We all know hydration is used as a core selling point for skincare, with labels invariably claiming to boost or lock in hydration. But do we know what that really means and why we want our skin to be hydrated? And how important is your overall body’s hydration for the appearance of your skin? We’re taking a look at how skin stays hydrated and how your hydration levels can affect your skin’s overall health. And model Adriana Lima, who has recently launched her collaboration with WaterDrop, shares the inside track on how keeping your water intake up will help keep you glowing.
Why does skin need to be hydrated?
When we’re talking about hydration, we’re really talking about water. Plain and simple H2O. We know it’s crucial to help us feel good. Drinking water is a cornerstone in living a healthy lifestyle, but it also helps you look your best too. Adriana told us: “I always prioritize hydration as one of my favorite beauty tips. Not just for the external reasons, but because staying hydrated keeps me focused, alert and able to achieve everything that my day demands of me.”
Skin uses water for a few different things, including giving it strength and elasticity, and it’s also thought that hydrated skin defends itself better from free radicals like pollution. If you think of your skin as a network of lots of tiny triangles, when you’re hydrated, the triangles plump up, leaving your skin looking smooth. If you’re dehydrated, the triangles look almost deflated, and as a result, your skin looks dull and fine lines as accentuated. So, while drinking a glass of water and using your skincare daily won’t keep you looking like you’re 20 forever, it’ll help your skin look after itself in the long run.
How can you hydrate your skin?
The first and most important step you can take to keep your skin hydrated is - you guessed it - to drink water. “Drinking enough water is so important to feeling and looking your best,” Adriana told us. “Partnering with waterdrop, we created a bottle that you could be excited about carrying with you and can transition with you - from the gym, with your family, or on the way to a meeting.” And staying hydrated throughout the day really is key: the average recommended amount of water adults should drink daily is around half a gallon or two liters, which works out at about eight glasses of water daily. This can vary depending on a bunch of factors, including your activity level, age, and any health conditions you might be dealing with. So if you have any doubt, have a chat with your primary care physician or even with your dermatologist.
As much as taking steps to increase your skin’s hydration is important, avoiding conditions that dry out your skin or at least taking extra steps to keep your skin hydrated when dealing with them will go a long way towards keeping your skin happy. For example, if the air around you is very warm or very cold, if you use soaps that strip your skin of oils, or even spend too long in hot water (think soaking in a very hot bath, or taking a long steamy shower). In these scenarios, using skincare products that help lock in hydration will help your skin feel its best.
What is the difference between hydrating and moisturizing?
In short, hydration gives your skin water and moisturizing locks that moisture in. Hydrating skin care products often come in the form of sprays, mists, and serums, which are usually water-based. While moisturizing products tend to have heavier formulations like oil-based gels or creams. Dry skin needs both hydrating and moisturizing to get back to its healthiest state, so combining both types of products is your safest bet if your skin is feeling a bit dull and dried out. Here’s how to read the label if you’re shopping for new skincare to hydrate or moisturize your skin.
Fatty alcohols, including cetyl and stearyl
Emollients including cetyl acetate
Does hydrated skin help acne?
One of the most commonly googled questions regarding skin hydration is whether well-hydrated skin can help with skin conditions, particularly acne. In most cases, having hydrated skin means your skin is well cared for, which is always crucial if you’re dealing with acne or any other skin condition. Keeping skin hydrated means your skin should have everything it needs for a healthy cell turnover and aid the healing process. On the other hand, you will want to make sure the skincare products you are using don’t contain anything that could further irritate your skin, so make sure you check labels carefully, and if you have any doubt, ask your dermatologist for advice.
Our favorite hydrating skincare
For your body…
Bawdy’s The Bawdy Wash
This powder-to-lather formula is packed with hydrating ingredients to give your skin an extra boost in the shower. Simply apply some powder to your skin or in the palm of your hand, add water, and cleanse your skin. It contains kaolin and seaweed to give your skin extra moisture and lock it right in, and its powder formula makes it perfect for taking with you on the go.
For your face…
La Roche Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum
An ultra-hydrating serum that’s formulated to be kind to even sensitive skin, LRP’s Hyalu B5 is a staple for many people who deal with dry skin on the regular. Include it as part of your daily skincare routine, or apply it to dry patches on your body when needed to give your skin an extra dose of hydration.
To lock it in…
Honest Hydrogel Cream
Perfect for cooling dry skin after cleansing, this hydrogel cream contains hyaluronic acid to further boost hydration levels and moisturizing jojoba to lock it all in. It comes in three sizes, including a refill pod to reduce wasting packaging – and also because they know you’ll want to buy more once you finish one pot!