The Science of Moisturization: How to Keep Skin Hydrated

Written by: Emily Blakely


What is the key to beautiful, healthy skin? Moisturization! In today's world of long hours in air-conditioned offices, frequent washings with harsh soaps, and exposure to pollutants from our cars and nearby factories — all can contribute to unbalanced moisture levels on our faces. 

If you’re looking for a way to keep your face soft, supple, and hydrated, Moisturization: How to Keep Skin Hydrated is a timely guide for you. So let's explore why it’s so important to keep your skin hydrated, as well as some tips on implementing regular moisturization into your skincare routine.

Understanding the Skin

Your skin isn't just a superficial covering that adds to a woman's natural beauty; it's an intricate system designed to protect you. The American Academy of Dermatology outlines that there are three primary layers: the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue.

The Structure of the Skin

Discover how your skin shields against the elements and maintains moisture, as we explore the layers that compose it. Starting at the surface, the epidermis takes center stage. Housing resilient cells that combat external threats and regulate hydration, it is your first line of defense.

Beneath lies the dermis, a dynamic layer housing sweat glands, hair follicles, and vital collagen and elastin fibers. These fibers ensure your skin remains supple, yet firm.

And delving even deeper, we encounter the subcutaneous tissue. Brimming with fat cells that not only provides insulation for your body but also contributes to the contours that shape your appearance.

How the Skin Retains Moisture

Our skin is one of the most remarkable organs in our body. It helps protect our body from external harm, maintain body temperature and also feels sense of touch. One of the most essential functions of our skin is to retain moisture.

Our skin is constantly striving to maintain a balance between losing and retaining water. With the help of natural oil, often referred to as sebum that is produced by the sebaceous glands and fatty acids, our skin forms a protective barrier, preventing water loss through evaporation.

It also helps regulate water loss by closing pores when the humidity is low, and by opening them when the humidity is high. The stratum corneum, the outermost layer of our skin, also plays a crucial role in retaining moisture. It comprises of flattened cells filled with a natural moisturizing factor that helps bind water and maintain hydration. All these mechanisms combined, along with a healthy skincare routine and hydration from within, helps us achieve a glowing, well-hydrated, and radiant skin.

The Role of The Skin Barrier

The skin barrier is a crucial component of our skin that acts as a protective shield, keeping harmful external substances out and essential moisture in. It is made up of lipids, or fats, and proteins that work together to form a barrier that keeps the skin hydrated. When the skin barrier is healthy, it acts as a natural defense mechanism, preventing the loss of moisture that can lead to dryness, flakiness, and irritation.

However, when the skin barrier is damaged, it can cause the skin to become dehydrated, making it more prone to signs of aging and irritation. Therefore, it's crucial to maintain a healthy skin barrier by regularly using a Moisture Therapy Cream, avoiding irritating skincare products, and protecting the skin from harsh weather conditions and UV rays. By doing so, you can ensure that your skin stays hydrated, healthy, and nourished.

Understanding our skin better equips us to make more informed decisions about how we care for it daily. So remember: hydration isn't just drinking eight glasses of water per day - it also means taking great care of that complex organ we all wear every single day.

Key Takeaways:

Your skin is a complex system built to guard and hydrate. It uses natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) and sebum to keep hydration in check, while a robust barrier wards off moisture loss. Consistent care with suitable products bolsters this balance, boosting your innate radiance. Keep in mind: staying hydrated isn't just about guzzling water - it's also about taking good care of that intricate organ you're wearing.

The Science of Moisturization

Have you ever wondered why your skin feels dry and tight after a long day? The answer may lie in the science of moisturization. It's not just about slathering on lotion - it's about understanding the unique needs of your skin.

By taking the time to understand what your skin needs, you can help prevent issues like dryness and irritation, and keep your skin looking and feeling its best. With the right knowledge and products, you can unlock the secrets of moisturization and achieve healthy, glowing skin.

