What Is Skin Hydration?
Skin hydration is the process of treating skin with moisturizing products to keep the skin soft and supple. Dehydrated skin feels tighter and duller, has more wrinkles, and may produce dark circles under the eyes.
Dry skin can occur in all skin types, so it’s important to find the right lotions and techniques to keep your skin hydrated. Often, moisturization is the final step in a skincare routine, though properly nourishing and hydrating skin goes beyond just a single step. With the right practices, you'll be able to prevent dryness and increase water retention.
How to Hydrate Skin
Consider employing the following techniques to achieve hydrated skin.
- Use a humidifier. Low-humidity environments often lead to dry skin. Use a portable humidifier, or have one installed in your home's central heating unit.
- Hydrate skin with lotion, ointments, or face creams. From moisturizing creams to petrolatum (petroleum jelly), there are many over-the-counter skincare products that can be used to hydrate your skin. Look for lotions containing lipids, ceramides, glycerin, or hyaluronic acid to help reinforce the skin's protective barrier. If you have an oily skin type, consider using an oil-free moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated without contributing to the oiliness.
- Try moisturizing serums. Squalane emollient serums, for example, help emulate the benefits of your skin's natural oils and provide natural antioxidants. People with especially dry skin can benefit from layering a serum with a moisturizer.
- Use a vitamin C serum for brighter skin. As skin ages, collagen production dwindles, causing the skin to lose its elasticity. Vitamin C face masks and serums help brighten your skin tone. A combination of topical and oral vitamin C can help boost collagen production, potentially helping minimize wrinkles and fine lines.
- Apply a facial toner. A toner hydrates your skin, allowing face moisturizers and serums to penetrate deeper into your pores.
- Drink plenty of water. Your organs—including your skin—absorb moisture when you drink water. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day and avoiding excessive consumption of diuretics like coffee and alcohol can help with moisture retention.
- Exfoliate a couple of times a week at most. A face scrub will help remove dead skin cells and residue build-up that can clog the skin's pores. Likewise, a chemical exfoliator containing glycolic acid strips away dead cells, helping your skin absorb moisturizing topicals. Use a face scrub two to three times weekly at most. Use a chemical exfoliator, such as a face peel, no more than once a week. Keep in mind that over-exfoliating reduces your natural skin barrier, so avoid exfoliating if your skin feels dry or irritated.
- Use sunscreen. Exposure to direct sunlight can dehydrate your skin. Dermatologists recommend applying a sunscreen with an SPF 30 strength or higher to block out about ninety-seven percent of all UVB rays. If you do experience sunburn, soothe and hydrate your skin with aloe vera.
- Use natural oils. You can use natural moisturizing oils to aid dehydrated skin. If your skin is acne-prone yet dry, consider applying jojoba oil alone or on top of your moisturizer.
- Use gentle cleansers only. To avoid stripping your skin of essential oils, wash your face daily with a fragrance-free facial cleanser designed for sensitive skin.
- Skip long, hot showers. Long showers with hot water encourage moisture to leave your skin. Instead, opt for lukewarm, shorter showers and avoid using oil-stripping soaps.
- Moisturize right after a shower. Lock in moisture by applying lotion or shea butter over your entire body right after you get out of the shower. Body oils applied to slightly damp skin can have a similarly hydrating effect.
To help hydrate your skin:
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