How to Hydrate Skin: 12 Ways to Boost Moisture Fast

how to hydrate skin

You'll know when your skin is dehydrated. It will feel rough or even flaky, and it might start to look a little dull, grey, or wrinkled. What's worse, it can often feel tight, itchy, or even painful.

Dehydration happens when the outermost layer of skin (the stratum corneum) loses its natural moisture barrier, making the skin more vulnerable to irritants and environmental stressors. And when your skin is feeling this way, your moisturiser alone probably isn't going to cut it. 

The trick to keeping your skin hydrated is to address the causes of dry skin, avoid irritants, and incorporate the right ingredients at every step of your skincare routine. And this is true no matter what skin type you have — especially if you want to avoid prematurely aged, dull-looking skin.

So, look no further than our comprehensive guide to keeping your skin hydrated, healthy, and radiant all year round!


12 Easy Ways to Improve Skin Hydration

1. Drink Plenty of Water

Although it sounds obvious, it shouldn't be understated — drinking enough water is essential for maintaining healthy, glowing skin. Not drinking enough water can cause your skin to lose its elasticity and increases the risk of dryness, which will, in turn, make your skin look older, too.

It's not because drinking water directly brings that water to your skin, however. Instead, drinking enough water helps maintain healthy circulation, and this helps deliver key nutrients and oxygen to your skin, which helps it stay hydrated and youthful. Drinking plenty of water, eating water-rich foods, and avoiding salty foods can all contribute to keeping your skin soft and hydrated. 

skin hydration


2. Eat Foods Rich in Fatty Acids and Hyaluronic Acid

Eating a diet rich in certain nutrients can provide long-term benefits for your skin, including increased hydration levels. Two key nutrients for healthy skin cells and skin barrier function are fatty acids and hyaluronic acid.

Fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids, can help to strengthen the outermost layer of your skin, protect against water loss, and soothe inflammation. Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids include fish like salmon and mackerel, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring component of skin that helps to keep it hydrated by holding onto water molecules. By eating foods that are high in hyaluronic acid, you can promote better skin hydration levels. Some foods that contain this nutrient include sweet potatoes, leafy greens like spinach and kale, and beans.

what hydrates skin


3. Avoid Hot Showers and Hot Water for Washing Your Face

Hot showers and hot water can feel incredibly luxurious, especially during colder months. However, if you want to maintain hydrated skin, it's important to avoid using hot water on your face. This is because hot water can strip your skin of natural oils and cause irritation, which can lead to dehydrated skin.

Instead, opt for lukewarm water and limit shower time to 10 minutes or less. Lukewarm water is gentle on the skin and won't cause irritation, while limiting shower time ensures that your skin won't be overexposed to water and lose its natural oils.


4. Use Gentle Cleansers on the Skin

When it comes to achieving hydrated skin, it's essential to start with the basics, including the cleanser that you use. Harsh cleansers made with artificial fragrances, dyes, and harmful ingredients like parabens and sulfates can strip away natural oils from the skin, leaving it dry and prone to dehydration.

Consider switching to gentle, natural cleansers that protect your skin's natural moisture barrier. Not only do gentle cleansers prevent stripping of the skin, but they also provide moisturising factors that improve your skin's hydration levels. Look for natural skin care products that use fewer artificial ingredients and minimise harsh chemicals that may damage the skin.


5. Use Humectants to Retain Moisture in the Deepest Layers of Your Skin

Humectants are ingredients that help to attract and retain moisture in the skin — they work like a kind of "sponge" to absorb water and hold it in the deeper layers of your skin. Common humectants include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and urea. 

You'll find humectants like hyaluronic acid in a wide range of skincare products, from cleansers and toners to serums and moisturisers. For the best, most hydrating results, we recommend trying a hyaluronic acid serum, which will penetrate deep into your skin after cleansing and toning. Follow it up with a good quality moisturiser, and your skin will look and feel softer — all day long! 

how do I hydrate my skin


6. Protect Your Natural Skin Barrier With Ceramides

The outermost layer of our skin (the stratum corneum) serves as a protective barrier against external damage. However, when this barrier layer is damaged, it lets moisture evaporate from your skin pretty fast, while also letting toxins, germs, and pollutants in. Your natural skin barrier can be damaged by UV light, pollution, allergens, or even the harsh chemicals that might be lurking in your skincare products.

To protect your skin barrier, you should use ingredients rich in lipids (or fats). The best ingredients for protecting your skin barrier are ceramides — a family of lipids that naturally occur in the body, and you can also find them in skincare products. Ceramides help repair the skin barrier by acting as a kind of "glue" between skin cells, locking moisture in. 

Applying a ceramide-rich moisturiser after using a humectant (like hyaluronic acid) can help seal in moisture and plump up your skin for a hydrated, healthy glow.


7. Use Antioxidants to Fight Inflammation

Inflammation is often one of the leading causes of dry skin. It damages your skin barrier, which causes water to evaporate more quickly from your skin and leaves your skin cells thirsty. It can also cause redness, itching, and swelling, leading to further skin issues like pigmentation or conditions like psoriasis.