Defining Moisturization

Keeping your skin hydrated is essential in maintaining healthy-looking skin. Moisturization refers to the process of adding moisture to the skin, which is crucial for keeping it smooth, resilient, and glowing. When the skin is dehydrated or lacks moisture, it can feel tight, rough, and flaky. Moisturizing your skin can help prevent dryness, fine lines, and wrinkles, making it a vital step in any skincare routine.

It is important to note that choosing the right moisturizer for your skin type is crucial, as it can make all the difference in achieving a radiant and youthful complexion. Investing in quality skincare products that cater to your skin's specific needs can help you achieve healthy, hydrated, and glowing skin.

How Moisturizers Work

Have you ever wondered what makes your skin soft and supple after applying moisturizer? Well, the answer lies in the three key ingredients: occlusives, humectants, and emollients.

Occlusives form a protective layer on the skin's surface, preventing moisture from escaping.

Humectants attract water molecules from the environment and bind them to the skin.

Lastly, emollients soften and smooth the skin's texture. Together, these ingredients work in harmony to provide your skin with the hydration it needs, leaving you feeling moisturized and refreshed. Understanding how moisturizers work can help you choose the right product for your unique skin type and needs.

The Different Types of Moisturizers

Different products use different combinations of these ingredients. For example, some might focus more on occlusive properties for those with extremely dry skin, while others might be humectant-rich to help oilier types stay hydrated without feeling greasy.

Hydration vs. Moisturization

Maintaining healthy skin requires some effort and attention, but one of the most important things to consider when it comes to achieving great skin is maintaining proper hydration and moisturization. Though the two terms are often used interchangeably, they are actually quite different.

While hydration is all about pumping water into your cells, moisturization focuses on locking in the moisture and preventing it from escaping. Moisturization is essential for protecting the skin from environmental factors that can negatively impact its health, such as wind, sun, and pollution.

Understanding the difference between these two concepts is key to achieving and maintaining healthy, glowing skin.

Factors Affecting Skin Hydration

Healthy, hydrated skin is a must for everyone. It can be a challenge to maintain that perfect level of moisture, but understanding the factors that affect skin hydration can help. From genetics to environment, there are a multitude of things that can influence the hydration levels in your skin.

What you eat, how much water you drink, and the type of climate you live in can all play a role. Even your daily routine, including your skincare regimen, can contribute to the state of your skin's hydration. With so many variables at play, it's important to be mindful of what you expose your skin to and to find a balance that works for you.

Environmental Factors

Skin hydration levels are not only affected by what we apply to our skin, but also by environmental factors. The natural moisture content of our skin can be significantly impacted by harsh environmental conditions. For example, prolonged exposure to the sun can cause our skin to dry out and lose its natural moisture.

Similarly, exposure to harsh winds and cold temperatures can also decrease the level of moisture that our skin retains, leading to dryness and itchiness. High humidity levels also have an impact on skin hydration levels by increasing the rate at which moisture evaporates from our skin. Therefore, it is important to consider the environmental factors that surrounds us and make necessary adjustments to our skincare routine accordingly.

Diet and Hydration

Our skin is the largest organ of our body and plays a crucial role in protecting us from external damage. However, it is also one of the most sensitive organs that can easily be affected by what we consume. It is not just cosmetic products that have the potential to leave an impact on our skin, but also the food we eat.

What we eat can directly impact the hydration levels of our skin. Eating foods that are hydrating, such as fruits and vegetables, in addition to drinking lots of water, can help maintain our skin's hydration levels. Similarly, consuming processed and sugary foods frequently can have a damaging impact on our skin and leave it looking tired and dehydrated. So, to achieve healthy and hydrated skin, it is recommended that we pay attention to what we eat as much as what we apply to our skin.

You are what you eat, as they say. Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish or walnuts, can improve your skin’s ability to retain moisture. Healthline has a great list of these foods for reference. Also, remember that drinking enough water is crucial for keeping every part of your body hydrated – including your skin.

