Stories from Winter Skin Care

Derms Say “Moisturizer Layering” Is the Fastest Way to Hydrate Skin That’s Dry All the Time

Zoe Weiner

Zoe WeinerDecember 27, 2019

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Photo: Getty/Lisette Poole

Using a moisturizer is the most important step in any dry skin routine. It delivers hydration, seals important natural oils into the skin, and strengthens the barrier so that it can better defend itself from the (harsh! cold!) environment. But every once in a while, particularly when the weather gets extra cold and dry, your regular cream just won’t cut it on its own. In those cases, says board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, you’re going to want to double down.

“Just like you think about layering your clothes, you’re going to want to think about layering your moisturizer,” she says. To start, you’re going to want to look for products that have wide-ranging ingredients, like squalane, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides that can benefit skin in different, yet complementary ways.  If you’re finding skin to be particularly dry, make certain that whatever moisturizer you’re reaching for is a heavy cream versus a lighter lotion.

To enhance the moisture in your skin even more, derms suggest “moisturizer layering” aka using a moisturizing ingredient in every skin-care step you complete. Start with a serum, then slather on a moisturizer, and finish with a facial oil as the final step in your routine. Topping everything off with an occlusive oil helps to seal all of that hydration in, and prevents any H2O from evaporating back into the environment. While in most cases, using too many products on your skin may not be the best idea, in the case of hydration for those with the driest skin types, the “more-is-more” method is the best. Double down on the products below, and check out this video for more intel on how to keep skin happy:

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum, $17

As far as hydrating drugstore serums go, this stuff is the best of the best—it’s no wonder a bottle of it sells every minute in the United States. Your skin will slurp it right up, and it doesn’t leave any sort of sticky residue behind. Because hyaluronic acid is a moisture magnet, it binds to the water within skin to keep it there.

how to hydrate skin fast

Avéne Skin Recovery Cream, $35

Packed with squalane and glycerin, this evening moisturizer is a great to layer on morning and at night. It’s ultra-gentle and great for calming redness (and even rosacea), and also has amino acids that will help keep your skin barrier strong.

how to hydrate skin fast
Photo: Avene

No7 Instant Results Nourishing Hydration Face Mask, $15

Thanks to its skin-similar lipids—which are critical in keeping the skin barrier strong—this mask both delivers and locks in moisture. It’s a great option to use at night to add a little extra boost of hydration.

dermatologist drugstore skincare routine

Farmacy Honey Grail Ultra-Hydrating Face Oil, $48

For the final step in your routine, add this hydrating—but non-comedogenic—oil into the mix. It’s made with natural ingredients like buckwheat honey and sea buckthorn oil, which are packed with antioxidants and omega fatty acids to deliver moisture and support skin against free-radical damage. Plus, thanks to its five-flower oil blend, it will leave your face smelling like springtime even in the darkest days of winter.

how to hydrate skin fast
Photo: Farmacy

These are the biggest mistakes derms see people making with their dry skin, plus the post-shower mistake that might be behind all that dehydration.

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