How to tell if your skin is dry or dehydrated

Dryness is a common winter skin woe. Here’s how to spot the signs, and five easy steps to treat it.

Winter isn’t particularly kind on our skin, stripping it of moisture, chapping our lips and causing irritation.

But there are preventative measures you can take to keep your skin hydrated and supple.

How to know if your skin is dry

Dry skin can have a “tight” feeling and often looks dull and ashy, says Olay principal scientist Dr David Khoo.

“It may be more prone to irritation and redness, and fine lines and wrinkles are often more evident. In extreme cases, skin can show a subtle loss in plumpness and bounce,” he says.

Dry or dehydrated?

You might hear both “dry” and “dehydrated” thrown around, but they’re just different terms for the same phenomenon – low skin hydration.

Skin becomes chronically dry when hydration dips below 30 per cent.

Dr Khoo says it then enters a “dry skin cycle”, where skin renewal slows and dull skin accumulates on the surface.

This in turn makes the thickened layer harder to hydrate, because moisture cannot penetrate as deeply.

How does skin become dry or dehydrated?

Our skin battles the elements all day – so it’s constantly losing moisture.

This water loss is accelerated through things like hot showers with harsh soap, which can strip oils that help lock in moisture, heating, air-conditioning or low humidity.

How do you rehydrate dry skin?

“Having a daily skincare habit is your best bet,” says Dr Khoo.

Dr Khoo’s top tips include:

  • Practise a twice-daily regimen of cleansing, immediately followed by moisturising.
  • Use a fast-working serum to jumpstart your skin’s recovery, promote skin renewal and build the skin barrier.
  • Follow up with a nourishing overnight ritual – for extra hydration rescue, add the Olay Rejuvenating Magnemask cream, followed by a two-minute massage using the Olay Magnetic Infuser. The infuser works with the cream to intensely nourish the skin; pushing the active ingredients up to ten layers deep.
  • Drink eight glasses of water a day, and more if you are in dry conditions.
  • Take care of your skin barrier for the long term by nourishing it with the right ingredients.

“Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) promotes the development of skin barrier components like fillagrin, involucrin and lipids that make for a strong, well-sealed skin barrier,” says Dr Khoo.

To heal dry skin and lock in the moisture, Dr Khoo recommends using:

Watch Dr David Khoo discuss how to care for your skin in House of Wellness TV.

This is a sponsored post for Olay Magnemasks

Written by Charlotte Brundrett