Hydration is one of the main keys to healthy, plump and resilient skin. Maintaining moisture in the skin is done in part by a component called hyaluronic acid. Skin can be hydrated by drinking lots of fluids during the day (coffee and soda do not count, as they actually dehydrate your body and skin) and by applying moisturizing agents, externally, on a regular basis. This will ensure that your skin is healthy, looks more vibrant and is less prone to develop wrinkles.
For skin to perform its protective role against UV radiation, toxic agents, microorganisms and damage from the environment, it needs to be in optimal health and therefore adequately hydrated. This way, skin is supple and elastic and its natural barrier is intact. If the skin is damaged, dry and broken, moisture is lost, environmental factors can harm it and further dehydration ensues.
This applies to skin of all ages, as exposure to the elements wears down the skin’s protective barrier. This causes lines, wrinkles and a loss of elasticity. Furthermore, acne and skin conditions, which occur in our youth, can cause further damage and complications to our skin. That is why hydration is important at all ages, in order to maintain our skin’s youthful, healthy look.
All skin types need hydration. People with oily skin may feel that their skin does need as much moisturizing, but, in reality, just because skin is oily does not mean it does not need hydration. Another category who needs moisturizing in particular are people with acne, as the products used to treat acne tend to leave the skin dry. This leads to the skin gland producing more oil, to compensate, and a vicious circle is created. This is the body’s natural defense mechanism: as one product removes oil, moisture is depleted, and the body needs to replace it by producing more oil, unless the lost moisture is replaced by an external hydration agent.
With time, the benefits of moisturizing become more evident: skin that has been moisturized from inside (6 to 8 glasses of water daily) and outside (with moisturizing products) will look healthier and younger. This is because moisturizing adds to the body’s natural hydration mechanism. The skin glands in charge of producing oil, which moisturizes the skin, are very active during our youth, but less so as we grow older. Eventually, skin will slow down its natural processes of keeping moisture and producing oil, and this, coupled with the damaging effects of the elements (heat, cold, wind, etc) ends up by wearing down the skin, irreversibly.
No matter what skin type you have (and your skin type may change with age), it is important to stay hydrated from within, by drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water every day. All skin types also need daily moisturizing: this will not completely remove the signs of aging, but it will help reduce them, making skin smoother and healthier, instead of dry and blotchy.
However, hydration alone cannot reduce wrinkles or get rid of acne scars – other products will be needed for this. But one thing is for sure: hydration will keep your skin looking healthy, glowing and it will slow down the skin aging process.
Read more of MBS’s Advice column, over here.