Age and Hormonal Influences

As we age, our skin undergoes a variety of changes that can impact its hydration levels. One of the key factors at play is hormonal influences. Hormonal changes over time can cause a reduction in sebum production, leading to drier skin that is prone to dehydration. This can be especially true in women, as hormonal changes during menopause can further exacerbate this issue.

Of course, hormonal changes aren't the only factor at play - external factors like harsh weather and excessive sun exposure can further impact skin hydration as well. However, understanding the relationship between age, hormones, and hydration can be an important step in taking care of our skin as we grow older.

Choosing the Right Moisturizer for Your Skin

Your choice of moisturizer can make or break your hydration game. To pick wisely, consider both your skin type and the ingredients list - the right combination will have your skin looking young and healthy.

Moisturizers with Natural Occlusives

Occlusives are moisturizing ingredients that create a protective moisture barrier on the skin, preventing water loss. This results in softer, smoother, and hydrated skin. Some examples of occlusives that you might find in moisturizers include shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, sunflower oil, tamanu oil, and avocado oil.

These ingredients are great for those with dry or dehydrated skin, but it's important to note that they can sometimes be too heavy for oily or acne-prone skin. So, if you're on the hunt for a new moisturizer, make sure to check the label for occlusives and consider what your skin type needs.

Moisturizers with Natural Humectants

Humectants are a fantastic addition to any moisturizer, as they can help skin to hold onto hydration for longer periods of time. One popular example of a natural humectant is glycerin. Derived from botanical fats and oils, glycerin helps to lock in moisture and prevent dryness and flakiness. Another commonly used humectant is aloe vera, which not only helps to hydrate the skin but also has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Honey is yet another option for those looking to incorporate natural humectants into their skincare routine, thanks to its ability to draw moisture from the air into the skin. And one of the most popular humectants found in premium moisturizers today is Hyaluronic Acid - which can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making it a top hydrating agent. Read more about skin benefits of hyaluronic acid here.

By using moisturizing products like this Hyaluronic Acid Serum that contains natural humectants, you can enjoy skin that looks and feels soft, supple, and well-hydrated, no matter what the weather conditions may be.

Moisturizers with Natural Emollients

Do you ever wonder what makes your moisturizer so effective at keeping your skin soft and supple? The answer lies in its ingredients, particularly the natural emollients. These oily substances work wonders when it comes to hydration as they trap in moisture, creating a protective barrier that prevents water loss.

Some common examples of these natural emollients include jojoba oil, shea butter, and avocado oil. Not only are they effective at moisturizing, but they also offer additional skin benefits, such as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. So, the next time you reach for your favorite Eye Moisturizer or Retinol Moisture Cream, take note of its ingredients and see how many natural emollients you can spot!

For a full list of the best natural moisturizers, click here.

Tips and Tricks for Keeping Skin Hydrated

Keeping your skin hydrated doesn't have to be complex. It's all about finding out what works for your skin, making minor alterations that create big impacts, and utilizing the right products.

The Role of Water Intake

We all know that staying hydrated is great for our health, but did you know that drinking enough water can also work wonders for your skin? Hydrated skin is happy skin, and water intake is key to achieving that effortless, youthful glow. When your body is properly hydrated, your skin can retain moisture and maintain its elasticity, preventing the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

Additionally, staying hydrated helps to flush out toxins from your system, resulting in a clearer, brighter complexion. So, the next time you reach for that sugary soda or cup of coffee, consider swapping it out for a refreshing glass of water and give your skin the boost it deserves!

The Mayo Clinic recommends that women consume 11.5 glasses of water per day (or 2.7 liters) – including water from food - which usually accounts for about 20% of daily water consumption. But remember - everyone’s needs are different depending on factors such as climate and physical activity levels.

Nutrients and Foods That Support Skin Hydration

Eating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon) can help keep your skin plump from within because these nutrients strengthen cell membranes. For great meal planning ideas, Healthline provides this list of foods with high Omega-3 fatty acids.

Fruits with high-water content, such as cucumbers or strawberries, also play an important role by directly providing hydration to our bodies.

Citrus fruits aren’t just refreshing—they’re loaded with vitamin C, which boosts collagen production, resulting in supple skin.

