An Easy Guide to Moisturise & Rehydrate a Dry vs Dehydrated Skin and Get Your Glow Back!

dry skin vs dehydrated skin
I enjoy walking my dogs every day, and on some days it can get pretty windy out there like today! It's lovely and refreshing, but the dry wind can play real havoc with your skin.

The wind can literally suck the moisture out of your skin. And if it's a sunny day as well, it's easy to get wind burned. Imagine a fan-forced oven crisping up the roast. It's a bit like that, the sun heats up and 'toasts' the skin and the wind dries the skin resulting in a skin that feels parched, tight, rough, and sometimes stinging & sore, and the surface of the skin looks all crackly.


Jana Elston
During windy days it's essential to protect your skin from over-drying because if it's left untreated, it can lead to skin barrier breakdown, severe dryness and dehydration. Untreated dehydration leads to premature ageing, wrinkling, and even skin sensitivities. Dehydration means loss of moisture (water), and it can occur in dry skin as well as oily skin types.


In dehydrated skin, the lack of moisture levels impact on skin function and regeneration, slowing down cellular repair and turnover. The skin's natural exfoliation process is impaired, which results in a build-up of dead cell layers. In a way, it's like the skin is attempting to protect itself from excessive moisture loss. Dehydration can make the skin look dull and sallow, and if left untreated, the build-up of dead cells lead to other problems such as blackheads and milia.


If your skin has been dried out and is lacking moisture, a moisturising and hydrating mask can provide instant relief.

  1. Prepare your skin first with a gentle milky cleanser designed for sensitive, dehydrated skin. 
  2. After cleansing, patting in a gently hydrating mist or lotion is an absolute must. The water-based skin tonic saturates the skin with moisture and often contains soothing plant extracts full of vitamins such as vitamin B5 which helps to rehydrate and strengthen the skin.
  3. Next, use a gentle, creamy or enzyme-based exfoliant to slough off dry, dead cells and smooth the skin. Your mask will be able to moisturise deeper if you exfoliate beforehand.
  4. Apply a mask formulated for dehydrated or sensitive skin. Look for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, in low molecular weight for deep hydration and high molecular weight for surface relief. Leave on for 10-15 minutes ( some you can leave on overnight). The hydrating mask will restore your skin's hydration levels, plumping and softening your skin and reinforcing the skin barrier.
  5. After washing off the mask, apply a hydrating moisturiser. Look for moisturisers with hyaluronic acid to rehydrate your skin and, ceramides & essential fatty acids to lock the moisture in. Just a note, hyaluronic acid is a popular and essential skin hydrating ingredient, but in dry weather, it must be combined with ceramides and essential fatty acids to keep the moisture in. 


Ceramides are lipids naturally found in the top layers of your skin and make up a part of the skin barrier. One of the most important functions of our skin is to act as a barrier and keep out the nasties such as bacteria, viruses and toxins.

A healthy skin will have a balanced acid mantle.  The acid mantle is a mix of your skin's sebum or oil and sweat covering the surface of the skin.  It serves as the skins natural moisturiser to slow down evaporation of water. The acidic nature of the acid mantle helps to repel bacteria and viruses and protect the skin.

Within the skin itself, in between the skin cells, we have a mixture of fatty substances such as free fatty acids, cholesterol and ceramides, which make up the skin barrier. These lipids are mixed with the skin's NMF (natural moisturising factor) which includes hyaluronic acid, peptides, amino acids, minerals and sugars which keep the skin hydrated.

So ceramides are skin lipids that are an essential part of the skin barrier to keep the skin hydrated and moisturised. If you use soap on your skin, harsh foamy cleansers, or products that contain denatured alcohol, you will stip your skin and deplete it of the ceramides. Cold, dry weather can also cause the skin to be depleted of ceramides, which will impair the skin barrier and lead to dehydration and dryness.

You can replenish ceramides in your skin with skincare products. Just look for the key ingredient "ceramides" in your skin care, or plant oils which naturally have high amounts of ceramides such as safflower oil, grapeseed oil, corn oil, wheat germ opil and rice bran oil. 


using serum to boost skin results
If your skin is also lipid dry, this means there is not enough oil between the skin cells to lock the moisture in. The essential fatty acids, ceramides and cholesterol barrier mixture have been depleted, and the skin feels tight, rough, uncomfortable and dry. When the skin is lacking lipids, just saturating the skin with moisture is not enough. If ceramides and essential acids are depleted from your skin, the skin barrier will be weaker, making your skin 'porous'. The impaired barrier will allow the water to evaporate more quickly from your skin, which will lead to flaky and sensitive skin. You need to seal the moisture in and reinforce the barrier with ceramides and essential fatty acids. Look for more emollient creams rich in essential fatty acids and ceramides.


A lipid (or oil) dry skin needs essential fatty acids and ceramides to restore the barrier and make the skin feel more comfortable. Choose serums and creams rich in omega 3, 6, 9 essential fatty acids and ceramides that will create a barrier on the surface to help prevent moisture loss in a drying environment. You can enrich your moisturising cream with an oil-based serum. Add a drop of the precious lipid elixir to your moisturiser, and mix through before applying to the skin. Look for ingredients such as jojoba oil, rosehip oil, sea buckthorn oil, argan oil, or grapeseed oil. Any of these are terrific for repairing the skin barrier. In moisturisers look for safflower oil, grapeseed oil, corn oil, wheat germ oil and rice bran oil to help lock the moisture in and keep the skin feeling soft and supple.

If your skin barrier is broken down, you will need to support the skin from the inside as well.  Eating more oily fish can help repair the skin barrier from the inside.  Flaxseed oil is also very rich in essential fatty acids, which are just fantastic for dry skin.  Vitamin E oil is a powerful antioxidant and helps to ease the dryness in the skin.  Finally, evening primrose oil is another powerful oil for dry skin, eczema and good skin health.

Lastly, don't forget to protect your skin from the sun whenever outdoors. Windy, dry, and hot sunny days can impact on skin moisture levels but can also contribute to premature ageing and sun damage. During bright and breezy days, it is vital to apply sunscreen. Opt for sunscreens that have added moisturisers such as Aloe Vear and antioxidants and skin-softening agents such as Vitamin E to protect your skin.

So when the wind picks up, your skin does not have to look like crocodile skin. Adjust your skincare to keep it moisturised, hydrated and protected, and if you need advice, have a professional beauty therapist look at your skin. Even better, book yourself in for a lovely, relaxing hydrating facial for a real boost that will make your skin glow!

For more great tips join Skincare School Online!
Have a beautiful day! 
Jana x
Jana Elston
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