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Ready, Get Set, Get Wet: The Effects of Dehydration
Written by Sherina Jamal   

dehydrationThe skin usually contains up to 20 percent water, but dehydrated skin can drop below 10 percent. Many people have dehydrated skin but just assume their skin is dry. Dehydration is the result of a significant loss of body fluid. Dry skin, on the other hand, is primarily caused from low levels of sebum (oil).

Dehydration of the skin can lead to significant signs of premature aging and if not treated, can cause more serious conditions both internally and externally. In order to counteract the effects of this condition, one must be aware of how the skin can become dehydrated and how to restore essential skin balance. Dehydrated skin can appear flaky, red, scaly and rough and is easily prone to wrinkles. This condition can occur for several reasons, all of which cause an imbalance in the skin's pH, reduction in the skin's ability to retain moisture, and reduction in functionality of the skin's protective barrier. When dehydrated skin loses its ability to retain moisture it affects the flow of fluids and nutrients within the cells in the inner layers of the skin. Eventually, if not treated, these cells can become damaged.

There are a few key factors to note that can lead to dehydration of the skin, including ongoing exposure to harsh environmental factors like cold, wind, dry heat, sun, and pollutants. Chemicals from cleaning products and even synthetic-based skincare products can also dehydrate the skin, as can using the wrong skincare products for your skin type. Stress, lack of sleep, smoking, poor nutrition, illness, and ongoing use of certain medications will also contribute to skin dehydration. Plus, of course, your skin will dehydrate if you do not drink enough water. And lastly, your age plays a major role in how well hydrated your skin can be.

All of these factors affect the chemistry of the skin and play a direct role in moisture loss, making the skin look old before its time. However, there are steps you can take to help rehydrate and replenish your skin and body.

Spa Therapies to Address Dehydrated Skin

Spa treatments can be a great way to target your dry and dehydrated skin this season. Treatments that provide anti-aging benefits for face and body can also offer benefits to address topical skin care concerns that can occur from internal dehydration. There are a variety of beneficial therapies to choose from.

Customized spa facial: Many spas offer a customized facial that can be designed to address your specific skin type and skincare concerns. This comes with a brief consultation and utilizes products that can help repair and re-balance your skin. Talk to your spa professional to determine if they have a specific facial that will offer solutions to target dry and dehydrated skin. Maintain the results of your spa facial at home by incorporating a quality anti-aging serum, enriching moisturizer, and dehydration mask into your weekly skincare regimen.

Spa body wrap: A spa body wrap can be very effective in addressing uneven skin tone and texture, moisture levels and dry flaky skin that can be symptoms of dehydration. Spa body wraps are generally left on the body for at least 20 to 30 minutes while you are wrapped with coverings that can seal in body heat. This process helps active ingredients penetrate further and provides essential nutrients to promote skin nourishment and rehydration.

Massage: To combat dehydrated skin, massage can be very effective. However, it is essential to use the right products. Massage using a combination of pure therapeutic-grade plant oils and essential oil based products can help restore moisture to the surface of the skin and provide nourishment during the winter months when the skin is exposed to cold and wind. Massage can be very helpful in healing rough, flaky and chapped skin.

Many products on the market are created with a high percentage of water. Using a product on the skin that has been created with a high percentage of water is not effective for dry or dehydrated skin. Rather than penetrating the skin, the water just evaporates, leaving skin feeling even more imbalanced. Using products that have the ability to replenish the outer layers of the skin while also working internally to add and hold moisture will ensure proper treatment for dehydration.

Active Ingredients for Dry and Dehydrated Skin

There are certain active ingredients to look for when selecting products for use on skin that has become damaged due to dehydration.

Vitamin C: When skin is dehydrated, its ability to protect itself from damage is affected. Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant that can help repair the skin from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C also helps remove accumulated dead and damaged skin cells and improve skin's overall texture. Use products that contain a good quality, stable vitamin C such as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate for maximum benefits.

Vitamin E: A natural moisturizing ingredient and anti-oxidant, vitamin E also helps restore moisture, thereby improving the skin's barrier protection.

Natural Enzymes: Natural enzymes such as papaya work to gently "peel" away dry and dead skin cells from the surface to make way for new, healthier cells to grow that can better protect the skin.

Hyaluronic Acid: Known for its ability to provide the skin with needed moisture, hyaluronic acid is known as a powerful tool in improving and maintaining skin hydration and overall cellular function. In an article written by Bill Sardi, "HA, How to Live 100 Years Without Growing Old," the author describes hyaluronic acid as a natural molecule that stops or even reverses aging. He also notes that hyaluronic acid holds water in the body and acts as a lubricant, helping to erase facial aging lines and wrinkles.

Fresh Seaweed: Seaweed is an amazing ingredient for skincare. Each seaweed species contains its own range of active ingredients; but they all contain essential vitamins, minerals, and trace elements that can help restore the skin's natural balance and replenish dehydrated skin.

Other ingredients that help prevent dehydration and renew the skin include 100 percent pure essential oils, natural carrier oils (apricot kernel, almond, grapeseed, sesame, and jojoba), certain muds and clays, and plant or herbal extracts like green tea.

Avoid products created with a high percentage of synthetic ingredients as they can be irritating and drying to the skin. Along with proper external care, internal care for dehydrated skin such as drinking enough water, juicing using fresh organic vegetables and fruits, and proper nutrition should be an integral part of daily life. Incorporate supplements like essential fatty acids to help replenish your skin from the inside out by providing additional lubrication.

Home Skincare Tips

Follow these home skincare tips to keep your skin young, healthy, and hydrated.

  • Avoid the use of face and body soaps or cleansers created with harsh chemical detergents like sodium laurel sulfates.
  • Exfoliate only once or twice per week if your skin is dehydrated and prone to irritation.
  • Avoid long-term exposure to air conditioning or heaters.
  • Ensure that you replenish your skin with adequate fluids, especially after exercising.
  • Select products created without harsh synthetics, that contain some of the active ingredients listed.
  • Incorporate a daily concentrated facial serum designed to address very dry and dehydrated skin.
  • Incorporate foods that contain a high amount of water and nutrients like fruits and vegetables into your daily nutrition.

Certain supplements can also be beneficial including an essential fatty acid daily, which can help by providing additional lubrication to the body.

Sherina Jamal -

Sherina Jamal is the Founder of Ancient Secrets Inc. and developer of the Beauty Through Balance spa line. Sherina is an established educator in the spa industry and has written many articles over the years for popular health, beauty, and spa magazines. To reach Sherina directly for any questions or advice please email info@ancientsecrets.ca or visit her web site: www.beautythroughbalance.ca.

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