5 tested tips and tricks to hydrate your dry skin condition

Tips to hydrate skin
While I don’t have dry skin, I do know how it feels to have one. At one stage, my cheeks were so dry and tight, I felt like they’d cracked when I smiled. It was awful. So when a reader by the name of Ann wrote in a comment recently that she is faced with increasingly dry skin and no face cream or moisturizer seems to help, I could empathize with her pain. But the question I found myself asking: is her issue a case of dry skin or dehyrated skin?

Dry skin is a skin type with low levels of sebum and the solution is less obvious because it would involve a more detailed analysis of the causes. Dehydrated skin on the other hand is more of a skin condition and it just means the skin is unable to retain moisture in the epidermis. In this case, the solution might be easier and what I’m about to share might ease the dryness somewhat. Well, at least it did for mine.

You see, I used to have a more pronounced combination skin where my cheeks were drier than the rest of the face. I thought I needed to moisturize more but even after using rather rich moisturizers, the area remained dry. So after delving into some skin care literature, I realized that both my oily t-zone and my dry cheeks were a sign that my skin was not hydrated enough. What I needed was to replenish moisture to my skin by hydrating my skin cells and prevent further water evaporation.

So after doing those research and reading, I set out to rehydrate my skin based on the following tips:

1. Limit diuretic fruits and beverages
I like the idea of hydrating from inside out by drinking sufficient water daily but I’m not going to preach that all over to you. Instead, I’ll share how I’d discovered limiting diuretic drinks like tea and fruits like watermelon actually prevented my skin from getting dehydrated. It’s logical if you think about it: diuretic drinks and foods cause you to lose more water when you have to pee more. So right now for me, it’s just one cup of tea for me in the morning if I want to prevent my skin from drying out.

2. Avoid hot water during cleansing
I’ve tried the oil cleansing method and while I can see its wonders, I’m also leery about the hot water effect on the skin. Seriously, hot water should be used with much caution because it can dry out your skin. The problem can be further compounded when you combine hot water with SLS/SLES/ALS cleansers. Best bet? Use lukewarm or cold water to wash your face and always go for a cleanser free of harsh detergents.

3. Apply moisturizer while the skin is damp
If you interview me about my skincare routine, I’ll definitely tell you the most important step in my routine is to apply moisturizer when my skin is still moist. You might like to know that applying moisturizer to a damp face helps to lock in the water from the upper layers of the skin, and prevents evaporation. So applying moisturizer immediately after using a toner will help seal the hydrating benefits from the toner deep into the skin. I’m also a firm advocate of using your hands to gently pat in the toner.

4. Use moisturizer over hydrating products
If your skin is very dry, I’ll recommend you to use two products, such as a hydrating lotion or hydrating serum followed by a richer moisturizer. The reason is because moisturizing aims to form a barrier film on the skin’s surface to prevent moisture loss. On the other hand, the upper layers on the epidermis needs a supply of water to make sure they are kept plump and smooth. Hence, hydrating facial products are designed for this purpose to increase the water content of the skin. You may also notice that many hydrating lotions already double up as toners.

While some may argue that whatever difference is marketing, not all moisturizers are hydrating based on my experience. Some are oil based with occlusive agents so these still do not hydrate much. If you dislike the idea of using two different products, then pick a water-based moisturizing lotion. Many moisturizers these days are designed to be water-based, containing mostly water-binding ingredients such as hyaluronic acid with some oil.

5. Use a hydrating mask before bedtime
Obviously dehyrated skin needs specific treatments and one of which is to use a hydrating mask once or twice a week. Since our skin is drier in the night because trans-epidermal water loss (or TEWL) is significantly increased during the night, it makes sense to hydrate just before bedtime.

Hydrating tips can help oily skin too
There are some other tips like using a humidifier if you sleep in an air-conditioned room but I’m not sharing those because they did not apply to me. However, if you have a rehydrating tip that is not mentioned here, please leave your recommendation in the comments! In addition, these tips I’d share can work for people with an oily skin condition that may be a result of dehydration really—your skin could be too dehydrated causing it to secrete more oil. Try hydrating more and over time, you may find oiliness less of a problem.


  1. swati says:

    hey sesame. glad to see skin care articles by you ? yup, moisturizing on damp skin works best for me and second comes applying aloevera gel before the mositurizer. it always hydrates my skin!!
    swati last post is: Do you warm up the oil before applying? {Hair Care}

  2. Francine says:

    Great article!

