What is skin hydration?
Hydration refers to the water content present in the skin. Just like our body requires hydration, so does our skin. Well-hydrated skin has an even tone, smooth & glowing. However, dehydrated skin appears dry and flaky, as well as inflamed & red, and can show early signs of ageing.
Difference between dry skin & dehydrated skin
Skin dryness refers to lack of oil or sebum. This is typically found in dry skin types, where oil/sebum production in the skin is low. Hence, people with dry skin need to use skin care products with ingredients that are known to boost the oil content in the skin. These ingredients include non-comedogenic natural oils such as argan oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, hemp oil, avocado oil, etc. and natural butters such as shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter, etc. Dry skin is rough to touch, is stretchy and shows early signs of ageing. On the other hand, skin dehydration refers to lack of water or hydration in the skin. Skin hydration can be restored with the use of skin hydration products such as gels, toners & moisturizers with ingredients known to boost skin hydration, such as hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, rose, glycerin, lactic acid, ceramides, etc. These ingredients act as 'humectants', i.e., they attract moisture from the air around us and trap it into our skin. Dehydrated skin looks dry & flaky and is also characterized by inflammation and redness.
Does oily skin get dehydrated?
Yes of course! As mentioned earlier, oil and moisture are two different components. Hence, even oily skin can suffer from dehydration if the water content is low, which can happen due to a variety of reasons. Some of the main reasons are low water intake, weather conditions and moisture loss due to excessive sweating. Face gels and skin serums that contain hyaluronic acid and vitamin C can be highly beneficial for restoring hydration to oily skin without clogging pores or increasing the oil/sebum content.
Tips to increase skin hydration
The no.1 natural remedy for skin hydration is to consume an adequate amount of water daily. Drinking enough water is the secret to healthy & glowing skin as well as good health. Here are some important reasons why you must ensure an adequate intake of water:
1) The body uses the water we drink for the more important organs first, such as the heart, brain, liver, and kidneys. The skin is way down on this list of essential organs.
2) How much water your body needs depends upon your level of daily physical activity. So if your lifestyle is more or less sedentary, 8-10 glasses of water should be sufficient, however, the more the better. However, if you workout or play any sport even few times a week, you must drink between 3-5 litres of water daily.
3) If you consume tea, coffee, sodas etc. several times a day, or if you are a smoker, you must increase your water intake to counter the effects of caffeine, nicotine & other substances. These substances speed up ageing as they boost the formation of free radicals that are responsible for the same. Water helps the body flush out these toxins, due to which the damage they can cause to your body as well as your skin is limited to a great extent.
4) If weather conditions are hot & humid, your body is constantly losing water due to sweating. So you must definitely drink more water so that you don't get dehydrated.
5) Along with drinking enough water, you must also consume seasonal fruits - at least one fruit a day, to increase hydration. Most fruits have a high water content, along with a treasure trove of essential vitamins, minerals & other essential nutrients.
Choose the right skin hydration products
Along with leading an active lifestyle with a healthy diet rich in seasonal fruits & fresh vegetables, you must follow a good skin care routine twice a day with products suited to your skin type. This applies to all skin types, and not just dry and/or dehydrated skin. Skin serums, gels & toners, especially those with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, sea buckthorn, pomegranate extract, rice water, etc. help boost skin hydration. Some of the popular skin hydrating ingredients, such as aloe vera and glycerin, are known as 'humectants', i.e. they attract moisture from the air around you and trap it into your skin. So skin hydrating creams normally contain these ingredients. They are designed with a base that easily penetrates the surface of your skin and transports these ingredients to the deepest layers to ensure maximum hydration.
Skin hydration and moisturization
While hydrating your skin is important, it is also important to ensure that your skin remains hydrated for several hours. This is where moisturization comes in. Moisturizers contain skin hydrating ingredients as well as emollients, or ingredients that form a protective barrier over the skin's surface to prevent moisture loss. Hydration can instantly plump up your skin, however, without something to lock it into your skin it can escape very easily. Moisturization involves the addition of ingredients that lock in this moisture as well as repair your skin to improve its texture & smoothness over time.
How to test skin hydration?
A simple way of testing whether or not your skin is hydrated is the 'Pinch Test'. Pinch the skin on the apple of your cheek or the skin on the back of your hand and pull it slightly upwards. Let it go and see how it bounces back. If it bounces back instantly, you can say that your skin is more or less adequately hydrated. However, in case of dehydrated skin, you will see that it doesn't bounce back instantly. It holds the pinched position for a few seconds before returning it its normal state. If you find your skin is dehydrated, you can follow the tips shared in this article to ensure adequate water intake, nutrition & follow a sound skin care routine to increase skin hydration. With time, the quality & texture of your skin will improve. We hope this article answers all your questions about skin hydration. Do let us know how it has helped your improve your skin hydration levels and what steps you have taken to ensure the same. Here's to healthy glowing skin every day :)