Various factors can lead to dehydrated skin, leaving your complexion dry, flaky, and dull. Fortunately, restoring skin hydration is possible and can be done in as little as just a few days.
In this guide from Nourishing Biologicals, we cover tried-and-true ways to increase skin hydration — fast. But first, let’s go over what it means to have hydrated skin and why it’s so important.
Why Is Skin Hydration So Important?
Hydration is one of the essential factors in your skin’s appearance. When your skin is properly hydrated, it looks plump, smooth, and bright. Plus, the skin barrier — which protects you from many environmental hazards like air pollution — is in the best shape to do its job.
However, when your skin loses its moisture, it can look slack, flaky, and dull. They can look more prominent if you have wrinkles, fine lines, or laxity.
In addition, your skin barrier may be less likely to protect your skin from everything you come in contact with, such as UV rays. The result? Faster aging and all sorts of skin damage.
In sum, skin hydration is essential for both your skin’s health and appearance. This makes it important to address dehydrated skin as quickly as possible. To do this, try to determine if your skin is genuinely dehydrated using our guide below.
How Do You Know if Your Skin Is Dehydrated?
If you have skin that feels dry, flaky, or itchy all the time, you might have a dry skin type. This is caused by underactive sebaceous glands, which means that you naturally produce less oils. Your skin may dry on your entire face or in certain areas (e.g., the cheeks).
However, if your skin is dehydrated, it’s typically a short-term state that can be resolved with skincare ingredients or lifestyle factors. What’s more, dry skin isn’t caused by a lack of oil. Instead, it stems from a lack of water in the skin.
If your skin is dehydrated, you may feel a tight sensation — as if your skin is being stretched. You may also experience flakiness, dullness, and irritation. Your skin may feel more dehydrated outside of the slightly more oily T-zone, which includes your cheeks and chin.
Addressing dehydrated skin is different from dry skin. It requires nixing those moisture-sapping habits while increasing your skin’s moisture both externally and internally. In the next section, we’ll go over tried-and-true ways to boost your skin’s hydration.
Skincare Products That Increase Hydration
Certain hydrating ingredients have been clinically shown to increase the skin’s moisture content.
Here are five of our favorite hydration-boosting ingredients:
1. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that holds a massive amount of water. By drawing moisture from other sources, such as the deeper layers of your skin, hyaluronic acid can keep the skin looking plump and hydrated.
You can find hyaluronic acid in our Miracular Face Serum.
This ingredient is a derivative of squalene, a molecule that makes up the oils found naturally in the skin. Squalane is a lightweight moisturizer that can be layered with other ingredients, like a hyaluronic acid serum.
Because squalane is similar to the skin’s natural oils, it can provide moisture without making the skin feel heavy and greasy.
Glycerin is a colorless sugar alcohol, the building block of many types of fats (you may recognize it as an ingredient used to make soap). Like hyaluronic acid, glycerin acts as a humectant, drawing moisture.
In addition, because of its small molecular size, glycerin can penetrate the skin barrier, leading to long-term hydration.
4. Jojoba Oil
Any type of oil can be useful for those with dehydrated skin. Oils can trap moisture in the skin, which is especially important for those living in dry climates. And it’s great for making sure your skincare ingredients don’t evaporate.
From all facial oils, jojoba oil is a favorite at Nourishing Biologicals. It is very similar to the skin’s natural oils, which allows it to provide superior hydration. Plus, it’s non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog your pores — especially important for acne-prone skin types.
The sun’s UV rays can deplete the skin’s natural oils, leading to greater dryness.
If you’re stepping outside, the last step in your skincare routine should include proper sun protection. This can come from an SPF lotion, foundation, or mineral makeup.
How you choose to protect your skin is entirely up to you — as long as you do it consistently.
Other Ways To Increase Skin Hydration
Your hydrating skincare routine may be down, but it’s only part of the equation. What you put on the inside also plays a major role in your skin’s hydration levels. Here are some lifestyle behaviors that can help you increase your skin’s moisture.
1. Get Enough Restorative Sleep
Amongst the many reasons for the term “beauty sleep,” increased skin hydration tops the list. When you sleep, your skin repairs itself, a process that includes replenishing moisture stores. The less sleep you get, the less likely your skin will be to do this effectively.
One study even found that people who didn’t get a good night’s sleep — for just one night — had 30% less moisture barrier recovery than those who slept for at least seven hours.
In addition, lack of sleep can influence other aspects of skin repair, such as increased irritation.
2. Drink More Hydrating Fluids
Your skin’s water content may be as high as 70%. While your skin’s water content can undoubtedly be depleted through the environment (e.g., dry climate), not getting enough fluids can also play a role in skin dehydration.
If you’re not getting enough water, nourishing fluids, and water-rich foods, the results may show up in skin dehydration. If you experience other signs of general dehydration, such as dry mouth, it may be time to increase your water intake.
You may also want to avoid drinking too many diuretics. Fluids like coffee or alcohol make you excrete water at a faster rate, leading to increased dehydration. As a rule of thumb, if you’re drinking these substances, try to follow them up with one or two glasses of water.
3. Eat More Fat
Far from being bad for you, healthy fats — like omega-3 fatty acids — can significantly boost your skin’s appearance by increasing moisture and reducing redness and swelling.
Try to incorporate several servings of healthy fat per day. Our favorite sources include salmon, sardines, avocados, coconut oil, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds. If getting healthy fats from foods isn’t possible, fish oil supplements can be a great alternative.
4. Use a Silk Pillowcase
Cotton is super absorbent, meaning sleeping on a cotton pillowcase can deplete some of your skin’s moisture. Instead of cotton, try a material like silk or satin, which is less absorbent.
Another benefit of a silk pillowcase is that it’s less abrasive, which can help stave off skin damage — especially if you sleep on your side.
5. Use a Gentle Cleanser
The wrong cleanser can strip the skin of its protective oils, increasing skin dehydration. Any aggressive products, which tend to be cleansers marketed for oily skin types, are known to be drying. In addition, exfoliating cleansers — when used too often — can deplete skin moisture levels.
Nonetheless, cleansing your skin of makeup, sebum, and pollution is incredibly important. This is why we recommend a gentle cleanser that removes all the gunks while keeping your skin’s natural moisture levels intact.
6. Minimize Stress
Emotional stress can increase redness and swelling, impairing your skin’s ability to repair itself, including replenishing moisture.
If you notice yourself getting stressed, remind yourself that it can lead to skin damage and do what you can to mitigate the stress.
Aside from dealing with whatever is causing you to feel stressed in the first place, you can try relaxation exercises, such as yoga or meditation. You can take a few minutes to do some deep breathing exercises for stress relief on the go.
7. Use a Humidifier
Your skin can lose moisture through the environment, especially for those who live in dry climates. You can use a humidifier to pull moisture back into the air — and hydrate your skin.
Hydrating Your Skin With Nourishing Biologicals
Keeping your skin hydrated can protect it from environmental stressors, like the sun’s UV rays, while giving it a dewy, plump, and bright appearance.
Lifestyle factors, like drinking plenty of fluids, reducing stress, and getting restorative sleep, are effective ways to increase skin hydration. You can combine this with a hydrating, gentle, and nourishing skincare routine, like the Miracular Line from Nourishing Biologicals.