  3. Alexandra says:

    Hi Sesame! Last month or so, I experienced very dehydrated skin ( subsequently to mild rash and peeling) due to my bouts of flu and fever.( At normal times, my skin is more oily at T-zone and dry at cheeks.) I’ve tried hydrating mask and oils but it didn’t really help much with the problem. I decided to visit my TCM practitioner for general healing and changed my diet drastically to eating healthily like warm soups, beverages, warm cooked meals and avoiding coffee, spicy or fried foods. Very surprisingly, I started to see visible results on my skin in a weeks time. My skin looks and feel healthy, plumped up and the dryness I feel on my skin overall was gone. I must say that maybe the tonics prescribed may help a little but I must also note that healthy eating contributes the most to my skin. I was also advised to drink barley water at least 1-2 a week and even though it is a diuretic beverage, I find it really helps my skin. I agree with point 5, using a good hydrating sheet mask helps to amp up the hydration level even more. My main point is though topical application may help at some point, I believe taking care internally would bring far better results than any other serums and potions.

  4. Francesca says:

    Glad to see a skin article made by you, it’s really inspiring!

  5. Sesame says:

    Aloe Vera gel appears to work for many people. I like it in a formulation but not neat. I find it tightens my skin too much.

  6. Sesame says:

    Glad you think so.

  7. Sesame says:

    The tips I’d shared were for dehydrated skin or (dry skin condition that affects the epidermis) but it’s not the same as dry skin which I mentioned is a skin type. What you’d described sounds more like you had dry skin which can arise out of a host of other reasons–most probably internal. In this case, these tips most probably won’t work so well. It also sounds like you had a heaty condition based on what the TCM practitioner recommended?

  8. Sesame says:

    Thank you.

  9. Alexandra says:

    Mine is definitely dehydrated as my dry/peeling area are only at small areas, particularly the nasalabial area while the the rest of the areas are dehydrated. Because of flu, my condition was heaty but if one have phlegm/mucus, it’s damp or damp heat. Like I said, fixing what’s internally will somehow show on the outside, particularly the skin.

  10. Ktee says:

    I find that using hydrating mask helps a lot. I have been doing that most nights for a month and I definitely see and feel the difference. I also notice that breakouts seem to heal better.

  11. Carla says:

    Nice one, Sesame ? I wish I read this article last year. My skin was always seriously oily that everything I put on my face would be faded away in seconds. I thought it would be always like that ’till I experienced harsh winter in Japan last year. My skin became totally dry and I got severe breakout ever. My biggest help was 92% Aloe Gel from Nature Republic (I searched for online help at that time). It healed quite fast and not sticky as well. I kept using it ’till it was taken by airport security check staff last August (even it was only a little left!) and haven’t bought it anymore, for I thought my skin would not be dry in my tropical home country, Indonesia.
    Surprisingly, until now my skin has been becoming neither oily and dry. I can say it’s normal. I really wonder why..hahaha.. Is it because I’ve experienced super dryness before?

  12. Sesame says:

    Yes, definitely agree that eating well and managing our bodies will help. In fact, it is the best strategy. But I suppose there is a degree of severity in terms of dehydration too and some can also be fixed using of the tips here. Well at least it did for me without having to change much of what I ate.

  13. Sesame says:

    Yes, hydrating our skin well can help to control acne breakout if it’s due to an imbalance in oil production. Glad it’s getting better for you!

  14. Sesame says:

    Wow, it’s so great to have your skin back to normal right? I suppose weather did help but I’m sure what you did for your skin prior to that assisted the healing process too. I don’t really like to apply Aloe Vera gel neat unless it’s mixed with something but I have to say that this ingredient came up a lot in many reader’s positive experience.

  15. Lancy says:

    I never use hot water to cleanse my skin. Great tips for dry skinned beauties! ?
    Lancy last post is: How I Reduced 90% of My Hair Fall in One Month? – Arpita Sharma’s Hair Story

  16. Sesame says:

    Hot water is subscribed in the oil cleansing method and I find it can cause damages in the long run.

  17. Kel says:

    Hi I have combination and sensitive skin. Any recommended hydrating face mask, moisturizer? I usually get stuff fm iherb.

  18. 銀座のレーザー脱毛 says:

    私が 推薦する 銀座のレーザー脱毛はこちらとなります。

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