Antioxidants are key to fighting inflammation in your skin — they act to neutralise the harmful free radicals that cause inflammation. You can help stave off dry skin conditions and redness with antioxidant-rich cleansers, serums, and moisturisers. The best and most effective antioxidant ingredients in skincare are vitamin C, vitamin E, retinoids, and — a relative newcomer to the beauty industry — CBD. 

CBD (cannabidiol) is a derivative of the hemp plant, and it's a natural, bioactive ingredient with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It's actually a much more powerful antioxidant than vitamin C, so it's a very effective ingredient for dry, dehydrated, or irritated skin. You can incorporate it into your routine with a light CBD oil or use a richer CBD butter or balm for severely dry skin.



Learn more in our guide to CBD skincare


8. Gently Exfoliate a Few Times Per Week

Exfoliating your skin is actually key to keeping it hydrated. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, unclogs pores, and allows your skin to better absorb the moisturising ingredients that you want to apply afterward. 

The key to exfoliating is not to overdo it. For chemical exfoliants, stick to a gentle solution (maximum 10–15% for AHAs like glycolic acid, or maximum 5% for BHAs like salicylic acid) and only use them 2–3 times per week.

Be careful with physical exfoliants like scrubs or microbeads, which can be even harsher on the skin, and only use them 1–2 times per week for the best results. 


9. Incorporate a Sheet Mask Into Your Skincare Routine Regularly

Sheet masks are an effortless way to hydrate your skin while still getting some much-needed R&R. Sheet masks are saturated with hydrating ingredients that work wonders for dehydrated and dry skin. Incorporating a sheet mask into your weekly skincare routine can help to keep your skin plump, moist, and bursting with hydration.

To use a sheet mask, start with a clean face, free from any makeup or impurities. Next, apply the sheet mask to your face and leave it on for around 10–20 minutes. Once you remove the mask, gently massage the remaining serum onto your skin. This will help to maximise the hydrating benefits of the mask, leaving your skin feeling nourished and refreshed.


10. Add an Overnight Moisturiser to Your Skincare Routine

If you're struggling with dry, dehydrated skin, one of the easiest ways to improve skin hydration is to add an overnight moisturiser to your daily skincare routine. While you sleep, your skin repairs and regenerates itself, making it the perfect time to incorporate products that deliver intense hydration.

Look for an overnight moisturiser that contains a blend of hydrating ingredients, including emollients and occlusives. Emollients help to smooth and soften the skin, while occlusives create a protective barrier that seals in moisture and prevents water loss. Look for ingredients like squalene, ceramides, and fatty acids, which are known to help improve skin barrier function, texture, and appearance.

To maximise the benefits of an overnight moisturiser, pair it with humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid. Humectants work by binding water into the outermost layer of the skin, helping to retain its moisture content for a smoother, more supple complexion.

how to hydrate aging skin


11. Use Sunscreen Every Day to Prevent Water Loss from the Skin

Sun damage is a leading cause of dryness and irritation, as it can impair the natural moisture barrier of the skin by causing water loss. It can also lead to premature ageing, wrinkles, and fine lines.

To prevent this, it's important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on a daily basis, as it helps protect the skin from harmful UV rays and prevents water loss.


12. Use a Humidifier in Dry Environments

Besides the typical skincare routine, you should also look at the things in your environment that may be causing your dry skin. Dry air — either in dry hot summers or indoor-heating-saturated winters — can cause the moisture in your skin to evaporate more quickly, leading to dryness and potentially even cracking or flaking.

Using a humidifier in your living space can help keep your skin hydrated by adding moisture to the air. By increasing the humidity in your environment, a humidifier helps to counteract this drying effect and keeps your skin better hydrated. 

how to hydrate skin naturally


Tips for Hydrating Different Types of Skin

Dry Skin

If you have dry skin, you're no stranger to the struggle of keeping it hydrated. Here are some tips to nourish and moisturise your dry skin:

  1. Opt for a creamy cleanser. Choose a gentle, creamy cleanser that doesn't strip your skin of its natural oils. Look for ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and shea butter to provide hydration while cleansing.

  2. Layer your moisturisers. Apply a lightweight, hydrating serum with ingredients like hyaluronic acid before using a moisturiser. This helps to lock in moisture and create a barrier against water loss.

  3. Use richer moisturisers. Look for moisturisers formulated with nourishing oils like argan, shea, jojoba, and CBD. These can provide deep hydration and replenish the skin's moisture barrier.

  4. Incorporate face oils. Consider adding a facial oil to your routine. Oils like CBD, rosehip, marula, or squalene can help to seal in moisture and add extra hydration to your skin.

  5. Avoid harsh exfoliation. Be cautious with exfoliation. Opt for gentle exfoliators, like enzyme-based or mild chemical exfoliants, to remove dead skin cells without causing further dryness or irritation.

Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, it requires extra care and attention to keep it hydrated without causing irritation. Here are some tips specifically for hydrating sensitive skin:

  1. Choose fragrance-free products. Fragrances can be a common irritant for sensitive skin. Opt for skincare products that are fragrance-free or labelled as suitable for sensitive skin to minimise the risk of irritation.

  2. Go for gentle, non-irritating ingredients. Look for soothing ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, and oat extract. These can help calm and hydrate sensitive skin without triggering any adverse reactions.

  3. Patch test new products. Before incorporating new skincare products into your routine, perform a patch test on a small area of your skin. This helps to ensure that the product won't cause any negative reactions or irritation.

  4. Avoid harsh or abrasive exfoliation. Exfoliating can be beneficial for removing dead skin cells, but for sensitive skin, it's important to choose gentle exfoliation methods. Consider using a soft washcloth or a mild chemical exfoliant to avoid aggravating your skin.

  5. Protect your skin from environmental irritants. Shield your sensitive skin from harsh weather conditions, like cold winds or excessive sun exposure. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF, wear protective clothing, and seek shade to prevent skin damage and dehydration.



Oily or Acne-Prone Skin

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you might think that hydration is unnecessary. However, proper hydration is still crucial to balance your skin's oil production and prevent dehydration. Here are some tips for hydrating oily or acne-prone skin:

  1. Use lightweight, non-comedogenic products. Look for oil-free or water-based moisturisers and serums that won't clog your pores. Non-comedogenic formulas help to hydrate your skin without contributing to breakouts.

  2. Don't skip moisturiser. Even if your skin feels oily, skipping moisturiser can lead to dehydration and trigger excess oil production. Opt for lightweight, oil-free moisturisers that provide hydration without adding extra shine.

  3. Incorporate hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a hydrating ingredient that can benefit oily skin types. It helps to attract and retain moisture in the skin without clogging pores. Look for oil-free serums or moisturisers containing hyaluronic acid to boost hydration.

  4. Avoid over-washing. Over-washing your face can strip away essential oils and disrupt your skin's moisture balance. Stick to gentle cleansing twice a day to remove excess oil and impurities without drying out your skin.

  5. Use spot treatments sparingly. When treating acne, be cautious with drying spot treatments. Apply them only to the affected areas and avoid applying them all over your face, as it can lead to excessive dryness and irritation.

Combination Skin

Dealing with combination skin can be a tricky balancing act, as it involves managing both dry and oily areas. Here are some tips specifically for hydrating combination skin:

  1. Moisturise accordingly. Use lightweight moisturisers on the oily parts of your face to prevent clogged pores and excess shine. For the drier areas, opt for richer moisturisers to provide the necessary hydration.

  2. Targeted treatments. If you have specific concerns in different areas of your face, such as dryness on the cheeks and oiliness in the T-zone, consider using targeted treatments. Apply hydrating serums or moisturisers on dry areas and oil-control products on the oily zones.

  3. Adjust your skincare routine. Customise your skincare routine to address the different needs of your skin. Use gentle cleansers that won't strip away natural oils and consider incorporating exfoliation a few times a week to remove dead skin cells and promote balance.

Ageing Skin

As we age, our skin naturally loses moisture and becomes more prone to dryness and fine lines. Proper hydration is essential to maintain the health and youthful appearance of ageing skin. Here are some tips specifically for hydrating ageing skin:

  1. Hyaluronic acid is your friend. Incorporate skincare products containing hyaluronic acid, as it has excellent hydrating properties. It attracts and retains moisture in the skin, plumping up fine lines and wrinkles. Look for serums or moisturisers with hyaluronic acid to enhance hydration.

  2. Moisturise day and night. Use a rich, nourishing moisturiser both in the morning and at night. Look for ingredients like ceramides, peptides, and antioxidants to replenish moisture, support the skin's barrier function, and promote a more youthful complexion.

  3. Include anti-ageing serums. Consider adding anti-ageing serums to your skincare routine. Look for serums containing ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, or peptides. These ingredients can help improve skin texture, stimulate collagen production, and boost hydration.

  4. Don't forget the neck and décolletage. Extend your skincare routine beyond the face. The neck and décolletage are areas prone to ageing and often neglected. Apply moisturisers and serums to these areas to maintain their hydration and prevent sagging and wrinkles.



Bottom Line on Skin Hydration

Achieving and maintaining hydrated skin is essential for a healthy, radiant complexion. Whether you have dry, sensitive, oily, combination, or ageing skin, implementing the right strategies can make a significant difference in your skin's hydration levels.

By addressing the causes of dry skin, incorporating hydrating and antioxidant ingredients like CBD, and following a consistent skincare routine, you can nurture your skin and enjoy its natural glow.

Each skin type may require tailored approaches, but the common goal remains the same — to provide adequate hydration and nourishment for healthy, supple skin. So, embrace these tips, listen to your skin's needs, and enjoy the benefits of a well-hydrated, radiant complexion all year round.

Here's to more hydrated and healthier skin! 


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