The 101: There are several reasons why skin may be dry and dehydrated. Age is definitely one reason. As we get older, our skin produces less oil, our skin structure thins out and our skin’s cell turn-over slows down. This all leads to TWL (Transepidermal Water Loss) in which your skin can not hold onto hydration effectively due to the skin’s natural protective layer (the Acid Mantle) not being as stable as it once was.
Other factors such as, medication, lifestyle choices, diet and climate can also play a role in making your skin dry and/or dehydrated, no matter your age. The one thing to keep in mind is, whatever the reason, it’s important to use products that will help in maintaining the moisture and oil levels because without sufficient water and oil, your skin will look older than your actual age… and if your skin is dry and/or dehydrated… even the most potent anti-aging ingredients on the planet will be ineffective! That’s because dry and/or dehydrated skin can not absorb!
I liken it to an old, used and dried up kitchen sponge. You know the one I mean? The yellow foam ones with the green scourer on top. When these sponges are old and dry they become super hard. If you have ever tried to revive one in this condition you would know that when you place it under running water to try and soften it, the water literally runs off the sponge. You need to hold it under the water for a while for it to finally start absorbing the water.
On the other hand, a kitchen sponge that is already wet or recently wet (meaning it’s hydrated) will easily absorb water when held under the tap… the water just sinks right into the sponge!
Well when it comes to skincare, a dry and dehydrated skin can behave the same way as that dried up kitchen sponge. Keeping your skin balanced and hydrated first and foremost will ensure that all the treatment serums and creams you subsequently apply to your skin can penetrate down into the deeper layers where they are most beneficial.
The How to: There can be a few variables here so if you want to make sure you are cleansing correctly for your skin’s needs then be sure to have a consultation with a skin therapist. However, the following should get you heading in the right direction.
For Mature Skin: I would recommend you use a Cream Cleanser morning and night. Don’t pre-wet your skin or your hands. Just go ahead and apply directly to your face with dry hands and massage all over in small circular movements before rinsing off with tepid water.
Double cleanse with the cream cleanser if you have been wearing make-up, however a single cleanse is sufficient otherwise.
For Dry Skin: A dry skin is lacking ‘oil’ not moisture. Dry skin is considered a ‘skin type’ therefore the lack of oil production is a characteristic not a ‘condition’. It often appears rough and flakey, especially in the t-zone (across the forehead and down the nose and chin).
For this reason I recommend doing a double cleanse in the evening before bed; first with a cream cleanser if you have been wearing make-up and then with a foaming cleanser to prep your skin for your night time treatment creams. Add the use of a facial brush with the foaming cleanser a few times a week to buff away any dry skin build up.
In the mornings, I recommend you only do one cleanse with your cream cleanser. Do not double cleanse or use a foaming cleanser as this will strip away any oil that the skin has managed to secret overnight. Your skin’s natural oil contains beneficial lipids and fatty acids crucial to your skin’s health and protection so don’t be concerned with leaving it on your skin. In the morning, a simple cleanse with a creamy cleanser will be sufficient to prep your skin for your morning treatment creams and make-up application.
For Dehydrated Skin: A dehydrated skin lacks moisture (water), not oil. So you could have an oily skin which is dehydrated… but you could also have a dry skin (no oil) and also be dehydrated (double whammy). So it’s important to have your skin analysed so you can then adapt the correct routine for your skin’s need. Visiting a skin therapist is the best way to get the low down on our skin type, what it needs, and what to do to support it.
But assuming your skin is only dehydrated, this means it’s super thirsty but not particularly lacking in oil; a double cleanse every morning and every night is a great way to keep it in check. Start with a cream cleanser; applying it onto dry skin with dry hands and working it in a circular motion all over (even over make-up). Remove with a facial cloth and then rinse with tepid water.
Then follow up with a foaming cleanser. Lather it up in wet hands before applying it to wet skin or you can do this step in the shower. Rinse away and pat dry. Your skin is now clean, hydrated and prepped for you to apply your treatment serums and creams.