As Summer days are fleeting and you’ve no doubt spent at least some time in the sun over the last few months, your skin is most likely in need of some TLC.
Well-hydrated skin is plump and firm and feels smooth to the touch, thanks to the lipid-rich outermost layer of the epidermis having enough water to help flush out toxins and carry nutrients to your skin’s cells. Hydrated skin also tends to be less sensitive to irritants that slip through that lipid barrier when your skin lacks moisture. A dehydrated complexion on the other hand, loses elasticity, feels rough and can become flaky, itchy, red or even inflamed. And without moisture, skin cells shrivel up, exaggerating the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Here’s our list of holistic things you can do to help hydrate and improve the appearance and health of your complexion.
It seems simple, but as the old adage goes, it’s not always easy.
Apply a moisturizer while skin is still moist from cleansing or showering; your lotion can absorb more easily when your pores are softened. Also, choosing a product with active ingredients like hyaluronic acid, a natural, ultra-hydrating ingredient naturally found in the outer layer of your skin. You should notice an overall improvement to the condition of your skin with just these two practices.
You Are What You Eat…
Parched skin can be treated beneath the surface too. Eating a healthy skin diet can help keep your face looking supple and nourished. Foods with essential fatty acids, like walnuts, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, salmon and olive oil, can improve your skin’s hydration level by strengthening and lubricating your skin, locking in moisture before it can escape.
Often called “the forgotten nutrient,” water is a crucial component of healthy skin, as it rids your body of harmful toxins that can clog your pores. Aim to drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses over the course of each day. And remember: Sodas, juices, coffee and tea aren’t as powerful as water when it comes to nourishing your skin. If you find it hard to down that much plain water, try tossing berries, citrus wedges or cucumber slices into your glass to add subtle flavor.
When you’re stressed, the last thing you may think about is your skincare routine. But beyond that, stress can actually release chemicals that can inflame (and dry out) your skin. Do your best to manage tension and worry, which includes getting a good night’s rest. Poor sleep habits not only worsen stress, but can affect blood circulation to your skin - meaning it gets less of the oxygen and nutrients it needs to stay moisturized.
Alcohol is a diuretic; drinking too much can leave your skin as thirsty as it leaves you. Alcohol also depletes your complexion of vital nutrients, such as vitamin A, a key antioxidant that aids in cell regeneration.
Your home and habits could be zapping moisture from your face, too. Try using a humidifier year-round. Both summertime air-conditioning and winter heat can steal moisture from your skin. Hot water, exposure to sun and harsh cleansers all decrease your skin’s hydration, too. Try lukewarm showers, particularly when your skin seems particularly dry, and switch to mild cleansers with quality ingredients.