Good skin hydration can depend on many factors, such as one’s skin type and overall skin health, as well as on external influences such as the weather. Avoiding products that dry out or otherwise irritate the skin is usually recommended, and drinking enough fluids and eating foods with high water content are two more ways to increase skin hydration. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including eating right, exercising, and getting enough rest, can all contribute to healthier skin as well. A dermatologist can provide additional advice for promoting healthy, hydrated skin.
Most skin care experts recommend the careful selection of products, especially moisturizing creams or lotions, to improve skin hydration. People with dry skin can often benefit from heavier moisturizing creams, while those with normal or sensitive skin might prefer lighter lotions. The best hydrating products usually contain vitamins or essential oils, such as Shea butter. In general, it is advisable to use mild cleansers and to stay away from harsh soaps. One should also choose gentle and non-drying products, rather than exfoliating items, which tend to cause skin irritation and redness.
There is some debate over whether drinking more fluids directly hydrates the skin. Though it may not directly affect skin hydration, proper fluid intake usually makes the body healthier overall, indirectly leading to improved skin appearance. In addition to drinking water and other hydrating beverages, one can eat foods with high water content, such as most fruits and vegetables. Yet certain ingredients, such as sodium and caffeine, tend to have a dehydrating effect and should be avoided
Skin hydration can also be improved by making other healthy choices, such as applying lotion to the face and body after bathing in order to retain moisture. It may be best to avoid fragrant products, however, because many of them contain alcohol and artificial ingredients. Since healthy circulation and digestion also promote healthy skin, exercise and good nutrition can contribute to good skin hydration as well. One’s skin cells can repair themselves better when one is well rested, so experts also recommend getting a sufficient amount of sleep. Even lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking can have a positive effect on one’s skin health.
Other factors that can affect skin hydration include weather, especially dry, cold conditions, and dry indoor environments. Wearing sunscreen and protective clothing, such as hats and gloves, can help one avoid sun and wind damage, and humidifiers can help indoors. For more personalized recommendations regarding skin hydration, one should consult a dermatologist.