We all want a healthy, glowing complexion, and while many of us think we’re fairly skin savvy—we slather on sunscreen, we moisturize daily, we wash our face before bedtime—what we don’t realize is that despite our skin-care routines, it’s some of our daily habits that are stripping our skin and causing severe hydration.
“Any activity that can cause dehydration, including alcohol consumption, caffeine consumption, extreme physical activity, or a very dry environment, can also cause dehydration of the skin,” David Kriegel, MD, director and founder of the Manhattan Center for Dermatology and member of the American Academy of Dermatology, tells us.
“Even basic daily habits such as washing your hands and showering can dehydrate your skin,” The Peninsula Spa New York chimes in.
So what are the telltale signs of skin hydration? “Increased dryness, increased fine wrinkle lines, sallow or dull-looking skin, and a lack of vibrancy of the skin,” Dr. Kriegel notes. So not pretty. But, “these changes are often temporary unless the dehydration is an ongoing or chronic state of health,” he adds.
Thirsty for tips on how to hydrate our lackluster complexion, we asked both the doc and the spa how to rectify our habits.
- Use lukewarm water when washing your hands or showering, The Peninsula Spa advises. “Hot water (while it may feel good) aids in de-hydrating the skin.”
- Avoid using harsh anti-bacterial soaps and over-using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which can both be very dehydrating, says the spa.
- “Be sure to moisturize with a cream or lotion immediately following a shower or washing your hands,” The Peninsula Spa continues.
- “We recommend a significant increase in water consumption (two glasses) both before and after the ‘dehydrating’ activity,” Dr. Kriegel suggests. “This single act should mitigate the dehydrating effects on the skin.”
- As well, “foods high in essentially fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6s also help keep skin hydrated,” the spa says.
- Use a dry brush to exfoliate your body before getting in the shower for better results, it shares. “Then, follow in the shower with an oil- and salt-based scrub for a double-packed exfoliation and hydration.”