What comes to your mind when you hear about skin hydration? Do you think of moisturizing as a part of hydration? Skin that is dehydrated becomes dry and flaky, making you look dull and aged.
But don’t worry! We are here to enlighten you about the necessities of skin hydration and the benefits of it.
What Is Hydrating Skin?
Hydrating one’s skin means increasing the quantity of water in the skin. Human skin is made up of three layers, epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue. If the epidermis or outer layer does not have enough water, the skin will lose both elasticity and glow.
The human body as we know it, is made up of 70% water. Thus water plays a huge role in our physiology. Lack of water content in the human skin is associated with several dermatological dysfunctions.
“Rasa, the essence of the food that you eat, forms the first tissue, according to Ayurveda. This can be equated to lymph. Rasa hydrates the skin, keeps up the skin health and immunity. Rasa also regulates the effects of hormones on the skin,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
According to Ayurveda, there are 3 major skin types of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Among these, the characteristics of Vata skin type include a rough texture, little to no moisture, dullness with cracks and early signs of wrinkling. As Vata dominant skin type has the tendency towards dehydration and dryness, this skin type is most in need of hydration. Before following any hydration techniques, know your skin better.
What Does Hydrated Skin Look Like?
Human skin is ideally supposed to contain approximately 30% of water. You can identify whether your skin is hydrated or not, by simply observing its texture. If your skin feels plump, elastic and resilient, then your skin is hydrated. On the other hand, skin that is dry and dull, often indicates a lack of hydration.
It is also important to note that those with Pitta prakriti often appear to be radiant and glowing. This is due to the oily texture and high sebum secretion of the skin. But this does not mean that the skin is hydrated. Similarly, for those with Kapha prakriti skin, even if the face feels soft and moist, one should visit a dermatologist to know whether his/her skin is hydrated or not.
How Do You Know If Your Skin Is Dry Or Dehydrated?
To know whether your skin is dehydrated or dry, it is important to understand your skin type better . People often confuse dehydrated skin with dry skin. Although both have similar symptoms, they are not the result of similar occurrences.
1. Symptoms of Dehydrated Skin
Dehydration in the skin occurs due to the lack of water content in the skin. Symptoms include,
- The skin will appear dull or darker than your natural skin tone.
- You will have dark circles even if you are having proper sleep.
- You feel irritation or itchiness which may confuse you of being allergic.
- Your face may show signs of early aging, like wrinkles.
- You may notice some puffiness around your eyes.
2. Symptoms of Dry Skin
Dryness in the skin occurs due to lack of sebum creation. Symptoms include,
- Your face may feel itchy.
- There might be some redness on your skin.
- The skin might seem flaky or extremely dry.
Although each person is born with a particular prakriti of skin namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha, each skin type is affected gradually throughout life. Aspects like climate, lifestyle, age and skincare products that you use, can also cause dehydration in your skin.
How To Hydrate Skin Naturally?
Having identified the type of skin you have, it is important to hydrate skin naturally. This is essential because skin hydration isn’t just about beauty, but more importantly about health. As your skin is your first layer of protection against the outer world, both care and hydration should go hand in hand. Here are some ways in which you can hydrate your skin naturally:
A. Natural Methods
If you are looking for ways to hydrate your skin naturally, here are a few tips that might help:
1. Bath right:
Unless you are living in extreme cold areas, avoid bathing with hot water or staying in contact with hot water. Piping hot water can heighten the sensitivity of your skin, taking away essential oils that naturally secrete from your skin.
Moisturize your body and face immediately after taking a bath, washing your face or washing your hands. This is because when you moisturize while your epidermis is still wet, some of the water on the surface gets trapped in your skin resulting in hydration.
3. Choose skincare products wisely:
A. Avoid using skin care products that contain high quantities of alcohol, artificial fragrance or alpha hydroxy acid. Alcohol reduces the water content in the skin, increasing chances of dryness and early aging.
B. Artificial fragrances present in your cosmetics or beauty products can cause skin irritation, heightening its sensitivity.
C. Use a gentle cleanser for washing your face. The best way to cleanse dehydrated skin is by using a gentle cleanser along with cold or lukewarm water.
4. Hydrate your body:
Last and the most important way to hydrate your skin naturally is by hydrating your body without fail. Drink at least 8 glasses of water at proper intervals.
Vedix Tip: Cleanse your skin just twice a day in the morning and evenings. Over washing your skin can also make you dehydrated.
B. Home Remedies
To hydrate dry skin, here are some home remedies that you can follow without risking exposure to harmful chemicals:
1. Sunflower oil:
According to a study conducted in 2013 it was enunciated that sunflower oil if used as a moisturizer can hydrate the skin better than many manufactured products.
2. Coconut oil:
Another well known homemade moisturizer easily available in every household is coconut oil. Coconut oil increases the quantity of lipids in the epidermis, resulting in hydration of the skin. Coconut oil fills the gaps in dry skin. You can use coconut oil as a moisturizer or as a medium for mixing ingredients in homemade face packs.
