By now you know how essential hydration is to keeping your skin looking and feeling healthy and radiant. But what you may not realize is that moisturizing your skin twice a day may not be enough. A solid skin care routine that provides your skin with the hydration it needs requires some maneuvering and at times, product hacking.
Considering that most skin care products have high concentrations of water in them, it’s no surprise that they can be effective at helping to maintain hydration in the skin — that is, if you're choosing products wisely and applying them correctly. But, there are other aspects of your life that can influence how hydrated or dehydrated your skin is. Keep reading to learn the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin, plus, how to properly hydrate your skin and tips to add to your daily skin regimen to boost hydration.
Why Is Skin Hydration Important?
According to the Mayo Clinic, roughness and loss of elasticity can occur if the outermost layer of the skin does not contain enough water. These symptoms detract from a glowing complexion, contribute to dullness, texture and can be uncomfortable, too. While there’s much debate about whether or not increasing your water intake can actually make your skin appear more hydrated, we do know that skin care can help.
What is Hydrated Skin?
Hydrated skin looks plump, smooth and sometimes naturally glowy because it has enough water to support and strengthen it. It doesn’t have a flaky texture and it shouldn’t feel rough, tight or uncomfortable. A good indication of hydrated skin is when you pinch it, it settles back into place immediately.
What Causes Dehydrated Skin?
Dehydrated skin lacks water so things like dry weather, excess caffeine or alcohol consumption and hot showers can lead to a dehydrated complexion. Note that all of these things draw moisture from the skin, thus leading to bouts of dehydration. And it doesn’t matter if you naturally have oily skin or dry skin — all skin types can experience dehydration.
While many argue that decreased water intake can lead to dehydrated skin, the Mayo Clinic reports a lack of research showing that water consumption impacts the skin’s hydration or appearance.
What’s the Difference Between Dry Skin and Dehydrated Skin?
Differentiating between dry skin and dehydrated skin can be difficult when you don’t know what to look for. Remember that dehydrated skin is a skin concern, dry skin is a skin type. Dehydrated skin lacks water and looks dull and flat. Dry skin lacks oils which makes it flaky and tight.
All skin types can deal with dehydration and it can be eliminated with conscious lifestyle practices and a hydrating skin care routine. Dry skin is usually genetic, kind of like a perpetual dryness that consistently needs to be addressed. Although, you can experience dryness as the seasons change and the moisture in the air decreases.
As for appearance, dehydrated skin is flat and dull. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) also states that dehydrated skin has more noticeable fine lines and skin texture. If you have oily skin that’s also dehydrated, your skin may look extra greasy and lackluster with increased breakouts.
Dry skin is flakey, tight and rough in texture. According to the AAD, it may even be itchy or painful if the skin is dry enough to crack.
What’s the Difference Between Moisturizing and Hydrating?
Hydrating products absorb into the skin to increase the water content. Moisturizing products lock in moisture to keep the skin hydrated, creating a protective barrier that prevents water loss. Dry skin needs to be moisturized whereas dehydrated skin needs to be hydrated.
Hydrating and moisturizing products work well together to hydrate skin, lock in moisture and improve the appearance of your skin. Dry or dehydrated skin is going to look lackluster and drab, whereas hydrated skin that is able to retain moisture is going to look healthy, glowy and plump. While moisturizing and hydrating are a little different in the way they work, they work very well together and you need both to keep your skin hydrated.
How to Test Skin Hydration Levels
To quickly test hydration levels in your body, pinch the wrinkled skin on your knuckle and make note of how quickly it returns to its normal state. If the pinched skin stays in place, you’re dehydrated, if it quickly smoothes out, you’re adequately hydrated.
How Can I Hydrate My Skin Fast?
If your skin is already starting to feel parched, it may be getting tight and uncomfortable. If that’s the case you’re likely wondering how you can get some hydration relief quickly. Incorporate these easy tips into your routine to help your skin get and retain moisture.
1. Use a Moisturizer With Hyaluronic Acid
Regardless of your skin type, it’s important to pick a moisturizer with hydrating ingredients. Look for one that's formulated with hyaluronic acid, which helps to enhance skin hydration. The L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Anti-Aging Moisturizer, contains hyaluronic acid, Pro-Retinol, and vitamin C to moisturize, replump the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Along with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, glycerin and aloe are hydrating ingredients that can help deliver water to skin cells while strengthening the skin barrier.
2. Try Water-Based Skin Care Products
If you have oily skin and feel like most moisturizers are too heavy or greasy, don’t neglect applying moisturizer altogether. Instead, reach for one with a water-based formula which can aid in hydration while remaining lightweight on the skin.
Try the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Micro Hyaluronic Acid + Ceramides Line-Plumping Water Cream, which contains hyaluronic acid and plump-locking ceramides for a healthy skin barrier. Over time your skin looks brighter with visibly reduced fine lines.
3. Apply Moisturizer On Damp Skin
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), applying occlusives 一moisturizing agents that provide a protective layer on the skin and prevent water loss 一 on damp skin is most effective at sealing in moisture. Additionally, the AAD recommends applying moisturizer no more than five minutes after a bath or shower to draw in moisture. So, in order to seal in as much hydration as possible, apply moisturizer on your face and body right after washing, when the skin is still damp.
Along with moisturizing your face and body, remember to always apply SPF, as harsh sun exposure can be extremely drying to the skin. The L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Invisible UV Fluid is a great option for the face because it provides protection against UVA and UVB rays without leaving a white cast on any skin tone.
4. Don’t Forget a Hydrating Serum
Incorporating a hydrating serum can be helpful in boosting the skin’s water content because serums have a high concentration of active ingredients. You should opt for a serum with hyaluronic acid, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum, which enhances the skin’s moisture-retention for lasting hydration. It also works to replump the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles for a more youthful appearance.
