It’s summertime! We all know that we need to drink water for all those long fun-in-the-sun days so we don’t overheat, but how else can we keep our skin hydrated and glowing with all the sunbathing going on?
You might put a little more effort into your skin hydration routine during Fall and Winter, but your skin needs the extra love just as much in the summer. It’s important to keep your skin hydrated all year long!
Lucky for you, here is all of the essential knowledge about skin hydration in one place. Don’t let your skin go parched. Get educated and get hydrated!
What Contributes to Hydration?
There are several things that contribute to hydration. The thing about hydration is that it’s kind of a holistic thing. The first step you need to take is to make sure that your lifestyle (how much water you drink compared to how much you sweat, etc.) keeps your body hydrated. Then, you should take a look at the cleansers and other products that you use to keep your skin glowing.
Think about what parts of your life could be contributing to the condition of your skin.
Although not surprising, the amount of water/liquid that you consume is the first aspect of your lifestyle that you should look to in order to up your hydration game. The general guideline for water-drinking is about 8 cups per day, but everyone’s body is different. You may naturally need more or less water than average. The amount of caffeine you drink could also be adding to your water/liquid needs. Caffeine can drain your body of liquid and nutrients. Luckily, fruits and vegetables can both hydrate and nourish you! So, you might want to consider upping your water, fruits, and veggies intake while limiting your caffeine intake.
With that being said, how much you sweat and how often you are in the sun greatly contributes to your hydration levels. Similar to what we just mentioned, if you work out a lot or have a job that entails moving and sweating, you’re going to need to drink more liquids to make up for the loss. Being in the sun too much or too often can also cause your skin to wither up (i.e. sadly, excessive sun tanning, etc.). In other words, it’s going to need a little extra love.
Also, have you ever thought about how the climate that you live in could be affecting your skin? If home is closer to the coast, you may be dealing with humidity and breakouts while being somewhere more inland or near a desert may be the culprit of your dry skin. Both of these (and other conditions) may warrant a little extra liquid and a little extra skincare.
Lastly, think about what kind of makeup your skin is soaking up on a daily basis. Believe it or not, your foundation may be drying out your skin—especially if you aren’t moisturizing throughout the day.
Cleansers and Other Products
Besides makeup, your facewash and other routine products could be drying you out. This can have a lot to do with both the climate you live in and your skin type.
If you live in a more humid climate and have oily skin, exfoliators and daily cleansers may be helping you avoid breakouts. However, if you live in a dryer climate, these same products, used excessively, could be drying you out to the point of causing breakouts. It may take some trial and error, but it’s a good idea to find a combination that works best for you personally.
Over all else, make sure that you are using facial cleansers and not generic soap. Cleansing oils and balms, for example, can be gentle enough even for sensitive skin. Make sure to use lukewarm water and to avoid foaming cleansers that can strip your skin of natural oils and leave you feeling even more parched.
Hydrators versus Moisturizers
Wait? They aren’t the same thing?!
Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are a few key differences that can help you spot the difference.
First off, the real difference is in the way your skin receives moisture from whatever skincare gems you may be using. Moisturizing refers to creating a protective barrier over the skin to help keep moisture in and to keep it from escaping. Hydrating refers to helping the actual skin cells get and retain water in order to keep your skin plump, hydrated, and glowing.
Here are the four main types of moisturizers/hydrators, which we grouped together for simplicity's sake:
Emollients are fat- and oil-based moisturizers that create a protective film over your skin to trap in moisture between the gaps. They often come as lotions, creams, or ointments and are used for severely dry skin or to help soothe itchy or rough patches. At Earth Harbor, we use no animal products, so we opt for plant-based options that have plenty of phyto-fats, omegas, and other vegan ingredients. Be cautious using emollients on your face—especially those that are not intended to be used specifically as a facial moisturizer. They can be a little bit on the heavy, oily side.
Squalene is an oil that has historically been used to treat different types of ailments and is used in many skin care products today. However, squalene (which is naturally found in human skin) often is sourced from shark fins. Because we want to protect the Earth and the animals that live in it, we opt for squalane (that "a" instead of an "e" makes a big difference when it comes to ethics!) which comes from olive fruit. Like emollients, squalane protects the surface of the skin from the effects of sun exposure including dry skin. Because of this, it is often used in a lot of clinical skin treatments/moisturizers.
