Dehydration increases the signs of aging, breaks down collagen, robs skin of vital nutrients, and reduces elasticity. Dehydration is a skin problem that affects up to 96% of our population. People often associate oil with hydrated skin, but this is only half of the issue. Your skin may be oily but still lack hydration from water, which affects its health and appearance. Having fluid between our cells is necessary for proper skin function. It feeds the skin, carrying nutrients, vitamins and water vital to cellular function. It also acts as a waste collector for the cells, ridding skin of accumulated “junk”. If there is not an exchange of nutrients, water and waste, cells cannot function and will eventually die.

As we age our skin loses hydration, which is a key factor in the process of visible aging (wrinkles, fine lines, premature aging, lackluster, scaly, taut skin), and in the loss of vitamins and nutrients, which are unseen culprits that contribute to aging.

One common misconception about hydration is that if your skin is oily on the surface, it is properly hydrated. This is not true. If you have oily skin it does not mean you do not need hydration (fluid). In reality, proper hydration paired with deep pore cleaning will reduce the overproduction of oil, making skin less oily on the surface.

Things you can do:

Hydration tips

  • Water intake is vital to healthy skin (but drinking water alone is not enough to keep skin properly hydrated).
  • Sleep and stress are triggers for dehydration. Try to get your daily 8’s: 8 ounces of water, 8 times a day, and 8 hours of rest a night. Your body weight and exercise level changes the amount of water you need the 8×8 is a common benchmark to strive for, but some people can do with less.
  • Look for products that use non-pore clogging oils such as jojoba (this is actually a wax), pistachio, rosehip, carrot, safflower, argan and avocado.
  • Use pure floral waters (hydrosols) of cucumber, rose or neroli to mist face. Be sure they are pure plant waters and not distilled water with essential oils added.
  • Eat water-packed foods like watermelon, berries, grapes, grapefruit, lettuce and tomatoes.
  • Eat flax, chia seeds, avocados, walnuts and/or omegas.
  • Use a face serum with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate), squalane, or alpha hydroxy acids.

Dehydration contributors to avoid

  • Improper cleaning, which strips skin of hydration. “Squeaky-clean” or taut skin should never be associated with clean skin. These are actually signs of dehydration. Soap and other alkaline cleansers do not have the required pH balance and are therefore damaging to your skin.
  • Skin damage from harsh chemicals in your products increases dehydration. Read your labels, switch up your products.
  • Lack of proper skin care can include everything from overexposure to sun, harsh facial scrubs (such as apricot-kernel based scrub), chemicals, not drinking enough water, smoking cigarettes, and/or certain medications (many can cause dehydration).
  • Be on the lookout for skin-dehydrating ingredients such as alcohol, petroleum- based ingredients and “cones” (any ingredient that ends with c-o-n-e such as dimethicone, silicone, etc.).
  • Hot showers
  • Improper, damaging (or lack of) moisturizers
  • Alcohol, sugar, processed foods and coffee
  • Exposure to heat from sun, furnaces, wood burning stoves and/or space heaters
  • Exposure to wind and/or air conditioning

DIY – Hydrating Almond Cleanser:

  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/8 cup coconut milk or water
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Place almonds in a mini food processor and grind until they become almond meal, but not butter. Add honey and mix again. Add milk and pulse 5-7 times.

Directions for use: Place a dime-sized amount in the palm of your hand and add a few drops of water. Gently apply in circular motions with your ring and middle finger, using light pressure. The circular motion increases blood flow, opens pores and aids in the “cleansing” process. Using your weakest fingers ensures non-damaging exfoliation. Rinse with warm water.

How to store: Keep in refrigerator for up to one week in an airtight container. You can also make extra in advance; it can be frozen in ice cube trays (filled 1/3). Once frozen, simply break your cubes out and store them in a glass container in the freezer. This will give you easy-to-use single servings to defrost as needed.

Deborah Burnes is the CEO and Co-Founder of Sumbody, a truly natural product line and the author of Look Great, Live Green and Natural Beauty Skin Care.

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