Do we hydrate or do we moisturize the skin? Or do we do both?
We know for a fact that hydration and moisturization are crucial for our skin. Often we use these terms interchangeably. But are they one and the same or two completely different things? Let’s find out.
What is hydration?
Hydration refers to our skin’s water content. Hydrating the skin is making sure that the right amount of water stays on our skin’s outermost layer. Skin hydrators are used in order to reduce the loss of moisture on our skin’s surface. They usually contain a humectant, or a substance such as glycol, that helps absorb or assist another substance in maintaining skin moisture.
When water or moisture escapes from our skin surface, it results in extreme dryness. Symptoms include flakiness, itchiness, and other serious skin disorders such as eczema and dermatitis.
What is moisturization?
Moisturization is a skincare step that helps increase our skin’s hydration. Moisturizers or emollients help prevent the loss of water by creating a barrier and reducing evaporation. They are usually designed to make the outer layer of our skin softer, smoother, and more pliant. They act as a “sealant” that prevents water from escaping.
Steps to maintain a well-hydrated skin
A balanced and hydrated skin looks fresh, plump, and glowing with health. It is not difficult to increase skin hydration even during dry and humid winter months.
1. Eat a balanced diet
We know that good skin begins with proper nutrition. Feed your skin cells with hydrating fruits and veggies. Load up on deep colored fruits such as berries and citrus fruits. Fruits that are rich in healthy lipids such as avocados can also do wonders for your skin . These fruits contain liquid, healthy fats, and loads of other nutrients that nourish and hydrate the skin from within.
Eating right will boost your skin's natural moisture even without the help of artificial emollients. Eat more servings of fatty fish or foods that are rich in omega acids. These will increase your skin’s natural moisture and hydration.
2. Consider switching to natural skin cleansers
Conventional soaps and cleansers contain harsh ingredients that can strip away our skin’s natural moisture. We can use homemade soaps and skin cleansers or toners using all-natural ingredients. There are many recipes to try at home.
3. Use natural skin emollients
Commercial lotions and creams contain various chemicals that are harmful to our health. Consider switching to natural oils and moisturizers such as coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba, shea butter, and avocado oil. These oils contain natural lipids as well as fatty acids that increase not only our skin’s hydration but also its natural barrier from harmful microorganisms, pollution, free radicals, and UV rays. Right after drying, be sure to apply a natural moisturizer to lock in the moisture on your skin.
4. Avoid the top skin dehydration culprits
Coffee drinkers, smokers, regular alcohol drinkers, and salty food lovers are more likely to develop dehydrated skin than those who aren’t. Caffeine, tobacco, salt, and alcohol are top culprits to moisture loss and skin dehydration.
5. Drink lots of fluid
Whether it be pure water, lemon water, fruit juice, or natural smoothies, be sure to take in lots of healthy liquid. This helps increase skin hydration, release toxins, and cleanse our skin naturally.
6. Nourish from within
Our skin needs various vitamins in order to stay supple and naturally moist. B vitamins, omega fats, as well as antioxidants such as vitamins E, C, and A, contribute to our skin's overall health. For example, vitamin C increases collagen, a structural protein that keeps our skin elastic and firm.
Addressing skin hydration is a two-way process. It should be addressed from the inside through proper diet and sufficient liquid intake; and also from the outside by using the right skincare regimen and moisturizing products.