To hydrate something means to increase its water content. In relation to skin care, hydration means increasing the amount of water in your skin cells, which results in a healthy, smooth and plump complexion.
When your skin is regularly hydrated, it keeps the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to a minimum. In addition, keeping skin cells hydrated also enables these cells to continue performing their overall cellular functions.
We are able to hydrate our skin through drinking plenty of water, however, our skin is the last organ to absorb this water therefore also using topical ingredients can be beneficial to ensure the skin is getting all the hydration it requires. Hylauronic Acid, for example, is a naturally produced ingredient in the skin, when using a topical form of Hylauronic Acid the ingredient helps to bind and retain moisture in the skin.
Attached to our hair follicles we have our sebaceous glands. These glands produce “sebum,” an oily substance that helps to protect, lubricate and nourish our skin, preventing it from drying out and causing premature aging. For those who suffer from acne or are oily skin types, there might be an overproduction of sebum, while those with dry skin types might have a lack of it.
Regardless of your skin type, moisturizing is an essential part of your daily facial routine. Proper moisturizing helps to regulate oil production and helps keep water from leaving the skin.
Since the purpose of hydrating is to bind water to our skin and moisturizing is to prevent the water from leaving our skin, it’s important that hydration comes before moisturizing.
This is why serums are to be applied first, as most hydrating treatment serums contain a hydration-binding ingredient. Once you get that layer of hydration on, you want to seal it all in with a lipid (facial oil). This combination creates a healthy sebum balance within the skin.
For those with particularly oily or acne prone skin, you may or may not prefer to moisturize as often. For you, applying just a hydrating product might sometimes be enough. Your skin naturally produces enough (in some cases, more than enough) oil to keep water from leaving the skin.
Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin
Dehydrated skin lacks water and dry skin lacks oil. So your skin could be dehydrated, dry, or both. This is why it is important to choose the right products and know how and when to use them.
Dehydrated skin tends to look dull and feel tight, even when properly moisturized. If you don’t already, use a hydrating serum with some of the humectant ingredients we mentioned above. Apply your serum before your oil to lock in the hydration.
With dry skin, lack of moisture (lipid content) can result in rough, dry or flaky skin. If this sounds familiar, make sure you’re using the right moisturizing ingredients.