.

  • Shea Butter

Shea butter, extracted from shea tree nuts, has an ivory colour and a thick consistency. Its rich vitamin content is beneficial for repairing dehydrated skin. Shea butter is packed with essential fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E and other antioxidants that all work together to replenish dehydrated skin.

The richness of essential fatty acids in shea butter makes it a brilliant emollient, leaving the skin moisturised and helping to reduce any tightness or roughness that can often occur when the skin is dehydrated. Shea butter soaks into your skin, creating a barrier to seal in moisture. This is great for treating dehydrated skin, and the moisturisation is long-lasting, instead of wearing off after only a short time.

  • Coconut

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years, you will have heard the words ‘coconut oil’ buzzing around the health and beauty industry. Coconut oil is not only being consumed for health, beauty addicts slather their skin with its nourishing goodness. Coconut oils essential fatty acids help restore the natural lipid barrier of the skin, which helps lock in moisture and keep the skin hydrated.

Coconut oil is recommended by many beauty and health experts for hydrated skin, including celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder who advised against commercial moisturisers. In some of these moisturisers, hydration sometimes does not last long when the water content of the moisturiser dries up. Snyder said in an article for the Huffington Post that, ‘coconut oil provides deep and real moisture. It helps strengthen underlying tissues and helps remove excessive dead cell on the skin’s surface that makes your skin rough and flaky in texture’.

  • Argan

Argan oil can help to reduce the flakiness of dehydrated skin, whilst absorbing quickly and being non-greasy. Read all about the skincare benefits of argan oil in this article: using argan oil on face. to see all the ways your skin can benefit. Berber women use argan oil to help keep their skin hydrated in the intense heat of Morocco.

Argan oil is rich in replenishing vitamins and minerals that protects the skin from damage and locks in hydration. It can be used as a serum, moisturiser or eye cream, and as a multi-purpose product, it can also be used on its own if you wanted to skip all the skincare steps, which can sometimes be overwhelming for our skin when all it really needs is a simple routine. It’s always up to the individual skin and whether you personally prefer to use it as well as other products or on its own.

  • Jojoba

Jojoba oil, despite being called an oil, is actually a liquid wax. Jojoba locks in moisture to restore the skin to a balanced condition and is also suitable for all skin types. Apply jojoba oil after cleansing whilst the face is still damp, as this will trap the water between your skin and the jojoba oil. It also makes a hydrating make-up remover and alternative to other much harsher make up removers available on supermarket shelves today.

Simply apply a few drops onto a cotton wool ball and wipe off your make-up. Rinse your face with water to help remove any remaining makeup, and then you’re ready to cleanse. This will be a whole lot more hydrating than your standard make-up remover, and will help dehydrated skin quench its thirst.

If used as a moisturiser, jojoba oil will absorb quickly into the skin, without leaving a greasy residue that you might sweat off in warmer weather. It also makes an excellent lip balm for chapped lips in need of some hydration and moisture.

  • Rosehip Seed

Rosehips are the fruit that remains after a rose has already bloomed and its petals have fallen. Many people think that rosehip oil comes from roses, but this is not true! Luckily for us, the fruit is extremely nutritious for both our body and our skin when applied topically or taken internally in capsule or dried form. It’s full of antioxidants, essential fatty acids (omegas 3 and 6), fatty acids (omega 9), vitamin C, and vitamin A, also known as beta carotene.

Rosehip oil is anti-aging and will help to smooth out uneven skin tone whilst locking in moisture to keep skin healthy and hydrated. As well as boosting the skin’s moisture levels, it protects against free radical damage caused by pollutants such as UV rays. Its antioxidant power tackles oxidative damage to strengthen the skins barrier and fight against fine lines and wrinkles. The richness of vitamin C promotes skin repair. The result is a smooth, even, and supple skin tone that is also plumped with hydration.

  • Avocado

Avocados are all the rage in the health world at the moment, and their benefits are not limited to only your internal health. It turns out that avocado oil is deeply moisturising, nourishing, and most importantly for dehydrated skin: hydrating. With no intended offence to anyone’s beloved coconut oil, avocado oil offers better skin penetration. This is because of its high oleic acid content, which is at a whopping 63%!

As oleic acid enhances skin permeability, this means that avocado penetrates deeply into the skin, helping the skin to be fully hydrated and moisturised. If skin is well-hydrated, it will not feel the need to over compensate and produce too much oil that will lead to acne. As avocado oil is very rich, people often apply it as a night time moisturiser.

  • Borage

Borage oil is often used in skincare products for sensitive skin, and is renowned for fighting inflammation when taken internally and applied topically. What makes borage oil so hydrating is its gamma-Linolenic acid content, which the body cannot produce on its own. The oil contains 17-25%, which is then converted into prostaglandins. These then work to fight inflammation.

