Dehydrated skin is often the biggest skin complaint that celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas sees in her clinic. Caused by a lack of water, it can affect everyone – regardless of skin type. “The best way to determine whether your skin is dehydrated is to gently pinch the skin on your cheek. If it looks like you have fine lines, you are probably dehydrated,” explains Vargas. “In general, dehydrated skin can appear dull, inflamed or irritated and, when pinched, may not bounce back.”
Cleanse on cool
“A big mistake people make with their skin is cleansing or showering with water that is simply too hot,” explains Vargas. “Extreme temperatures of any kind can throw off the skin’s delicate balance, which can lead to uncomfortably dehydrated skin.” Be sure to cleanse with a gentle, non-stripping product and warm water instead of hot, which will still effectively remove the day’s dirt and grime. To make your cleansing routine work even harder, consider using a cleanser with lactic acid, too, which will help to slough away dead skin cells, brighten the skin, and allow your serums and oils to penetrate more deeply.
Introduce a facial oil
While facial oils alone don’t hydrate, Vargas says they can help with moisture loss by creating a seal on the skin. “Oils strengthen the outermost layer of skin to hold moisture in, keep the skin balanced and control oil production. They can also be used night and day, depending on skin type. If you are starting out, I would try one at night to begin with, until you see how it absorbs into the skin.” Opting for nutrient-dense oils that contain powerful antioxidants helps to protect the skin further, and RéVive’s vitamin-C packed Moisturizing Renewal Oil Triple Defense Hydrator does just that, while also boosting skin with a bio-renewal peptide.
Layer your moisture
The best way to retain moisture is to layer proven hydrating ingredients on top of each other. Hyaluronic acid is a powerhouse ingredient that plumps skin, minimizes fine lines and reduces signs of dehydration – but it has to be applied correctly to see its full potential. For best results, Vargas says hyaluronic acid-based serums should be applied to damp skin, as the hero hydrator pulls moisture from the air. She suggests spritzing a facial mist containing moisture-binding ingredients, such as glycerin or aloe vera, before applying your serums to help lock in water, too – try keeping it in the fridge to help cool you down when the temperature rises.
Don’t neglect your skin barrier
For your skin to retain as much water as possible, Vargas says it’s crucial to have a strong, healthy and well-functioning skin barrier. “A damaged skin barrier means that the outermost layer of skin is not able to do its job of protecting against pollutants and outside stressors, as well as reducing transepidermal water loss. So, we are much more susceptible to getting dehydrated, irritated or dull skin.” If you suspect your skin barrier has been compromised, focus on using strengthening and healing ingredients. U Beauty’s The Barrier Bioactive Treatment is designed to be used as the final step in your evening routine to replenish and restore delicate skin, while Tata Harper’s Superkind Bio-Barrier Serum uses ceramides and a post-biotic complex to keep your complexion balanced.
Protect against the elements
Humidity, harsh winds, dry heat, high altitudes and, of course, overexposure to the sun can all deplete your skin’s moisture levels, so wearing a moisturizer is a must. “A day cream’s function is to serve as a barrier between your skin and the pollution in the environment. Creams contain butters, oils and waxes, but they also contain water. An emulsifier is used to combine all the ingredients to bind together and penetrate the skin and keep it hydrated,” explains Vargas, adding that the emulsifiers in creams help the product penetrate deeply into the dermis and deliver more moisture to the area. If your skin tends to be drier, layer your sun protection over a nourishing face cream such as Augustinus Bader’s highly-rated The Cream, or, if you are prone to oiliness, opt for an SPF alone that contains nurturing ingredients.
The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown