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Why Topical Hydration is Essential

By Sara Spruch Feiner

For all the time society spends imploring you to drink more water (and, we’re not saying you shouldn’t,) you might think it’s powerful enough to provide inner hydration to the body and outer hydration to the skin. But the fact is your skin needs external sources of hydration too—especially during the colder temps and drier air we get in winter. 

To keep your skin in its best health, we spoke to Dr. Morgan Rabach, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of LM Medical about just why topical skincare products are so important. When you drink water, Dr. Rabach explains, “It goes into your bloodstream, and then gets filtered by your kidneys, and ultimately helps provide some hydration to your skin cells.” But this is a slow process with a low yield. “Topical skin hydration is faster and more direct,” she explains, noting that there are different ways to deliver hydration to the skin.

Dryness and dehydration, it’s important to note, are two separate things, and prevention of each is achieved in different ways. 

Take tried and true ingredient, hyaluronic acid, found in several Youth To The People products including the Superfood Firm + Brighten Serum, and the Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist. It’s a hydrator, or a humectant, which is especially important for dehydrated skin, which is skin that is lacking water. Humectants like hyaluronic acid work by drawing water from the environment to the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). These help plump skin and can even help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Occlusives work totally differently. They sit on the skin’s surface, keeping everything you’ve applied (like humectants) locked in. These are conditioning and moisturizing, and prevent transepidermal water loss. These are rich, like the jojoba oil found in the Superberry Hydrate + Glow Oil and the Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream. Dry skin especially benefits from occlusives because dry skin is lacking oil, so these products are the perfect finishing steps in a skincare routine—they seal everything in.

Humectants and occlusives work best in tandem, which is why a great skincare routine will combine serums, oils, and creams, so make sure to use these, even if you’re drinking your eight glasses of water per day!

Written by Sara Spruch Feiner for Youth To The People