5 easy hacks to treat dehydrated skin

Tight, dull or sensitive skin? Chances are it’s dehydrated. RHEA CARTWRIGHT speaks to facialist JOANNA VARGAS about how to tweak your routine to lift and lock in moisture


Dehydrated skin is often the biggest skin complaint that celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas sees in her clinic. Caused by a lack of water in the skin, it can affect everyone – regardless of your skin type. “The best way to determine if your skin is dehydrated is to gently pinch the skin on the 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 deeper.

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 be used night and day, depending on skin type. If you are starting out, I would try one at night to start, until you see how it absorbs into the skin.” Opting for nutrient-dense oils that contain powerful antioxidants helps to protect the skin further. For daytime, layering RéVive’s Glow Elixir Hydrating Radiance Oil will an illuminating highlight while boosting the 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 serums should be applied to damp skin, as the hero hydrator pulls moisture from the air. Before putting on your serums, try spritzing a facial mist containing moisture-binding ingredients, such as glycerin or aloe vera, to help lock in water. Try keeping it in the fridge to help cool you down when the temperatures rises, too.

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. It means we are much more susceptible to getting dehydrated, irritated or dull skin.” If you suspect your skin barrier has been compromised, focus on strengthening and healing ingredients. The Nue Co. range has been formulated to keep skin in balance, while African Botanics Intense Skin Repair Balm is a skin-soothing nectar to replenish and restore delicate skin.

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 a 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