If you have dry, mature skin, try the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Skin Care Cell Renewal Anti-Aging Midnight Serum. This lightweight serum feels like a luxury formula thanks to patented antioxidant complex, vitamin E and hyaluronic acid that works to reinforce the skin barrier while refining skin texture, smoothing fine lines and boosting radiance.
How Can I Hydrate My Dry Skin?
As the weather gets colder for many, dry skin becomes the norm — but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for it. Whether you have constantly dry skin or you’re just noticing dry patches and stiffness due to the cool air, follow these tips for hydrating dry skin at any time of year.
1. Use a Gentle Cleanser
While cleansing excess oil and dirt from the skin is essential, some cleansers are simply too abrasive for certain skin types. A great gentle option that effectively cleanses is the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Radiant Smoothing Cream Cleanser. It gently exfoliates, removes makeup and cleanses impurities for all skin types without drying or stripping the skin.
According to the AAD, oily skin can also benefit from a gentle cleanser because harsh ingredients and formulas can trigger increased oil production and increased dryness. If your oily skin feels uncharacteristically dry, it may be something as simple as your daily cleanser.
2. Use an Eye Serum
Whether you have dry skin or oily skin, the eye area is often one of the first places to show signs of thirst. Just like serums with hyaluronic acid are great for the rest of the face, they can be highly beneficial for the eye area, too.
We love the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives with 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid + 1% Caffeine Eye Serum because it contains anti-aging ingredients such as niacinamide (known for its soothing properties) and caffeine (which promotes blood circulation). It also provides hydration to the under-eye area while addressing dark circles and puffiness.
3. Use Facial Spray for Midday Moisture
In those moments when you wish you could replenish your skin’s moisture in the middle of the day but don’t want to disrupt your makeup, grab a facial spray for help. Look for one with hydrating coconut water to give skin a boost or aloe vera to soothe irritation and redness.
4. Skip the Long, Hot Showers
A steamy shower feels incredible, especially when it’s freezing outside. But long, hot showers can actually strip your skin of moisture, leaving you feeling dry — and this goes for all skin types. Instead, rinse off in lukewarm water and apply moisturizer when your skin is still wet post-shower. That will help lock in moisture and keep dryness away.
If you can’t help but turn the temperatures up, be sure to keep your showers brief. The less time you spend submerging yourself in super-hot water, the better you’ll be able to play defense against dry skin. If you can, it’s also a good idea to shield your hair and your face from the hot water because it can easily strip moisture from both.
5. Switch Your Products With the Season
The moisturizer you use in the summer may not be as effective in the winter. You may find that your skin is drier in the winter (again, you can thank the low moisture levels in the air for that) and that means that a rich cream could help provide much-needed hydration. It’s always best to evaluate the state of your skin and make adjustments accordingly.
6. Add Water-Rich Foods to Your Diet
While your daily water intake may not be a huge factor in your dry complexion, the Cleveland Clinic recommends upping your intake of water-rich foods like watermelon, cucumbers and celery. Watermelon contains lycopene which helps to protect cells against sun damage while also improving the appearance of your complexion. Cucumbers aid in anti-aging efforts and also help to reduce redness.
How Do You Hydrate Your Skin Overnight?
Now that you’re well-versed in hydrating your skin at the start of and throughout the day, you need to be able to protect your complexion while you get your beauty rest too. Try these four tips below to help you hydrate your skin while you sleep.
1. Invest in a Humidifier
Using a humidifier is especially a smart idea in the winter, but it can be a benefit year round if you live in a dry climate. Low moisture in the air can cause your skin to feel dry. A humidifier can help add moisture back into the air and help your skin remain hydrated.
2. Use An Overnight Face Mask
Applying a face mask is a great way to add extra hydration into your skin care routine. While there are tons of face masks on the market that help address a number of skin concerns, you’ll want to look for options that are formulated with hydrating ingredients.
Seek out formulas with hyaluronic acid or squalane, an antibacterial emollient. The L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Anti-Aging Overnight Mask is formulated with hyaluronic acid and other good-for-skin anti-aging ingredients that wrap very dry skin in moisture at night. If you have oily skin or combination skin, only apply the mask in the areas of your face that are dry.
3. Soothe Dry Lips
Dry, flaky lips are uncomfortable and they can also take away from a hydrated, healthy-looking complexion (plus, your lips have skin too). Be sure to gently exfoliate them and apply a rich, moisturizing lip balm on top. If you refuse to sacrifice color for comfort don’t worry, there are lip oils and other lip care products that offer both.
The L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Balm-in-Lipstick with Pomegranate Extract and L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Lip Balm-in-Gloss Pomegranate Extract are both formulated with pomegranate extract and a caring formula to hydrate and soften lips while offering a colored glow.
4. Try Slugging
If your skin is severely dry, consider slugging with an occlusive like petroleum jelly after applying your moisturizer and serums to trap in moisture. Slugging is the act of slathering an occlusive over your complexion in the last step of your skin care routine to lock in moisture. It works and it’s especially good during the winter months and for those with dry skin. If you have acne-prone skin, stay away from slugging with petroleum jelly as applying the substance to your face can lead to clogged pores and congestion that can cause acne breakouts.
Photographer: Nelson Huang, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Producer: Becca Solovay, Beauty Content Director: Shalwah Evans, Visual Designer: Sarah Duvivier, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Wardrobe Assistant: Jazmine Alzado, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Digi Tech: Jacky Jiang, Photo Assistant: Tyler Andrews, Model: Erin Williams
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