Hydrating Skin

water for dehydration versus oil


Almost every skin is affected by dehydration at some point, with an estimated 85% of skin affected by chronic or persistent dehydration. Regular and even minor dehydration can lead to structural and functional changes that can directly contribute to premature ageing and sensitivity.

Increasing and maximising skin hydration is not as simple as having a glass of water; the skin’s natural reservoirs consist of a complex system of water-binding humectants that interact with natural oils (such as sebum) to form a barrier-protective and hydrating network.

Water makes up 70% of the human body and includes interstitial fluid, the water that bathes and surrounds cells.  This fluid also provides cells with hydration, nutrients and waste removal.  Without water, cells are unable to mature and exfoliate fully. This can leave the skin rough and dry.


  • The skin’s hydrating network (known as Natural Moisture Factor) includes amino acids, salts, hyaluronic acid and glycerine to bind and draw water.
  • Humidity, wind, evaporation, and sweat-stripping cleansers all contribute to accelerated external skin dehydration.
  • Dehydration refers to a lack of water, whereas dry skin experiences a lack of oil. Prematurely aged or aged skin can experience both symptoms.
  • Diuretics such as coffee, caffeine, tea and soft drinks dehydrate the body and skin. Even soaking too long in a bath, swimming or long hot showers can create water loss.
  • Dehydration can accelerate inflammation and skin sensitivity. Signs include redness, tightness, itchiness and flaking.
  • The skin flourishes in a naturally acidic environment, soap and aggressive cleansers can strip the skin’s barrier function and impair this acid balance. Not only can this create the perfect environment for acne bacteria to flourish, but the skin becomes dehydrated and inflamed.
  • An ineffective barrier function limits the effectiveness of the skin’s natural hydrating network. A good moisturiser should always contain a blend of biomimetic oils, humectants and antioxidants to effectively replicate this layer without evaporating.


  • Sensitive skin is often the result of chronic dehydration and not true sensitivity
  • Drinking 2-4 litres of water a day does not directly influence skin hydration; it is about how the skin holds on to the water it is supplied with.
  • Water-based moisturisers evaporate from the skin more rapidly often dehydrating the skin even more in the process.
  • Overuse of topically applied alpha hydroxy acids and retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) can thin and dehydrate the skin over time.
  • Splashing or spraying the skin with ‘hydrating mists’ actually dehydrates the skin. Just like sweat, the cooling sensation is imparted as the layer of the moisture evaporates.  This evaporation can often drag surface moisture sitting in the top layers of the skin with it.


Book your facial consult to find out if you have dehydrated skin