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Dehydrated skin? Not this Ramadan!


During the month of Ramadan does your skin start looking and feeling tight and uncomfortable? 

Does it look dull and unhealthy? If it does, your first instinct is probably to think your skin is dry and grab your moisturizer.  Well, it could be dry, but it is probably more likely to be dehydrated – or both!  Most people confuse the terms dry skin with dehydrated skin, or they assume that they are interchangeable.  Yes your skin can be both, but it can also be oily on the surface, yet dehydrated at the same time.  In fact, dehydrated skin often overcompensates for itself and produces more oil – therefore making the surface oily.  Let me clear things up a bit.

Dry skin can be the physical trait of having genetically dry skin, which usually feels tight and uncomfortable and is quite often flaky and rough. It can be helped by using rich moisturizing products formulated for dry skin.


Dehydrated skin also usually feels uncomfortable but the surface can be dry, normal, or oily, because dehydrated skin is usually caused by what is going on inside your body.   If your body is lacking water and hydration, or is malnourished, then your skin will look dull and dehydrated. Extreme heat, fasting and rich food are the staples of Ramadan and all these factors combined can lead to dehydrated skin.



There are several important factors that reduce skin hydration levels.

  • Aging leads to declining hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone which can result in loss of collagen and skin elasticity, cause a thinning of the skin, making it more prone to dehydration.
  • Bad lifestyle choices like drinking too much coffee and smoking can put oxidative stress on the skin, which in turn makes the skin prone to dehydration and results in lacklustre skin.
  • Environmental conditions like over-exposure to the sun, heat and humidity – are also responsible for dehydrated skin. Taking long hot showers or baths can contribute to dehydrated skin as it draws moisture out of the skin.
  • Aggressive cleansing methods and strong active ingredients in the products you use can also cause the protective skin mantle barrier to be disrupted, increasing your skin’s chances of dehydration. So your twice-a-week exfoliation could actually be doing more harm than good!


During the month of Ramadan you can keep your skin properly hydrated by drinking lots of water, and also by limiting caffeine, not smoking, eating a healthy diet, using a humidifier, and applying a good quality moisturizer.

Some doctors recommend drinking half your body weight in water a day. So, for example if you are 140lbs, then load up on 70 ounces of water (that translates to approximately two liters – one at sahoor and one at fatoor).



Some foods are 90 per cent water, making them an excellent choice to stay hydrated, especially in the fasting summer months. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally high in fluids, and offer the additional benefit of fiber, vitamins, minerals as well as antioxidants. Munch on these refreshing fruits & veggies for sahoor and iftar and watch your skin glow from their hydration and nutrient benefits.

  • Oranges
  • Berries
  • Courgettes
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Lettuce
  • Peaches
  • Watermelon
  • Celery

In terms of the best hydrating drinks, water comes out on top – it hydrates the body and is naturally calorie and sugar-free. If you have trouble drinking plain water, mix things up a bit by adding freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, or make your own calorie-free iced tea, by steeping herbal tea bags in a pitcher of cold water.



Keep in mind that while most beverages contribute to your daily fluid intake, not all beverages are equal. Avoid drinks that offer empty calories, they don’t offer any benefit in terms of nutrition. Sweetened coffee, as well as fruit juice with added sugar should also be limited.

Any foods very high in sodium will naturally draw water from your body, possibly contributing to dehydration. Limit your intake of these foods, such as crisps, fast food and many packaged foods – canned soups, frozen pizza, processed meat and canned vegetables. You should also be wary of condiments high in sodium as well, including soy sauce, teriyaki sauce and hoisin sauce.

Once you make sure your body and skin are hydrated properly – which can take a good month or two to get back on track – take a good look at the surface of your skin because you may not have dry skin. Figure out if you are dry, normal or oily and treat your skin as such with cleansers, moisturizers, and of course – sunscreen.

This just goes to show you that if you keep your body healthy – your skin will thank you and produce that radiant, healthy glow that we all want.

Ramadan Kareem!

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