Milk when used on skin shows anti-inflammatory properties that soothes the skin. Dabbing a cloth soaked in cold milk on the dry areas of your skin can help in rehydrating it. The lactic acid present in it may cause some irritation for those intolerant to it.
4. Aloe vera:
When we talk about aloe vera, our mind automatically goes to sunburn or irritation. Aloe vera can also act as a hydration element. With 95% water in itself, aloe vera not only locks the moisture in the skin but also acts as an adhesive that makes the cells in the epidermis stick together.
For best results, take aloe vera, honey and cinnamon, make it into a paste and apply it gently on your skin.
This is an important ingredient for dehydrated skin’s care. It can both take out or retain moisture in the skin. Honey can not only control the skin’s sebum production but can also balance the pH levels in the skin. Mix 2 tbsp of oats with 1 tbsp of honey and a little water. Apply it on your face every alternate day.
C. Ayurvedic Remedies
As per Ayurveda, ‘Twak Rukshta’ i.e. dehydrated skin is a minor skin problem or ‘Kshudra Kushta’. As enunciated above, among the Tridoshas or three energies that govern the body, Vata-dominant skin type has the tendency towards dehydration and dryness.
In order to hydrate dry and dull skin, there are some Ayurvedic solutions that you can follow like:
1. Herbal Exfoliation:
Herbal exfoliation or Udvartana is an old Ayurvedic technique that removes harmful Ama toxins from the skin and rejuvenates it. The herbs used in this technique are based on the type of skin you have. Usually, when a Vata dominated skin faces dehydration, Yastimadhu, Triphala and Ela, can be used to cure it.
You can make a gentle exfoliation scrub by mixing and grinding the above-mentioned ingredients into a powder and then adding either honey/rose water/coconut oil to it. Make sure you don’t over exfoliate your skin as that might result in further dehydration and irritation in the skin.
Abhyanga is a form of Ayurvedic oil massage that has helped in treating various skin conditions since ages. Abhyanga mostly helps in balancing the Vata prakriti skin type. Through this process, the skin absorbs the essential oils used in it. It also rejuvenates the skin and makes it fresh by removing the dead skin and harmful toxins.
The Ayurvedic process of using medicated liquids in order to pacify various aggravated doshas, is known as Nasya. It hydrates skin from the inside and replenishes it resulting in a healthy, natural glow. It is also very simple to practice, as all you have to do is to put 2 drops of ghee in each of your nostrils before you go to sleep.
Gandusha is an Ayurvedic process in which certain herbs are infused in water or oil and then solution is kept inside one’s mouth for a certain period of time. This procedure helps in curing dehydrated skin and premature signs of ageing.
Skin is the largest organ of your body and your diet plays a very important role in taking care of it. Eating foods that have a lot of fluid content in them generally helps in hydrating the skin. Here are some food items that can help in skin hydration.
1. Avocados: The protein present in avocados helps in elasticity of the skin, while the fat keeps your skin moisturized.
2. Oatmeal: This is a fibre-rich food and fibre is essential in helping prevent dead skin and alleviating redness.
3. Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes help lock in the moisture, giving your skin a healthy glow.
4. Extra virgin olive oil: The vitamin E present in olive oil helps in moisturizing skin.
5. Carrots: The vitamin A found in carrots attacks free radicals and can prevent wrinkles and improve your skin tone.
6. Leafy vegetables: Foods high in antioxidants like leafy vegetables help fight free radical damage in the skin.
7. Nuts and seeds: These are considered as power foods that help in strengthening the epidermis.
8. Fruits: Fruits are filled with water and vitamins A and C. Fruits promote collagen production and help keep your skin plump.
9. Eggs: Eggs are high in protein and help in cell regeneration. They supply sulphur and lutein which hydrates the skin.
“Excess salt and sugar in diet can shift the osmotic gradient of rasa from the skin towards the vessels, making the skin appear dehydrated and dry,” says Dr. Zeel.
Hydrated Skin Vs. Moisturized Skin
While the two terms seem similar, it is important to understand the differences between what each means. Knowing whether your skin requires hydration or moisturization, can help you choose the right products.
Hydration refers to the absorption of moisture from the air and involves the process of infusing your epidermis with water through various methods. Hydration refers to the water trapped between the skin cells that leads them to be plump and fresh. However this water can easily flow out of the cells if not taken care of.
Moisturizing, on the other hand, refers to trapping or locking moisture to build the skin's natural protective barrier. This in return prevents water loss from the skin. It is about trapping and sealing the skin’s protective barrier and helping it to prevent water loss.
The Last Word
No matter what skin type you have, drinking plenty of water  is still the easiest way to hydrate your skin. Dehydrated skin can be easily treated with basic lifestyle changes. One should eat more foods like fruits, vegetables that have a good fluid content apart from drinking a good amount of water throughout the day. As the dehydration of skin worsens with age, it is never too early to take care of your skin.
If you know that environmental factors or aging is not the cause behind your dry skin, or if you are confused, it’s better to consult a dermatologist. Know Your Dosha Now
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