Dry skin increases the risk of itchiness, dermatitis, sensitivity, lines and wrinkles and even potentially acne breakouts.

So how do you know if your skin is dehydrated?

If your skin feels tight after you wash your face in the morning, it’s DEHYDRATED.

If your skin feels increasing oily throughout the day, there’s a high chance it’s DEHYDRATED and you’re producing extra oil to compensate.

If your skin feels tight and itchy without any moisturiser, it’s DEHYDRATED.


Our skin has a natural hydration mechanism consisting of:-

  • Ceramides – alipids that are found in skin cells, making up 30% to 40% of your outer skin layer, or epidermis. Ceramides are like the cement between bricks. It’s important for retaining your skin’s moisture by acting as a waterproof barrier and protecting against the environment. Production is stimulated by the hormone Oestrogen so during perimenopause and menopause when oestrogen level drops, the skin easily becomes dryer and more sensitive.
  • Sebum – this helps to make the epidermis water proof and prevent water evaporation.
  • Hyaluronic acid – the skin accounts for 50% of HA in the body. It’s found in the dermis and has the ability to hold onto water molecules.
  • Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) – these are a family of naturally-occurring carbohydrates that assist in supporting and maintaining skin collagen and elastin. It also binds to water. Hyaluronic acid is a simple atypical GAG.
  • Natural Moisturising Factor (NMF) – this is an amino acid that helps to hydrate and protect cell structure. It’s found in the epidermis and essential for hydration, barrier homeostasis, cell turnover and skin flexibility.

That’s why when the skin is well hydrated, it self-exfoliates which is important if you are concerned with clogged pores, uneven texture and tone.

When any of the above is reduced either through age, hormonal decline or inflammation, it can lead to DISRUPTION of the EPIDERMAL SKIN BARRIER leading to INCREASE TRANS EPIDERMAL WATER LOSS (TEWL).

The higher the TEWL, the lower the skin integrity.

More water evaporates out leading to dryness, even when you’ve applied loads of skin products containing all the hydrating ingredients as above.

Cells don’t turnover properly, leading to scaly rough skin.

The skin barrier is impaired which makes it more prone to environmental triggers, increasing sensitivity, itchiness and rashes. This then can potentially trigger dermatitis and eczema.


A simple formula:-


  1.  First, let’s stop doing things that can dry out our skin even more. Reduce cleansing your face to once a day (rinse with water in the morning) and choose non-foaming, milky type cleanser. I would not recommend an oil-based cleanser as it doesn’t properly clean and you’ll be using mittens/ towels (which are harsh to the skin) to get it off.

I would also recommend avoiding toners, exfoliating scrubs, acids, peels and retinoids until your skin feels more hydrated, calmer and stronger.

2. Next, we need to add in the moisture and prevent water loss while you’re repairing and strengthening your epidermal barrier.

3. Optimise your skin routine and nutrition for extra support. I recommend my patients take a high dose of Omega 3, up to 2000mg/ day which helps to reduce inflammation and repair the barrier.

4. Consider in clinic treatments

5. As hormonal changes can affect the skin, consider having your hormones checked and work with a practitioner like myself to balance and optimise your hormones for an inside out approach.

I hope you found this blog useful.

If you like my approach and would like my support in optimising your skin health, please get in touch with my team on [email protected].

Until next blog, here’s to healthier and more hydrated skin.
Dr Terry