For many women, skin dehydration is the most common underlying cause of major skin problems. However, dehydration is not to be mistaken for dryness. According to this article from Paula’s Choice:
“Dehydrated skin produces a normal or even excessive amount of oil, yet feels tight or dry, and can even be flaky. This skin concern tends to come and go.”
“Dry skin has almost no oil present, and this situation rarely fluctuates. Dry skin is a specific skin type, while dehydrated skin is a skin concern.”
This goes to show that dehydrated skin can be oily on the surface. But the more you try to control that oiliness by using oil control products, the more your skin tries to make up for the lack of moisture by producing more sebum. It never ends.
Here are a few ways you can improve your skin’s hydration levels. It takes hard work and a whole lot of diligence, but the results will prove that your efforts are worth it in the end.
Drink at least 2 litres of water a day
“Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.” Derek Zoolander wasn’t wrong about this. People who drink lots of water have clearer skin, because water helps flush out all the nasties while keeping your cells plump and supple. Every morning, drink a large glass of water (say 500ml) before you go out. If you’re not used to gulping it down at one go, sip it in intervals. Add lemon slices to make it tastier. One trick I’ve learned to make myself drink water is to fill up a tumbler and drink it from a straw – it certainly makes you drink more, and it’s faster, too.
More greens, more fruits, less meat, less oil, less dairy
Whenever you can, eat more veggies and fruits, and try going one day a week without meat. This helps to give your digestive system a break from the hard work it’s been doing all these years. A Japanese woman I know who has amazing skin (she’s over 50) told me, “Try to eat at least 30 different ingredients a day”. Take fried rice, for example. Yes, it has tiny bits of meat and mixed veg and egg, but it’s still mainly rice. So, that counts as one ingredient. But if you make a soup that contains carrots, corn, peas, tomatoes and onions, or make a salad with lettuce, eggplant, courgette, avocado and egg… you get the drift.
Sheet mask every alternate day
Asian beauty Fan Bing Bing’s skin is flawless, and she’s not afraid to tell you that she works hard to make it look that way. In an interview with CNN, she mentioned that she uses up to 600 sheet masks a year, which breaks down to one a day (sometimes more!). Try Fan Bing Bing’s beauty trick and use a hydrating sheet mask, followed by a whitening one. As each sheet mask stays on your face for 15 to 20 minutes, two sheet masks ensure a continuous ‘soaking’ of the skin for 40 minutes. Let your skin drink up all the moisture it needs. However, if doing this daily feels like a chore, one sheet mask every alternate day is good enough than not using any at all.
Do more than just cleanse-tone-moisturise
No matter your skin type, now is a good time as any to go beyond the conventional 3-step routine. This is especially important if you’ve passed the 20s benchmark. You ultimate goal is to prevent and slow down the signs of ageing and dehydration, so that your complexion stays good for a longer period of time. Gradually introduce more products into your regime. An eye cream, a day serum, a night serum, a sleeping mask, a night cream… These are little luxuries that won’t be easy on the pocket, but your skin will thank you for it 20 or 30 years later. Do it before it’s too late!
Apply face oil before moisturiser in the evenings
I never understood the benefits and necessity of a face oil until I parted ways with my money to get one for myself. True, it takes a bit of time to fully sink in, and my boyfriend never wants to touch my face after that (“Eeeee so oily!!!”), but the morning-after glow makes everything worth it. I tried other products like sleeping masks and night creams, but none of them come close to replicating the radiant calmness my skin takes on after a good ol’ application of face oil. Simply spray your face with face mist after cleansing and toning, and massage a few drops of face oil into skin. Alternatively, you can soak your cotton pad with more toner so your skin is still damp while you apply face oil. Skip the serum, and follow with moisturizer.
(Images: chatelaine.com, ndtv.com, styleblazer.com, beautyeditor.ca, beautyramp.com, intothegloss.com)