Since coming back from France my skin's been feeling and looking a bit a bit crap. It feels irritated, flaky, and my foundation keeps going patchy and settling into my pores. My skin looks less plump and my lips feel irritated and unprotected. But my skin doesn't feel dry - in fact, it looks more oily than usual. Diagnosis? My skin's dehydrated.
I'm not sure what's caused it. It could have been all that sugar and alcohol I enjoyed while I was away; it could be my central heating, increased stress, London pollution, or simply the shock at not having crepes for lunch everyday.
Dry or dehydrated?
The key difference is that where dry skin lacks oil, dehydrated skin lacks water, Dry skin will typically feel 'tight' and may be flaky. Drehydrated skin may feel tight but will look oily. It will suck up moisturiser and foundation and make makeup look patchy.
Dehydration can affect any skin type - no one is immune! Central heating, air conditioning, sun exposure, not drinking enough water, and drinking alcohol (noooo!) all cause skin to become dehydrated. Thanks to dehydration having become a recognised skin condition there is plenty of information out there and lots of products to target it.
For more on dehydration vs dryness this Caroline Hirons 'Dry or Dehydrated?' Cheat Sheet is brilliant. plus this Sali Hughes video on dehydration.
Ingredient-wise, look for hylauronic acid (also listed as sodium hyaluronate) - it's a hero ingredient, each molecule of which holds something like a thousand times its weight in water. It plumps up fine lines and gives skin a youthful look.
My action plan:
1. Drink more water
It's easier, I'm sure, for skin to be dehydrated when the body is too. The skin is an organ (the body's largest) after all. I'm going to up my herbal tea intake as well as knocking back more water, hoping that the detoxifying effects of, say, green tea will give my skin and body a boost.
2. Use hydrating skincare
I already use Vichy Aqualia Serum twice a day under moisturiser/oil, but figured that the more hydration my skin can get, the better. I picked up some La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Legere moisturiser while in Boots. It contains hyaluronic acid to ramp up my skin's hydration levels, thermal spa water to soothe any irritation, and SPF 20 to protect my skin (mostly from pollution rather than UV rays, since there aren't all that many around at this time of year!) I used it last summer so I know it suits my skin, and the smell reminds me of being on holiday.
3. Use primer
I rarely use primer but I think I need to provide a barrier between my thirsty skin and my foundation. I'm trying Smashbox's Hydrating Primer at the moment and I love it. It's incredibly light, doesn't make my skin feel tight, and a pea-sized amount covers my whole face.
4. Use a different foundation
At the moment I'm using Nars Sheer Glow. It looks gorgeous when I've just done my makeup, but an hour later it looks patchy and has found its way into the pores on my nose, cheeks and chin. Considering how many rave reviews I read while researching this foundation and how much I adore the Nars Radiant Tinted Moisturiser and Radiant Creamy Concealer, I do think the patchiness is being caused by my skin rather than the foundation, While my skin finds it's groove again I'm using Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer where I need it and topping it with a dusting of MAC Studio Sculpt Defining Powder.
Finally, here are some hyaluronic acid-rich products to try:
Vichy Aqualia Serum (£22.50)
It was obviously going to be first on the list - I've used it for over a year and I love it. I think serums are a really great way to target dehydration because they're designed as a specific treatment for the skin.
Vichy Aqualia Serum ingredients:
Aqua, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Polybutylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Caster Oil, Dimethiconol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, Chrondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Amonium Polycryldimethyltsuramide, Poloxamer 338, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Parfum
Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Serum (£24.99, on offer in Boots for £16.66)
I personally haven't tried Indeed Lab products, but on the basis of the ingredients, this serum looks amazing. It contains a hefty dose of hyaluronic acid - and has gone straight on my wishlist.
Indeed Labs Hydraluron Serum ingredients:
Water, Propanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract, Disodium EDTA.
Ren Keep Young and Beautiful Instant Firming Beauty Shot (£36)
While the name of this range irks me (I don't like the assertion that ageing isn't beautiful) hyaluronic acid appears as the second ingredient, and there's Rosa Damascena flower oil and flower water to calm the skin.
Ren Keep Young and Beautiful Instant Firming Beauty Shot ingredients:
Aqua, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Pullalan, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Porphyridium Cruentum Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Citronellol, Geraniol.
La Roche-Posay Hydraphase range (from £15)
The range contains four moisturisers - UV and non-UV, each with a light and a rich moisturiser. I prefer the Hydraphase UV creams over the non-UV creams because they offer SPF 20 and don't contain alcohol. The Hydraphase UV Legere is a perfect day cream - it's incredibly hydrating, light and non-greasy.
Hydraphase UV Legere ingredients:
Aqua, Octocrylene, Isonony Isononanoate, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Homoslate, Dimethicone, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Aluminium Starch Octenylsuccinate, Sucrose Tristearate, Polymethylsilsequioane, Polysorbate 61, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Dimethiconol, Soduim Hylauronate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Disodium EDTA, Hydrolysed Hyaluronic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum.
Smashbox Hydrating Primer
Light, cooling, and helps makeup stay put. Smashbox make brilliant primers, and with this they've taken the guesswork out of choosing a primer for dry, dehydrated skin.
Smashbox Hydrating Primer ingredients:
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Sodium Chloride, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Glycerin, Stearyl Dimethicone, PEG-8 Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, PEG-8, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol [+/- Blue 1 (CI 42090), Red 4 (CI 14700), Yellow 5 (CI 19140)] ILN38097
I hope this has helped to demystify dehydration. I've found it a tricky subject to get my head round, associating it with dryness when oily skins can be dehydrated too, But once I'd experienced dehydrated skin myself, it made much more sense!
Thanks for reading!