Beauty Dish | Emergency Hydration!

Hong Kong is usually known for its hot and extremely humid weather, but just after Chinese New Year, we had a sudden cold spell. Temperatures hovered at 12 degrees Celsius last week but humidity levels were at 90% – not your typical dry, subzero cold weather (hello Chicago and Toronto!).

In this super cold weather, my skin is easily dehydrated (feeling tight, taut and itchy) so I’ve already up-ed my skincare routine to combat the weather. What steps have you guys taken to prevent or repair dehydrated skin? I gave tips for getting winter-soft skin last month, but your face requires extra TLC. What can you do to keep skin soft and supple? Upgrade your skincare routine with these tips!

Check weather stats
Under harsh environmental condition like cold weather, hydrating (or rehydrating if needed!) skin is important. Be sure to check weather stats in your local forecast and add a hydrating product if humidity levels drop below 50%. Don’t wait until your skin feels dry – that tight, stretched feeling is the equivalent of your body feeling extremely thirsty when it’s dehydrated.

Creamy cleansers don’t strip natural oils
Gel or foam cleansers make your face feel squeaky clean but if your skin is already dry, they’ll strip away its natural oils. Save them for the summer or use on dirty skin (like after a heavy workout), and go for cream or milk-based cleansers instead. These are soft on your skin and the creamy texture also hydrates while cleansing your face from daily dirt.

Exfoliate away dead skin cells
Skin renews and shed every 10 days, so exfoliation is crucial in removing the dead skin that builds up because it acts as a barrier. How can anything you apply reach the deeper layers of your skin through that barrier? Exfoliate once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells.

Water, water, water!
Contrary to popular belief, applying richer cream on top of cream isn’t going to hydrate your skin. The only thing that will add moisture to your skin is a water-rich product. Water content in these products is higher and will penetrate deeper layers below the surface for all-round thirst quenching. Reach for a moisturising lotion like Neutrogena’s Hydraboost or Japanese favourites, a hydrating toner.

Hyaluronic acid is a secret weapon when humidity is high
If you’re living in a humid area like Hong Kong or Singapore, hyaluronic acid is a secret weapon for dehydrated skin. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that helps hydrate skin by drawing in moisture from the air, which means it’s less effective when used in low humidity. Look for it in hydrating lines of skin care products. I’m a big fan of Aquamoist’s hyaluronic acid toner; the texture feels thick after you pat dry but skin feels soft and hydrated all day long.

Lock in that water with an emollient
Once you’ve restored skin with boosts of water, lock the H2O into your cells with a thick emollient. Emollients (creams that are thicker than lotions) strengthen the skin’s protective barrier for better moisture retention. Reach for products that contain plant or mineral oils, lactic acid, ceramide, lanolin, shea butter and petrolatum. Apply this cream after your hydrating moisturiser to prevent water escaping from cells into dry air.

Give skin a boost of H2O right before bedtime.
Your skin goes into recovery mode from 10pm to 3am everyday and absorbs better at this time. A hydrating mask done just before going to bed will leave you with much softer and supple skin.

What other tips or products do you use? Tell me in the comments!

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One comment on “Beauty Dish | Emergency Hydration!

  1. Marielle Adriano March 7, 2011 10:45 am

    This was a great blog about how to keep your skin silky smooth when winter weather is high in humidity. I wish I read this blog during the start of winter. Thank goodness many of your tips are things my mother already told me about but the new information I learned was about how Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that helps hydrate skin by drawing in moisture from the air, which means it’s less effective when used in low humidity. Another tip I will keep a look out for will be emollient, which locks in water within your skin.

    I also appreciate your suggested products. Its very helpful to start to getting silky smooth skin.