How often do you hear that the key to dewy skin is hydration? We hear it all the time! And, we see that a well-hydrated complexion looks more youthful, plump, and healthy. Many celebrities, like Kendall Jenner and Jennifer Lopez, reveal that drinking water is their skincare secret. But, while we know the importance of drinking water for our overall health, is this all we need for dewy skin?
We scour books and research reports to find the best way to deeply hydrate our skin and keep the skin moisture locked in. Here are the facts and tips we've learned.
Does Drinking Extra Water Hydrate Your Skin?
Health experts across the board recommend drinking more water daily and less caffeinated or sugary beverages for overall health. Many people have said they have more radiant or clearer skin after increasing their water intake. But is there any scientific research to support the idea that drinking extra water will improve skin's appearance?
Several studies have found that drinking more water may increase skin hydration, though the underlying biological mechanism for this relationship is not yet fully understood. A study performed in Germany reported measurable improvements to the skin's outer layer and deeper layers after additional daily water intake for 2–4 weeks, particularly in individuals with lower prior water consumption. They also found reducted skin dryness and roughness and increased skin extensibility and elasticity. In terms of transepidermal water loss (TEWL), there was a lack of evidence showing an association with higher water intake.
Simply put, while drinking water hydrates skin, it may not help keep skin moisture locked in. If your daily water intake is less than your body needs, the beneficial effects of drinking extra water will be more obvious. However, if your skin can't hold on to moisture, drinking lots of water may not relieve your skin dryness. A better and long-term solution for locking in skin moisture is strengthening your skin's moisture barrier.
What is Your Skin's Moisture Barrier?
Your skin's moisture barrier provides crucial protection for your skin health. This barrier acts as a protective shield defending your skin from environmental aggressors like bacteria, pollutants, and irritants while holding onto all the good things like moisture.
Many experts explain to people to think of the skin barrier as a brick-and-mortar wall. The bricks are the skin cells, and the mortar is the proteins and lipids, such as ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids, holding the cells together. Keeping hydration in your skin is the responsibility of your skin's moisture barrier. Any cracks on the structure expose the sensitive skin layers to dry air, causing them to dehydrate.
What are the Signs of Moisture Barrier Damage?
When the skin's moisture barrier is damaged or compromised, moisture escapes more easily. Symptoms that indicate probable skin barrier damage include skin dryness, tightness, flakes, redness, itching, rough texture, increased sensitivity, breakouts, and even rashes. These symptoms can appear in large or small areas over the body or face.
If you have acne or eczema, you may notice them flaring up. Without a strong moisture barrier, signs of aging can show earlier and worsen.
What Causes a Damaged Moisture Barrier?
The skin's moisture barrier can easily become damaged without you knowing it. Some common causes include UV exposure, pollution, smoking, waxing, scrubbing too hard, and stripping the natural oils off the skin with a harsh cleanser, exfoliant, or acne medication. All of these are external factors. Internal factors, like stress and hormone imbalance, can also lead to an impaired skin barrier.
How to Repair a Damaged Moisture Barrier.
The fact is moisture barriers can be repaired and strengthened. Reversing the damage is not complicated, but it just requires patience. While you may consider adding more powerful products to your skincare routine to improve your skin, many experts recommend stripping back your skin care regimen and giving it time to renew itself. Basically, less is more.
First, avoid products and activities that threaten your moisture barrier, like a high-pH cleanser and sun exposure without an effective sunscreen. Next, feed your skin healing, hydrating, nourishing, and skin-replenishing ingredients, like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and fatty acids.
Then, be patient. The restoration time for a damaged moisture barrier will be different for everyone. Healing is affected by the extent of the damage and a number of other factors like age, skin type, oxygenation, smoking, alcoholism, medications, nutrition, and stress. Although the repairing process may need more than a pinch of patience, it will be worthwhile.
How to Strengthen your Skin's Moisture Barrier.
Keeping your skin's moisture barrier strong is key to dewy, plump, and youthful-looking skin. To bolster your moisture barrier, focus on skin health. After all, the moisture barrier is part of your skin. So anything you do that keeps your skin healthy and strong is good for your moisture barrier.
