I have a love-hate relationship with my skin. Some days it’s perfect, glowing, and flawless. Other days I find myself putting Band-Aids on my forehead rather than admitting that I get acne just like everyone else (of course those are always the days I either have important presentations or a date). I often find that the issue is knowing exactly what my skin is asking me for. In many cases, a dry patch is an indicator of more than just dry skin. Knowing what my products actually do, and when to use them has been incredibly helpful.
For instance, there is a functional difference between hydrators and moisturizers. Moisturizers trap water. Hydrators pull water in. If your skin is already dry you have to hydrate before you can moisturize.
In a surprise turn of events, drinking water and being hydrated are directly related! For anyone who needs a quick refresher, the more you drink, the more hydrated you will be. With that in mind, hydration is not a competitive sport, drinking way too much isn’t ideal. So, go get a glass of water -- just not like, fifty glasses. That would be too many.
For those of us who are drinking consistently, hydration can have amazing benefits for your skin. The skin is an organ, and like any other organ one of its primary components is water. In fact, about 64% of the skin is water. If you’re dehydrated, glowing Instagram influencer skin is functionally unachievable. Your skin, however, can provide a number of signs as to your hydration levels. Cracked, irritated, itchy, or flakey skin are all your body telling you to refill your water bottle and drink up.
There are also topical products that will hydrate you as opposed to moisturizing, so check your lotions and creams. Some of those products include agents for things like acne prevention and exfoliation that may end up drying you out. Body lotions often have tougher chemicals that won’t be appropriate for the face. It’s important to research the actual chemicals in a product before putting it on your skin.
There are also natural and normal everyday activities that can have a drying effect on the skin. For example, although it is a little counterintuitive, getting your skin wet can actually dry it out. When the water evaporates off you, it might take a little more with it than was already there. That doesn’t mean that you need to stop showering if you want your skin to stay hydrated. (I’m pretty sure that everyone would prefer if you didn’t stop showering.) Don’t worry, the solution to moisturizing your skin after you shower is actually really simple. Moisturize immediately after showering. This is actually the best time to moisturize because the hot water opens up the pores, making them more receptive to hydration. Then the moisturizer locks your newly hydrated cells into place.
The benefits of water are extensive, but it cannot moisturize you. If you’re looking to keep the water you already have in your skin, you’re going to need lotion, or something similar. It’s important to use lotion preventatively, much like it is important to drink before you’re thirsty. Keeping up with your moisturizing routine will keep you glowing, and also smelling like your favorite scent.
Skincare is a very personalized issue. What works for one person probably won’t work for the next. Of course there are some pretty in depth guides online to point you in the right direction. So, get to know your pores, drink more water, and remember that no one has perfect skin all the time.
By Kate Marin | @ikate186