When you wake up in the morning, do you look in the mirror with disappointment at seeing the state of your skin? There are a lot of reasons your skin might be looking dry and thin. Some soaps are harsh and hurt skin health, the wind can damage skin, and our skin can look worse from both too much and too little sun!
It can be hard to find the right skin care practice, but taking care of your skin from the outside isn’t the first step to looking radiant. The secret to great skin comes from the inside…and that means inside your cells. Your skin cells are about 60% water, which means if you aren’t well hydrated, those skin cells flatten out and get saggy and loose.
To have glowing, radiant skin, you need to hydrate those cells every day, and plain water won’t do it. Skin cells, like all other cells, have channels on their surface that unlock with minerals, and these minerals are bound to the water our cells so desperately need.
Keep reading below for the top 10 ways you can fix dehydrated skin!
1. Drink Electrolytes First Thing
Did you know that you lose a ton of hydration in your sleep, just by breathing? This is why your eyes, tongue, and yes, your skin look so dry when you wake up! You haven’t had anything to drink for at least eight hours, so it’s imperative that you replenish your fluids as soon as you get up. Your best bet is to have an electrolyte drink first thing in the morning, even before coffee, to make sure you get the hydration you need to look and feel your best all day. Electrolyte minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium help water to get into cells to promote optimal hydration and health.
2. Hydrate at Night
Since you are dehydrating through the whole night, you can prevent a lot of the damage from dehydration by hydrating before you go to bed. Have an electrolyte drink 2-3 hours before you go to bed to make sure you start the night with all the water and minerals you need. Not only will you help your skin look healthier when you get up, but you’ll get better sleep too, which is always great for looking your best. Drinking 2-3 hours before bed is best so you don’t have to wake up for the bathroom in the night.
3. Minimize Dehydrating Drinks
Lots of things we drink normally can be dehydrating and damaging to our skin. It’s difficult to hear but some of our favorite drinks, like coffee and alcohol can use up the water and minerals in our body and make our skin look dull and flat. If you tend to drink a lot of these things, it can take a serious toll on your skin health. Use moderation and cut back on dehydrating beverages and you’ll see a difference in your skin quickly.
4. Protect your Skin from the Elements
Some sun exposure is good for vitamin D production, and getting natural light in our eyes helps us feel energetic and excited. Unfortunately, a lot of sun and wind exposure can sap our skin’s moisture and rob us of vital hydration. After a day outside you can see dry spots, dead skin, and microtears caused by the sun and wind. Make sure to have an extra electrolyte drink if you’re going to spend the day outdoors, and use shade or protective lotion to keep your skin looking great.
5. Repair Damage
If you’ve spent years without a good skin care practice, that’s OK! Now is the time to fix the damage that has been done. Your skin is your largest organ, and has the remarkable ability to regenerate. The first step is to improve hydration so your cells can get the nutrients they need to heal. Next, you’ll want to choose a face wash that’s free of harsh chemicals. Strong detergent soaps will remove more than just the day’s dirt and sweat: they’ll also strip away all the natural oils that protect the surface of your skin, opening it up to damage and dehydration. Then, choose a light moisturizer with biocompatible ingredients that soak into your skin without leaving a greasy film.
6. Switch Hot Water for Cool
Hot water feels great in the shower, but it also strips away the top protective layer of your skin. Opening up your pores so much with hot water removes your skin’s ability to protect itself, and even lets in chemicals that are in your water that can do even more damage. Municipal water treatment plants add chemicals to keep your water safe, but they can be quite harsh when they get into the pores of your skin, amplifying dehydration and damage. Choose to wash in warm or cool water instead of hot, and add a water filter to your shower or bath.
7. Assess Your Environment
Humidity plays a huge role in how our skin looks and feels. If you live in a humid environment, you’re likely to have healthier looking skin. In dry environments, especially when they are very hot or very cold, the air sucks the moisture right out of your skin, giving your skin a papery texture. This repeated damage leads to skin that’s thin and wrinkles easily. You can combat this damage by getting a humidifier for your house, or at least the room you sleep. Make sure to use a protective moisturizer any time you go outside, and get plenty of hydrating electrolytes so you’re promoting skin regeneration.
8. Add Nutrients
Skin doesn’t just need to be hydrated to be healthy. It needs the same kind of nutritional support that keeps the rest of your body in great shape. Prioritize nutrient dense whole foods, like vegetables and meats. You’ll also want to add a collagen supplement to your daily habits. Collagen is the core of the matrix that keeps connective tissues like your skin, hair, and nails strong and youthful. As we age our collagen doesn’t heal as well, so you may need to take more over the years. Make sure to get enough vitamin C in your diet, since collagen needs this critical vitamin to bind and integrate into tissues.
9. Avoid Harsh Treatments
Spa treatments are a delightful way to make our skin look fresh and clean, and they can be a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. Unfortunately many professional and at-home spa treatments contain harsh chemicals and exfoliants that cause more damage than you might think. Exfoliants can cause microtears in skin that take your body’s resources to repair, and can cause infections. While price isn’t always a good indicator, the lowest price options are frequently offenders in this category because companies skimp on quality and safety to sell a cheaper product. When choosing spa treatments, look for brands and salons that use natural ingredients, eco-friendly options, and offer different products for various skin conditions.
10. Be Patient
If you see your skin isn’t as vibrant as you’d like, understand that it will take a little time, a few days to a few weeks, to see the results of all the changes you make. Don’t fall for the overnight miracle cures in advertisements; they’ll only cover up the effects of dehydrated skin without helping to heal it naturally. When you make these smart shifts in your hydration and skin care, you’ll not only have skin that LOOKS better, you’ll have skin that is actually healthier, stronger, and more resilient. Be patient and keep doing the things that hydrate and heal your skin, and you'll have plump, smooth skin for many years to come!
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