Skin hydration is not a matter of simply drinking water or taking a shower. In fact, if the shower water is hot you are stripping the skin of moisture. While drinking water is good for your body overall, there’s no research that shows it hydrates your skin. Skin hydration can be affected by lifestyle, age, season, diet and the skin care products you use. If your skin feels tight and rough it may be dehydrated. Keeping your skin well hydrated slows the appearance of aging. Here are some skin hydration dos and don’ts to help guide you in keeping your skin healthy and hydrated.
Do’s for skin hydration
- Use a gentle cleanser
Cleanse your face at the end of each day. Cleansers remove whatever daily toxins and dirt your skin has been exposed to. They also help remove dead cells on the skin surface. A gentle cleanser can add moisture to your skin. Look for hydrating olive oil and shea butter as ingredients. While cleansing always wash with lukewarm water.
As we age, the skin’s surface renewal process slows. Dehydrated dead skin cells languish on the skin surface making skin look dull. These dead cells also block the skin from absorbing moisturizing products. Exfoliate regularly to refresh surface skin.
- Apply water-based skin care products
One proven way to keep your skin hydrated is to apply water-based skin care products on damp skin. For both face and body, water-based products with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin C lock moisture in, making your skin feel less tight and rough. It’s water that puts the glow in your skin, so water-based products work with your skin. Remember to apply a body and face cream after you shower and a hand cream after washing your hands.
Water-based face masks and eye creams can hydrate the skin and soften fine lines. Use serums between cleansing and moisturizing. If skin feels tight during the day, use a facial spray to refresh.
- Add a humidifier
Humidifiers are often welcome during the winter months to add moisture to dry, indoor air. Your skin will feel the difference.
- Eat anti-oxidant foods and healthy fats
High anti-oxidant foods contain vitamin A (carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, cantaloupe), vitamin C (orange juice, strawberries, peppers, broccoli) and vitamin E (nuts, seeds, olives, asparagus). Well-hydrated skin with a nice layer of lipid (fat) beneath protects internal moisture. Smart fats contain omega-3s found in fish, walnuts and ground flaxseed.
- Protect skin during winter
Wear gloves, hats, and jackets when going outside to protect your skin from cold, dry air. Apply sunscreen and moisturize as needed, which may be more often than during other seasons. Moisturizers form a protective seal, pull hydration to outer skin layers, and smooth edges between outer layer cells.
Don’t Allow Skin to Dry
Here are some ways to avoid skin dehydration.
- When cleansing, avoid hot water and deodorant soap. These can strip skin of moisture.
- Do not use skin care products that contain alcohol, fragrance, retinoids or alpha hydroxy acid. These are known to dry the skin, rather than smoothing and plumping skin the way water and other hydrating ingredients do.
- Avoid eating a lot of processed foods and don’t smoke.
- During summer, avoid heavily chlorinated swimming pools. Chlorine can dry the skin,
These are simple steps to keep your skin well hydrated. In taking them, you can say goodbye to dry, itchy, dull skin and hello to bright, even toned, smooth skin. (image: Vitória Santos | Pexels)