The Importance of Hydrating Your Skin
Skin hydration is more than a beauty buzzword—it's crucial for maintaining a youthful and radiant appearance. Just like your body requires a balance of nutrients, your skin needs a balance of moisture to function at its peak.
Let’s dive into the scientific foundations of skin hydration, learn about the roles of various skincare ingredients, and learn how to make hydration the centerpiece of your skincare routine.
Why Is Moisturizing Important?
Before we can discuss moisturizing, it’s important to understand the biochemistry of your skin cells. Each cell operates as its own bubble of activity—synthesizing proteins, releasing energy, and holding water. When your skin is properly moisturized, these cellular functions can work their best, helping your skin defend itself against external aggressors like pollution.
Maintaining a good enough water content in your skin cells can also play a role in minimizing visible signs of aging. Yes, aging is natural, but we’d all love for it not to happen quite so fast. Consistent moisturizing can not only smoothen the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, but it can also help the skin look younger and more radiant.
Essential skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides can support the skin's natural ability to retain moisture. Additionally, moisturization influences skin texture, making it look smoother and more elastic.
Far from just encouraging overall skin wellness, moisturizing can help the skin act as a better canvas for makeup, allowing for a more even application and longer-lasting results.
What Is Your Skin Barrier and What Does It Have To Do With Hydration?
The skin’s moisture barrier, also called the stratum corneum, acts as the frontline defense against environmental irritants, pathogens, and, most importantly, water loss.
Made up of lipids and proteins, this complex biological structure has evolved to support homeostasis in the skin. It holds in the moisture required for cellular function while simultaneously blocking out potential irritants that could compromise skin health.
When it comes to hydration, the skin barrier helps prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL)—the process by which water evaporates from your skin. TEWL is an excellent indicator of the skin barrier’s integrity. Elevated levels of TEWL can be a sign that your skin barrier needs attention. This can cause the skin to appear red, dry, and irritated.
Types of Hydrating Ingredients
When determining which skincare products are best for your dry or dehydrated skin (more on that later), you’ll likely come across many moisturizing ingredients. These will fall under the broader categories of humectants, occlusives, and emollients.
Understanding these topical ingredients and how they work can significantly enhance the efficacy of your skincare routine.
Humectants are a class of ingredients that specialize in holding moisture within the skin,
as hydrogen bonds to water molecules in the skin and in the formula, which plumps and helps keep the water pooled in place to help maintain hydration.
Once the humectant bonds to the water, the water will keep bonding with itself, which increases accumulated moisture. In the world of skincare, glycerin, urea, and hyaluronic acid are the poster children for humectants. Utilizing humectants in your skincare products can help your skin appear plumped and hydrated.
Next, we have occlusives. These ingredients create a thin breathable film over the skin’s surface, sealing in moisture and supporting a radiant, lustrous complexion. Some well-known occlusives include shea butter and waxy materials, like jojoba oil and ceramides.
Ceramides, which are waxy lipid molecules, are found naturally in your skin. These play a critical role in helping to support the skin's natural moisture barrier integrity.
Lastly, emollients serve the noble task of softening and smoothing your skin. These ingredients can be heavier on the skin and feel like natural plant oils or lighter fatty acid esters.
Understanding the roles of humectants, occlusives, and emollients in your skincare routine is important if you’re looking to effectively hydrate and maintain moisturized skin. Skincare products often contain a blend of these ingredients to offer a comprehensive approach to skin hydration.
Is Your Skin Dry or Dehydrated?
A common conundrum people face when choosing hydrating skincare products is identifying the difference between dry and dehydrated skin. Both have similar symptoms, such as tightness, flakiness, and a dull appearance. However, understanding the nuances between dryness and dehydration is important if you want to choose targeted skincare that provides effective hydration.
Dry skin is not merely a temporary state but a skin type that’s often dictated by genetics. It typically involves an inadequate production of the skin's natural oils, leading to a compromised skin barrier.
Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is a skin condition that can affect anyone, regardless of their baseline skin type, whether it’s oily, combination, or sensitive. The culprit here is a lack of water, not oil, in the skin. Factors like climate changes, caffeine consumption, excessive exfoliating, and harsh skincare products can trigger or exacerbate this condition.
It's important to pinpoint whether your skin is dry or dehydrated in order to choose the right skincare products effectively. A dermatologist can provide a comprehensive skin analysis to help you craft a personalized skincare regimen.
Whether you have dehydrated skin or dry skin, the right skincare routine—in addition to taking fewer hot showers and sleeping with a humidifier—can help restore the appearance of bright and youthful skin.
A Skincare Routine That Prioritizes Hydration
Let’s walk through some of our favorite skincare products that can support hydration from the inside out.
1. A Cleanser That Doesn't Dry Your Skin Out
Starting with a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils and can support the skin’s moisture barrier is the first step toward hydrated skin. The MANTLE Skin Conditioning Wash is an ingenious formulation that combines the benefits of double cleansing and makeup removal.
What sets it apart is its triple-action formulation that includes a prebiotic complex, probiotic complex, and short-chain hyaluronic acid. Each ingredient serves a specific purpose.
The prebiotic and probiotic complexes can help support your skin's natural microbiome, sustaining a thriving community of beneficial bacteria. Meanwhile, the short-chain hyaluronic acid works on a cellular level to help support a plump, hydrated appearance.
2. A Daily Moisturizer That Keeps You Hydrated
Moisturizing daily is a no-brainer if you’re trying to encourage a hydrated complexion. The Super Hydrator is a master in sustained skin hydration. Engineered with a complex blend of five different sizes of hyaluronic acid molecules, this moisturizer ensures hydration reaches various layers of your skin.
Additional ingredients like purified oat extract and peptides serve multi-functional roles, targeting the appearance of fine lines while improving the feeling of elasticity and suppleness. This hydrator works on multiple levels, providing up to 48 hours of noticeable hydration.
3. Treatments That Promote Skin Barrier Function
In addition to your daily go-tos, you can adjust other parts of your routine to fully embrace your focus on hydration. The BARRIER Bioactive Treatment provides a comprehensive solution for dry or dehydrated skin.
It combines urea, sodium DNA, and hyaluronic acid in a powerhouse formula that focuses on supporting the moisture barrier and brightness. With consistent use, your skin can look and feel softer, smoother, and more hydrated.
4. Treat Your Skin’s Most Vulnerable Areas With Care
Your eye and mouth area are the parts of your skin that tend to be most delicate and most prone to showing visible signs of aging. So, it’s important to hydrate them individually to maintain a brighter, more even, and well-hydrated appearance.
To target more sensitive and vulnerable areas like your lips and eyes, The PLASMA Lip Compound and The RETURN Eye Concentrate can help provide lasting hydration. These formulas are curated to tackle common issues like fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles, offering concentrated care where you need it most.
Dew the Right Thing
Getting the appearance of hydrated, healthy skin is more nuanced than it appears. The trick lies in understanding the complex dynamics of skin hydration, from recognizing the role of the skin barrier to making informed choices about skincare products.