11 Tips to Hydrate Your Skin and Lock-in Skin Moisture.
Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Therefore, how you nourish your body will ultimately reflect on your skin. Many experts recommend taking a more holistic approach.
1. Stay hydrated.
Drinking plain water all the times may be too bland. Try infusing a bottle of water with fruits such as lemon, or making a spa-like flower beverage such as rose hydration. These drinks have a hint of flavor with no added sugar. Not only are they refreshing, but they are also healthier than soda.
2. Eat more water-rich foods.
Fruits and vegetables are great for your health and excellent for your skin. In addition, eating water-rich foods, such as watermelon, tomato, and cucumber, increases your water intake giving the hydration your skin needs.
3. Avoid dehydrating drinks, processed foods, and excessive sugar.
Caffeine and alcohol remove water from your body; sugar breaks down collagen and elastin, making your skin look prematurely aged; and processed foods are often loaded with a lot of sugar. As hard as it might be, try limiting your intake of these foods and drinks. When you indulge in coffee or alcohol, rehydrate your body. A good rule of thumb is to drink a cup of water for every alcoholic or caffeinated drink you have.
4. Consume a nutritious diet rich in flavonoids and essential fatty acids.
Eat healthy diets for clear, glowing skin. Flavonoid-rich foods, such as tea and berries, have strong antioxidants which combat free radicals effectively for clear skin. Essential fatty acids are the building blocks of skin cells. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, and in plant-based foods like nuts, olive, and rose.
5. Get enough quality sleep.
You can sleep your skin younger! During sleep, your skin rebuilds its collagen and repairs damage. If you don't get a good night's sleep or enough shut-eye, there is a negative impact on your mood that can affect your skin. To improve sleep, try these 12 tips to help you wake up happier.
6. Ease your stress.
Stress can affect your whole body and make a mark on your skin. Stress causes your body to produce more of the stress hormone cortisol, which stimulates skin oil production that can lead to clogged pores and acne. Stress can also worsen skin problems like psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema. Since stress is just a part of life—you can't eliminate stress—knowing how to manage stress in healthy ways helps you have happy skin and a happy life.
7. Pamper your skin with gentle, hydrating skin care products.
Stay away from harsh cleansers and avoid over-cleansing. Avoid products that contain chemicals, such as alpha-hydroxy, salicylic, or glycolic acid. Always apply a hydrating, nourishing moisturizer to rehydrate your skin and maintain your skin's moisture barrier sealed after cleansing. And applying it while your skin is still damp helps the moisturizer pull that moisture into your skin.
8. Take a lukewarm shower.
Relaxing in a hot bath feels very nice, but hot water is not exactly good for your skin. Hot showers and baths can strip the natural oils from your skin and disrupt your skin's natural balance of moisture, causing skin dryness.
9. Protect your skin from the sun, wind, and cold.
You can reduce your risk of sun damage by staying in the shade. A more effective way is to apply sunscreen on exposed skin or wear protective clothing when outside—even in the shade. In the cold winter, use a richer, balm-like moisturizer to keep your skin better hydrated.
10. Avoid smoking.
If you really can't quit smoking, do your best to smoke less.
Physical exercise helps more oxygen and nutrients to reach your skin through improved blood circulation giving your skin that healthy glow.
Drinking water definitely hydrates your skin. If your daily water intake, including the water content in the foods you eat, is less than your body needs, drinking extra water can make a difference to your skin appearance. But that's not all you need for dewy skin. You still need to keep your skin's moisture barrier strong and healthy to lock in the moisture. Meanwhile, your skin barrier is constantly under attack from environmental aggressors. Simply applying a hydrating moisturizer topically may not be enough, because your skin barrier is also affected by stress and hormones. Taking a holistic approach to hydrating your skin and strengthening your skin's moisture barrier may be the best way to achieve a dewy, glowing, youthful-looking complexion. Better health and a better mood lead to better skin and a happier life!
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