7 Tips for Keeping Your Skin Hydrated and Healthy

By Tara | Updated: 12/06/2024

Having healthy, hydrated skin is essential for a glowing complexion. However, it can be difficult to keep your skin looking and feeling its best, particularly in a dry Australian climate.

From environmental factors to lifestyle choices, there are many things that can affect the health of your skin. Fortunately, there are some simple tips you can follow to keep your skin plump and hydrated.

Is my skin dry or dehydrated?

It’s important to understand whether you have chronically dry skin or dehydrated skin.

“Dry skin is a skin type that doesn’t produce enough natural oils, leading to skin roughness, flaking, and visible fine lines”, explains dermatologist Dr Liz Dawes-Higgs. “It often feels itchy and irritated.”

“Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is a condition where the skin lacks water”. This is not a skin type, but rather a symptom of not drinking enough water, using harsh skincare products, or spending too much time in the sun. “This can occur in any skin type, including oily skin. It makes your skin look dull and feel tight.”

In This Article

How To Hydrate Your Skin

Hydrating skin is important all year round. Whether it’s more exposure to the sun, sand and saltwater in summer or caused by chilly and dry winter conditions, there are certain steps you can take to improve skin health and hydrate skin.

Simplify Your Skincare Routine

Consider simplifying your skincare routine. Focus on the essentials: a gentle cleanser, a moisturiser, and sunscreen. This minimalist approach, often referred to as a ‘skincare reset’, can be especially beneficial if your skin is reacting to the overuse of products.

Streamlining helps maintain your skin’s lipid barrier, preventing moisture loss and ensuring better hydration. Using fewer, but more targeted products can enhance your skin’s health and appearance.

Avoid Drying Ingredients

Over–exfoliating can strip the skin of its natural oils and disrupt the natural skin barrier, leading to dryness, irritation, and inflammation. This can make it harder for the skin to retain moisture, leading to further dehydration.

“Certain ingredients can worsen dry or dehydrated skin, so it’s crucial to avoid them in your skincare routine. Drying alcohols like ethanol and isopropyl alcohol can strip your skin’s natural oils, leading to further dryness”, says Dr Dawes-Higgs.

That’s not to say regular exfoliation isn’t beneficial. In fact, occasionally removing dead skin cells helps ensure your moisturiser absorbs better.

Layered Hydration

Layered hydration maximises moisture retention through a step-by-step application of products. Start with a hydrating toner, essence, or mist to prep the skin.

Follow with a hydrating serum rich in ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides to penetrate deeply and boost moisture levels. 

Lock in hydration with a moisturiser suitable for your skin type—lighter for oily skin and richer for dry skin. During the day, always use sunscreen to protect from UV rays and prevent moisture loss.

Use a Humidifier

If you reside in a dry climate, introducing a humidifier into your home can significantly boost the moisture levels in your air. “Externally, you can enhance your skin’s hydration with a humidifier and a comprehensive hydrating skincare routine”, Dr Dawes-Higgs says.

This method ensures that while your environment contributes to skin hydration, your skincare regimen amplifies and sustains it.

However, it’s important to maintain your humidifier properly. Regular cleaning is necessary to prevent bacteria or mould buildup, which could harm rather than help your skin. 

Increase Water Intake

Drinking plenty of water is essential for maintaining hydrated and healthy skin. Dr Dawes-Higgs explains “Start by drinking around 8 glasses of water a day or even more if you are physically active.” 

This daily intake is crucial not just for overall health, but specifically for enhancing skin hydration. Consuming sufficient water helps in flushing out toxins from the body, improving skin elasticity, and regulating body temperature. These benefits can prevent the skin from becoming overly dry or excessively oily, promoting a balanced and more vibrant complexion.

Eat More Water-Rich Foods

Hydration and nourishment can also come from the food we eat. Our bodies get about 20% of the water from the food we eat throughout the day.

“Incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, flaxseeds, and chia seeds. Additionally, ensure you are eating plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables like berries, spinach, and carrots that help to protect and rejuvenate your skin.”

Fruits and vegetables like cucumber, iceberg lettuce and celery with more than 80% water content are a great choice for interanal hydration.

Skin Hydration for Your Body

When it comes to the body, Dr Dawes-Higgs emphasises the importance of selecting ingredients that hydrate and maintain moisture. “Ingredients rich in fatty acids, such as cocoa butter, are extremely hydrating for the skin. Combine this with shea butter, an antioxidant that helps maintain moisture.”

A perfect example is Palmer’s Stretch Mark Lotion, which contains both cocoa and shea butter. These ingredients not only replenish moisture but also form a protective barrier, ensuring deep hydration and improved skin elasticity.

"Ingredients rich in fatty acids, such as cocoa butter, are extremely hydrating for the skin. Combine this with shea butter, an antioxidant that helps maintain moisture".

Guide To Hydrating Ingredients

Skincare products are formulated with various different ingredients that serve different purposes when it comes to skin hydration.

Humectants

Humectants are ingredients used in skin care products that help to attract and retain moisture in the skin. They work by drawing water from the environment and from deeper layers of the skin to the surface, helping to keep the skin hydrated and plump. Common humectants used in skin care products include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, sorbitol, aloe vera and urea.

Emollients

Emollients are ingredients used in skincare products to help soften and soothe dry, rough, flaky and irritated skin by filling it with fatty substances called lipids. They are essentially a part of a moisturiser that keeps your skin soft and smooth. Emollients that contain lots of oil, also work to seal moisture in your skin.

Examples of emollients are cocoa butter, fatty acids and squalane.

Occlusives

They work by forming a protective barrier on the skin, locking in moisture and preventing water loss. Emollients can be found in a variety of products, including waxes, creams, ointments, and oils. Common emollients include lanolin, mineral oil and petrolatum.

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Tara Lusk is the founder and creator of Beauty Space
Tara Lusk is a Sydney-based beauty enthusiast and the founder of Beauty Space. She launched the blog in 2018 to showcase the best beauty and skincare brands emerging from Australia, while also providing insider tips and tricks for hair and skincare. With a focus on tried-and-true products, Tara puts the latest cult products to the test to separate hype from substance.

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