Routine Skincare Practices

If you're looking to hydrate your skin and keep it looking vibrant, it's important to establish a solid skincare routine. One crucial step is exfoliation. By gently removing dead skin cells, you'll reveal the fresh, healthy skin beneath. But don't forget to keep your skin hydrated, too!

Moisturizing is essential for maintaining soft, supple skin. Look for products that are specifically formulated to lock in moisture and provide nourishment. With the right skincare routine, you'll be well on your way to achieving the healthy, glowing skin you've always wanted.

Key Takeaways:

Getting a handle on skin hydration means understanding what suits you, tweaking your routine slightly, and choosing the right products. Opting for a moisturizer loaded with powerful hydrators such as hyaluronic acid or ceramides can take things to the next level. Sipping water keeps you hydrated from within while munching on Omega-3 rich foods provides inner nourishment. Regular exfoliation boosts your moisturizing efforts.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Achieving healthy, radiant skin is no easy feat, and the last thing you want is to undo all your hard work with common mistakes. So many of us fall victim to the same pitfalls – over-exfoliating, using harsh cleansers, or skipping moisturizer altogether. By avoiding these common missteps, you can take your skin game to the next level.


Exfoliation, when using a Purifying Charcoal Mask with hydrating ingredients like tamanu, jojoba, and grapeseed oils, can effectively remove dead skin cells and reveal healthier-looking skin underneath. But using exfoliants too often - or using harsher product varieties of face masks - can strip away essential oils, leading to dehydrated and sensitive skin. Aim for gentle exfoliation not more than twice a week to maintain the right moisture balance. 

Products with High Alcohol Content

You may not realize it, but the skincare products you use every day could be packed with harmful types of alcohol that are doing more harm than good to your skin. Skin experts advise avoiding products with ingredients like denatured alcohol, SD alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol, which are known for drying out the skin and leaving it vulnerable to damage from environmental stressors.

Unfortunately, these alcohols are found in many popular skincare products, and consumers may not be aware of their negative effects. So, next time you're browsing the skincare aisle, be sure to check the ingredient list for these sneaky types of alcohol and opt for more gentle, hydrating alternatives instead. Your skin will thank you!

Neglecting Humidity & Temperature Factors

Last but not least, don't overlook the role of environmental factors such as humidity and temperature on your skin's health. 

Suppose you live in a dry climate or spend lots of time indoors where air conditioning systems can reduce indoor humidity levels significantly. In that case, this could be causing unnecessary dehydration of your skin. To counter this, you can Increase water intake during hotter months, add humidifiers into living spaces during winter, and avoid long hot showers as they can strip off the protective oil layer from the surface of our skin.

Remember to maintain a balanced hydration level in your skin for optimal health. Avoid these missteps, and you'll be on the road to having skin that's healthier and better hydrated.

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When it comes to maintaining skin moisture, the needs of various kinds of complexions can differ. Different skin types—oily, dry, combination—need distinct approaches to stay hydrated.

Skin Hydration for Different Skin Types

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Seasonal Adjustments To Your Skincare Routine

Your skincare routine should shift as seasons change because weather plays a significant role in our skin health.

In warmer months, when humidity rises—we often sweat more and produce excess oils, so lighter lotions, serums, or gels could work best here.

In contrast—as cold winter air lacks humidity—you'll want something richer to lock in that much-needed moisture and combat any potential dryness. Don’t forget those lips, too—a nourishing lip balm is always a good idea.

Above all else, though—always listen closely to what your complexion tells you—it knows itself better than any blog post or expert could. So, experiment a little, adjust as needed, and keep that skin glowing all year round.

Protect Your Skin from Sun Damage

As much as soaking up the sun can be a great way to lift your mood, it can also cause some unwanted effects on your skin. Unprotected exposure to the sun may lead to dehydration and even premature aging. The sun's harmful UV rays can dry out your skin and alter its elasticity, leading to a lackluster complexion.