Occlusives also create a barrier to keep moisture locked in and include oil-based ingredients. Commonly used occlusives include petroleum jelly and synthetic bath oils which can be toxic to your skin and body. Luckily, there are plant-based ingredients that have the same effect including plant-based oils and plant butters. Like emollients, they are often used for more extreme skin conditions such as eczema or severely dry skin.
Here is where the difference starts to come in: Humectants are what we call “hydrators.” Instead of creating a layer to keep moisture in, when applied, humectants attract moisture to the upper layer of skin and hydrate skin cells directly to keep your skin from being thirsty all day long. After pulling the moisture in, they help your skin retain it so that all the hydration doesn’t just evaporate away. Popular humectants include Hyaluronic Acid (Sodium Hyaluronate), Botanical Hyaluronic Acid (Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum), Sodium PCA, Glycerin, Seaweed, Algae, Aloe Vera, and Niacinamide, to name a few.
Some lesser-known humectants that we want to mention are Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) and Salicylic Acid (often used for acne); their powerful exfoliating properties actually make way for proper cellular function when it comes to retaining moisture, which is pretty cool since that may be a missing link in your skin becoming the ultimate hydration station! But when using products that contain AHAs or Salicylic Acid be sure to 1) only use products that also have other humectants and proper pH because they can negate the hydration factor by being too drying otherwise, and 2) wear SPF because they can cause sun sensitivity. At Earth Harbor, we use alternative natural botanical forms of these ingredients such as White Willow Bark, Fruit Enzymes, and Fruit Acids coupled with the aforementioned sweet spot of proper pH and other bioactive humectants when formulating with these unique exfoliating humectants so that your skin gets the best of both worlds!
What Hydrators are Best for My Skin Type?
For dry skin, look for skincare gems that contain omegas and antioxidants. (Like Siren Silk Multitasking Hydration Creme.) Omegas help keep that skin barrier functioning properly to keep moisture in and improve any signs of dry or itchy skin. Antioxidants can not only calm and hydrate your skin, but also improve your collagen levels to even skin tones and improve elasticity.
If you feel like your skin is just a little dull and could use a glow-up, you might want to try an oil-based moisturizer with plant-based fatty acids and antioxidants (like Calypso Rejuvenating Moisture Elixir’s Chia Seed Fatty Acids infused with COQ10). This bioactive ingredient duo contributes greatly to healthy cell membranes that keep your skin healthy and hydrated for giving you that lively youthful glow, not to mention the handful of other moisture-locking botanical oils that your skin will drink up!
Oily skin can be tricky because you may be thinking, “I don’t need any more moisture!” However, the key is to absorb the excess oil that may be clogging your pores so that real, hydrating moisture can get in. In this case, after a gentle oil-based cleanser (oil absorbs oil), you may want to look for a moisturizer that contains Vegan Hyaluronic Acid and microbiome balancing botanicals (contained in Mermaid Milk Nutrient Glow Moisturizer, for example) which helps the skin to absorb and retain the right kind of hydration without clogging your pores.
Moisturizers and hydrators containing amino acids and plenty of vitamins (as contained in Nymph Nectar Superfruit Radiance Balm) that can help reverse the signs of aging while gaining back your natural dewy, elastic complexion. Amino acids are essential parts of peptides and proteins that help keep your skin smooth while blurring and brightening discoloration. And vitamins, such as Vitamin A, help with skin elasticity and other youth-preserving properties thanks to their effectiveness in promoting skin's natural healing processes and hydration factors. (Just for the sake of perspective: retinol, which is used in many anti-aging products, is a derivative of Vitamin A.)
Our Skincare Gems
Now that you’re an expert on hydrators and what might work best for you, here are a few Earth Harbor examples to get you started:
Mermaid Milk is the perfect day-time water-based moisturizer for oily or combination skin. Antioxidants and Vegan Hyaluronic Acid help keep blemish-prone skin clear and hydrated.
Siren Silk’s Sea Retinol and Superfood Antioxidants make a perfect night-time combination for dry or mature skin.
Amino Acids and Superfruit Bio-Actives make up a soothing balm for a hydrating rescue treatment and a rich night mask.
Calypso locks in moisture day in and day out for a deeply hydrating skincare ritual.
Celestine is your best friend when it comes to getting lightweight, yet intense hydration, coupled with a plumping peptide boost.
As Summer starts to settle in, let’s make sure not to lighten up on the skincare self-care! Keep your skin hydrated and healthy all summer long by mixing up your routine to include some hydration-friendly habits.
Comment below with your favorite hydration rituals!