The skin easily dehydrates when it does not produce enough oil, and this can lead to flare-ups. Applying borage oil can replenish the skin’s essential fatty acids so that the skin cells can better hold water. Borage oil is an excellent choice for treating inflamed skin – when skin becomes inflamed it’s unable to absorb nutrients efficiently, and is less likely to be healthy with deficient nourishment. Treating inflammation of the skin is the most important step to take before we can expect all of our other products to give us all the skincare benefits our hearts desire! Borage oil can help to fight this inflammation, whilst offering revitalising antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, to nourish our skin to vitality.

  • Aloe Vera Juice/Gel

Both aloe vera juice and gel are both known to rehydrate the skin. A study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information showed that aloe vera is a great skin hydrator. Whilst the study uses both the words, ‘moisturisation’ and ‘hydration’, to be specific, they were measuring the water content in the skin. The study demonstrated that each concentration of aloe vera increased the skin’s water content.

Aloe vera is renowned to be soothing and cooling when applied to the skin, and is a lot of people’s sun burn treatment. Applying the gel or juice will soothe any skin inflammation. Dehydrated skin can occur with excessive sun exposure, but applying aloe vera juice or gel can replace the lost water content in the skin, and it can do this because aloe vera is mostly water. It also reduces outer tissue damage to repair any damage to skin that has been affected by UVA and UVB rays. This, in turn, fights the free radical damage that causes the skin to age much more rapidly.

Nutrition for Dehydrated Skin

When thinking about the best products for dehydrated skin, it’s easy to turn immediately to what we put on our skin and forget that what we consume builds and hydrates our skin cells on a cellular level. Here are some of the best products for dehydrated skin in terms of nutrition!

Dehydration can cause our skin to look tired and dull, even when we’re only mildly dehydrated, and the food we eat has a major impact. Drinking enough water is what we hear all the time when celebrities are asked about their top beauty secrets. We already know this. But it’s important to eat your water too in fruit and vegetables.

Watermelon, cucumber and celery are all examples of nutrition with a high water content. These all hydrate our skin slowly as they go through the digestive system. The water in fruit and vegetables is purified and combined with the added boost of vitamins and minerals that all help to nourish healthy skin. Eating your water as opposed to only drinking it is a much more efficient way to keep both your body and your skin adequately hydrated.

Citrus fruits, broccoli, nuts and eggs all help to hydrate the skin, and this is because they are high in vitamins B2, B6, B12, C and E, which all improve water retention.

Consuming healthy fats are also vital for the skin’s hydration, as they help the skin to produce its natural oil barrier. Macadamia nut, hemp seed, evening primrose, avocado, and coconut oil are all good options for hydrating the skin from the inside out, and they all have endless other health benefits. Read all about flax seed vs hemp seed to find out more information on what hemp seed can do for your health.

There’s no point in spending all of your money on the best products for dehydrated skin when you’re no building your skin cells up with the right nutrition in the first place. By doing this, you are setting your skin up to hold the most water and stay the most hydrated!

How to Use Plant Oils in your Routine for Optimum Hydration

Hydration in terms of skincare means increasing the water content in your skin cells. Keeping the skin adequately hydrated helps to fight against fine lines and wrinkles and plumps and smooths the skin.

Trans epidermal water loss is the term given for when water escapes the skin, and it becomes dull, parched and rough. When this goes too far, certain enzymatic processes in the skin stop working.

In order to allow skin to reach its optimum hydration for the healthiest skin cells, both oil-based moisture and water-based moisture must be used. Using oil alone can sometimes have no effect for hydration, or may even make the skin worse, as you need the water in the first place for the oil to lock the moisture in. Using oil on your skin after using a water-based product, for example, after a water-based moisturiser, binds the water to your skin, trapping the water and therefore preventing it from leaving.

Top Tips for Maintaining Hydrated Skin

There are some factors we can consider to prevent dehydrated skin in the first place. As well as using and finding the best products for dehydrated skin, here are some tips for treating and preventing dehydrated skin.

  • Keep your showers short and not too hot.

  • Avoid baths if prone to dehydrated skin.

  • Use an oil over the top of a rehydrating moisturiser to seal in moisture.

  • Find soap free and fragrance free products, avoiding detergents and glycerin.

  • Choose face creams instead of lotions. Lotions can be more drying with a higher alcohol content.

Have you got any recommendations for the best products for dehydrated skin? Have you used any of these before? And do you have any questions? Feel free to get in touch if you want to ask us anything!

Written by Jess Burman

Wellbeing writer

BA (Honours) in Writing