The Importance of Daily Sunscreen Use

The summer sun is all fun and games until you get a bad sunburn, right? Wrong. Sun damage is much more than just a superficial burn. Protecting your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation is important every single day, even when it doesn't seem necessary. Cloudy skies don't necessarily mean that UV rays can't penetrate your skin. 

Don't be fooled. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, up to 80% of UV radiation can still reach your skin, even when you can't see the sun. That's why it's crucial to take care of your skin on a cellular level with daily protection. Don't wait for a painful sunburn to remind you of the importance of skin care.


Finding the Right SPF for You

Picking out sunscreen can feel like navigating through alphabet soup with terms like 'SPF', 'broad spectrum', or 'water resistant'. To simplify this process remember: higher SPF gives more protection but no product blocks 100% UV rays; "broad-spectrum" covers both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays; water resistance is measured either at 40 or 80 minutes during swimming or sweating. Read more about finding the best sunscreen for your skin.

Skin Hydration FAQs

What is the importance of skin hydration?

Skin hydration is essential in maintaining a healthy, radiant, and youthful appearance. Proper hydration helps to prevent dryness, flakiness, and irritation. It also promotes a strong skin barrier, which can protect the skin from harmful environmental factors, pathogens, and signs of aging.

What ingredients should I look for in a moisturizer?

Look for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, which can hold a significant amount of water, helping hydrate the skin. Glycerin, ceramides, and fatty acids are beneficial ingredients that help maintain the skin’s barrier function and retain moisture.

How often should I moisturize my skin?

It is generally recommended to moisturize your skin at least twice daily, in the morning and at night. However, the frequency might vary depending on your skin type, the climate you live in, and your overall skincare routine.

Does drinking water help in keeping the skin hydrated?

Yes, drinking sufficient water can help maintain overall hydration, benefiting the skin. However, topical moisturization is also essential, as it directly addresses skin dryness and helps maintain the skin’s barrier function.

Can oily skin be dehydrated?

Yes, oily skin can still be dehydrated. Dehydration refers to a lack of water in the skin, not oil. Even individuals with oily skin can experience dehydration, so people with all skin types need to moisturize regularly.

What role does the diet play in skin hydration?

Diet plays a crucial role in skin hydration. Foods rich in healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, and fish, can promote healthy skin. Additionally, consuming various fruits and vegetables, which contain high water content and vital vitamins and minerals, can support skin health and hydration.

What is the impact of over-exfoliating on skin hydration?

Over-exfoliating can disrupt the skin's natural barrier, leading to moisture loss and causing dryness and irritation. It is advisable to exfoliate no more than two to three times a week and to always follow up with a hydrating moisturizer to maintain skin hydration.

Does humid weather affect skin hydration?

Yes, the level of humidity in the environment can influence skin hydration. High humidity levels can help maintain skin moisture, while low humidity levels can lead to dehydrated skin. It is advisable to use a humidifier in dry climates to help maintain skin hydration.

How does aging affect skin hydration?

As we age, the skin’s ability to retain moisture decreases, partly due to a reduction in the production of natural oils and a decrease in the skin’s ability to repair itself. It can lead to drier skin and fine lines and wrinkles. So, as we age, it becomes even more crucial to focus on hydrating the skin through topical treatments and a balanced diet.

Can moisturizers with SPF provide sufficient hydration?

Moisturizers with SPF can offer hydration along with sun protection. However, depending on your skin type and the climate you are in, you might need to reapply moisturizer throughout the day to maintain optimal skin hydration.


Keeping your skin hydrated doesn’t have to be a complex process, nor does it require too much effort. It just takes understanding the science behind moisturization and how to determine what kind of products are best for you. Also important are curbing environmental factors, getting the right diet, and adequate sun protection. Plus, don’t forget to be mindful of seasonal shifts when selecting a skin care routine!

As long as you keep these tips in mind and follow them consistently, you will be balancing moisture levels in your skin so it looks healthy and radiant all day long. Hydration is vital to your skin’s health, so take the time to learn more about it. You’ll find it's well worth the effort!