Your Complete Guide to Restoring Moisture Back Into Your Skin

Take a multi-pronged approach if you're experiencing excess dryness.

We often talking about stopping moisture from escaping our skin—preventative measures, if you will—but how do you restore hydration after it's already been sapped? This happens frequently during the colder months of the year. With that in mind, we chatted with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Scott Paviol for the best ways to reverse moisture loss. The ultimate course of action? Think beyond a supercharged skin care routine and take a multi-pronged approach. Keep reading to discover several methods that restore hydration, stat.

Switch up your skin care products.

Your skin care routine might be hurting more than it is helping; products with a high alcohol content, for example, might be stripping your complexion of the precious oils it creates. According to Dr. Paviol, these types of formulas can leave you feeling dry. So, if your top priority is replenishing moisture, your first order of business should be discarding problematic products. "Chances are, if your skin is feeling dry and tight after washing, you likely need to change your cleanser during the winter months," Dr. Paviol says. "Switching out your foaming wash to a cleansing oil will help avoid stripping away natural oils."

Opt for warm (not hot) showers.

Yes, long, hot showers might feel heavenly on a cold day, but they're incredibly dehydrating. "When you induce warm temperatures via hot showers, it sends a signal to your skin to sweat to cool down, and you lose hydration status," Dr. Paviol explains. "I recommend less hot, shorter showers. It will help your skin tremendously, and you get the added benefit of saving on your heating and water bills!"

Woman applying moisturiser on face during morning routine
Ridofranz / Getty Images

Add a humidifier to your home.

Whether you live in a dry climate or have high artificial heat pumping through your home or office, a humidifier—we like Canopy's model ($150,—is a must. "A humidifier can increase the amount of moisture in your environment," our expert explains. "When temperatures are cold, the air holds less moisture—therefore your skin has less water available from the environment." Setting your home humidifier at 60 percent can largely improve your dermis' hydration levels. "Or, you could always move to a tropical environment that stays humid year round," he jokes.

Tailor your diet to your moisture goal.

According to Dr. Paviol, there's some truth behind the phrase, "You are what you eat." "Diet definitely plays a role in skin hydration and health," he says. "Foods with higher water contents, such as fruits and veggies, can help the body store water." Additionally, he notes that foods high in omega-3s can also beef up your protective barrier.

Drink plenty of water.

In addition to being more mindful about your diet, Dr. Paviol says to pay close attention to your water consumption, too. "Your body is made up of 70-percent water," he reminds us, adding that overnight, you lose about one glass of water just by breathing. "It's important to hydrate as soon as you wake up and throughout the day. Fill your skin's gas tank up so it can fully function."

Protect your face in cold temperatures.

A cold, windy environment is a tremendous stressor to the dermis. "You need to prepare your skin for adverse conditions by wearing appropriate skin coverage and thicker moisturizers, since the environment (sun, wind, and cold temperatures) is working to break down your barrier," he explains. So, while it may be more of a prevention measure, Dr. Paviol says to always bundle up when it's cold or gusty outside—your skin will thank you.

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