18 Jun How to Hydrate your Skin
Together with the air we breathe and the food we eat, water is one of the essential factors for life. Water makes up a staggering sixty percent of our bodies and an even higher proportion of our skin (64%), so maintaining hydration is essential for the way the body functions and looks.
When the skin lacks moisture, it will appear less plump and fresh. Dehydration and dryness increase the rate at which skin cells die. Dead cells on the surface of the skin can cause an ashy, dull and scaly complexion. Dry skin is also more prone to xerosis and eczema flare-ups but the good news is there’s much that can be done to help hydrate your skin, from the inside and out.
Water, water everywhere
It’s no good piling on the moisturisers if you’re not hydrating from within. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your skin looking good. Remember that cola, coffee and other caffeinated drinks may boost your energy and ease your thirst, but they’re also diuretics. Although they will top up your fluid levels, they’ll also stimulate your body to urinate and release lots of it back out! So, swap your morning cappuccino for herbal tea or some boiled water with lemon and sip from a water bottle throughout the day. Your skin will thank you for it.
Nourish your skin
For too long a low-fat diet has been promoted and fat is seen as health enemy number one. However, healthy fats are vital for the wellbeing of our bodies. Essential Fatty Acids, like Omega 3, are particularly crucial for the skin, with deficiencies causing dryness, itching and irritation.
Rich sources of Omega 3 include oily fish like mackerel, salmon, tuna and crab as well as nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables and soya. One study suggested that omega-rich flaxseeds were nature’s wrinkle-busters. In research, people who were given daily supplements of Omega 3 for six weeks had better hydrated skin; they also noticed less skin irritation and redness. Why not sprinkle some seeds on your cereal every day?
Don’t forget sun-protection
Sun exposure increases the rate of water evaporation from the skin, and inflamed, sunburnt skin is particularly vulnerable. Summer is a great time to remember the importance of sun protection.
However, even when you look out of the window and sigh at the gloomy, grey skies remember the sun’s rays can penetrate through the clouds. It’s essential for protection against dryness, cancer and aging to apply sunblock every day.
The British Association of Dermatologists recommends:
- Protecting the skin with a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses.
- Staying in the shade between 11am and 3pm on sunny days.
- Using a high protection sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and applying it generously and frequently when in the sun.
Help with humidity
In the summer months, it’s tempting to dial up the air con, which can dry out the room and your skin. Counteract this effect by making a simple home-made humidifier. Pop a damp cloth over a rail, or leave a bowl of water in each room too slowly evaporate into the air, adding moisture to the environment.
Emollients help the skin retain water. They function to both moisturise and prevent against water loss from the skin surface. They are effective for the treatment of eczema, xerosis and other causes of dry skin. When applied regularly, liberally and frequently they will help hydrate the skin, reduce dryness, soften skin and ease itching.
Emollients like AproDerm® will soothe, protect and hydrate your skin. The AproDerm® range is also free from chemicals like SLS, parabens, benzyl alcohol, fragrances and colours, which are known common irritants and sensitisers, so there is less risk of skin irritation.
A steaming shower or boiling bath can be relaxing, but they can strip your skin of essential oils and dehydrate it. Instead, use tepid or warm water and stick to soaks of 15 minutes or less. It can help to apply an emollient before you wash or go swimming, it will help lock in moisture. If your skin is prone to eczema, dryness, and sensitivity, try applying AproDerm® before and after you bathe, slather it on while the surface is still damp for extra benefit.
With proper nutrition, adequate hydration and skin that is moisturised and protected, your complexion will glow with health all summer long.