Nora is a writer and consultant working with sustainable brands to make an impact. In 2022, she founded Mossy Copy, LLC, a full-service copy studio based in Austin, TX. Her master’s in English is from NYU, and her bachelor’s in the same is from Sewanee. Areas of expertise include wellness, nutrition, style, and beauty.

Hydration is a foundational part of skin health — and we’re not just talking about drinking water! When the natural oils on your face are stripped away or your barrier compromised, your skin can lose its moisture from the inside out. There are so many lifestyle and environmental factors that can dehydrate our skin on a daily basis, so let’s dive into some of the key things that dry out skin, plus 9 easy ways to maintain hydrated and healthy skin.

What causes dehydrated skin?

Before you look for the best way to hydrate your skin, you should know what dehydrates it in the first place. Knowing this can help you find a solution that solves the root of the problem. There are many factors that can dehydrate your skin — from the products you use to your external environment. Cleansing too often to remove what you believe to be excess oil, especially with harsh sulfates, abrasive scrubs, or alkaline ingredients, can strip away the natural oils that help protect your skin from water loss.

Harsh temperatures, dry air, sun exposure, and even wind can further dry out your skin. Not drinking enough water will of course cause dehydration, but sweating and peeing too much can also have the same effect. Smoking tobacco is also known to hurt your body’s ability to regulate hydration thus leading to dry skin. And in addition to environmental and lifestyle factors, underlying health conditions can also cause your skin’s hydration to be imbalanced.

Hydration vs. moisturization for dehydrated skin

Before we get into ways to hydrate your skin, let’s break down the difference between hydration and moisture.

While hydration introduces water into your skin cells, moisturization locks in that water using fats. You’ll need both in order to build skin health.

First, look for a humectant that can draw water into your skin, such as Hyaluronic Acid (known for its ability to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water). Because this potent hydrator attracts moisture from its surroundings, you need to use it with a splash of lukewarm water. Apply a face plumping serum like Plump Jelly onto a fresh, damp face for instant quench.

Next, get a natural facial cream that combines fatty occlusives to lock in hydration. Rich in occlusive Emollient Fatty Acids, Cosmic Cream™ helps seal in moisture for dewy decadence.

How to hydrate your skin

Now that we’ve established what dehydration and dryness are, how they’re related, and what causes these concerns, let’s put those learnings into action and learn how to hydrate the skin. Here’s a checklist of practices you can use on the regular to support skin hydration:

1. Drink water and electrolytes

Your body is 60% water. When you’re not consuming enough, your entire system is affected, including your skin. Aim to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces per day — on average for women, that’s around 85oz.

Your body also needs a balance of electrolytes like the minerals sodium, calcium, and potassium, in order to be hydrated. Particularly whenever you’re losing water and electrolytes as a result of sweating, it’s important to replenish them. Add electrolytes to your water at least once daily to ensure you’re getting an adequate balance and that your cells are absorbing the hydration they need.

2. Support your coffee habit

As a diuretic, caffeine causes you to pee out tons of water. When you’re urinating frequently from coffee, or other diuretics like alcohol, you need to replenish the water that’s being lost.

It’s important to drink water first thing in the morning (even before coffee) and after your daily cup to ensure you’re replenishing hydration.

3. Eat hydrating foods

Eating hydrating foods can help your body get a boost of skin-loving micronutrients along with water. The foods that provide you with the highest water content are fruits and vegetables like watermelon, grapefruit, tomatoes, celery, and cucumbers.

Meals that incorporate lots of liquid, like broths, soups, and smoothies, can also help keep you hydrated and promote healthy skin. A chilled gazpacho, for instance, is both refreshing and full of hydrating vegetables.

4. Get a humidifier

Your environment plays a huge role in your skin health. Extreme heat and cold, or changes in temperature, can be hard on your skin’s outermost lines of defense. That’s why your skin tends to dry out in the winter from frigid temps outside and blasting heaters inside.

If you notice daily dehydration in your skin, dry air could be to blame, so investing in a humidifier can be supportive. A humidifier can be especially helpful in the winter when your skin is taking a hit.

5. Take warm showers

All that heat and overwashing can strip your skin and leave you dryer than before. When taking a hot shower or a bath, keep it short and sweet, don’t use scorching hot water, — and keep it under 104 degrees.

6. Use a hydrating serum

Plump Jelly hydrates two ways to keep skin bouncy. Low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid and PGA Peptides work synergistically to hydrate around the cells, while Beet Amino Acid and Silver Ear Mushroom deliver water into the cells and lock it in for long-term moisture. Additionally, adaptogenic Reishi mushroom helps restore your skin barrier function.

7. Add on fats

Your skin needs fats! Because your barrier is made up of lipids (natural fats) that hold cells together, your skin craves good fats in the form of hydrating ingredients such as plant oils and balms.

To seal in moisture, replenish your skin with a slather of healthy fats. Cosmic Cream™ will do that, with Emollient Fatty Acids to lock in hydration and help improve skin’s natural barrier function. Need help getting the maximum benefits from a moisturizer? Check out our tips on how to apply moisturizer.

8. Try a chemical exfoliant

When your pores are clogged with dead skin cells, dirt, and debris, your skin is not able to fully accept the hydrating products you give it. It’s important to use a liquid exfoliant like Acid Potion to help unglue dead cells and flush out pores.

9. Apply sunscreen

When your skin is exposed to UV rays without protection, the stratum corneum layer of your skin barrier can thicken and become dehydrated and skin cells can suffer damage.

So while your skin needs Vitamin D from the sun, it also needs protection from UV radiation. Your skin’s barrier does some of this work, but if you have a damaged skin barrier, you need to implement a daily moisturizer with SPF into your skincare routine to protect from dehydration.

Water is the foundation for all of life, and as it turns out, it’s also one of the main foundations for skin health. When we stay hydrated and moisturized and stay on top of some key lifestyle habits, we can support dewy, glowing skin.