The Best Hydrating Ingredients for Your Skin

Hydrating Skincare Ingredients

No matter how many times you change your routine or the products you use, one step remains constant: hydration. Hydrated skin equals supple, bouncy skin. It also equals healthy, glowing skin. That’s why we all need hydrating skincare ingredients regardless of our skin type. If your skin could use a hydration boost, keep reading to learn about the most hydrating ingredients you can use for your skin.

First things first. Hydration equals water. For an ingredient to hydrate your skin, it needs to provide water to the skin. But there’s a thin line between hydration and moisture, which is why hydrating is sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably with moisturizing.

Below are the best ingredients that will replenish thirsty skin and boost hydration. Look for these ingredients in your cleansers, toners, serums, and moisturizers.

Hydrating Skincare Ingredients

1. Glycerin/Glycerol

Glycerin is a humectant and one of the most hydrating ingredients used in skincare. Humectant is an umbrella term used for compounds that attract and bind water to the skin.

As a humectant, glycerin has an amazing water-binding capacity, giving your complexion an instantly plump feel. It’s derived from plants and can be found in several skincare products.

So there’s no need to go out of your way to find a glycerin product to collect the benefits. It’s usually right on top of your ingredient list. When you see that, know that it’s there to hydrate.

2. Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a sugar molecule that also works as a humectant. It has an instant plumping effect on the skin, which temporarily reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It’s also why it’s the best hydrating ingredient for aging skin.

Hyaluronic acid is gentle and suitable for all skin types, including oily and sensitive. So you can use it to hydrate your skin no matter your skin type.

Look for hyaluronic acid in all your skincare products especially if you have dehydrated skin. Try hyaluronic acid moisturizers to hydrate and moisturize your skin. And try hyaluronic acid serums when you want to boost hydration.

Go for products with different molecular weights or cross-linked hyaluronic acid. This is for making hyaluronic acid more penetrative so that you get the best results.

3. Lactic Acid/Sodium Lactate

You might be more familiar with lactic acid in the context of chemical exfoliants. Lactic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid that exfoliates the top layer of the skin and removes the dead skin cells from the surface.

But among all alpha-hydroxy acids, lactic acid has a unique ability to work as a humectant as well. That’s why it’s the perfect hydrating ingredient for people with dry, dehydrated skin which tends to look dull and flaky.

To get the most out of its hydrating abilities, use lactic acid serums in low concentrations. That way, you exfoliate very gently but also rehydrate your skin. You can also consider using a lactic acid cleanser for gentle, non-drying exfoliation.

4. PCA

Short for pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, PCA is among your skin’s natural moisturizing factors (NMF). It can also show up on your products as sodium PCA.

Unlike hyaluronic acid, which can be found in a skincare product alone, you barely come across sodium PCA as a standalone serum or cream.

But the more the humectants, the merrier. That’s why most hydrating serums combine hyaluronic acid with other humectants like sodium PCA.

5. Urea

A naturally occurring compound, urea is also a humectant found in moisturizers. It’s been widely used to treat dry, flaky skin. But urea is not just a humectant; it’s also an exfoliant.

For it to hydrate, it needs to be in low concentrations. But no worries. In moisturizers, urea is formulated accordingly so that it hydrates and does not impart other effects.

6. Honey

Honey is widely used in DIY face masks and lip masks. And there’s a good reason for that. Honey is incredibly rich in vitamins, amino acids, sugars, and minerals. It’s anti-bacterial, nourishing, hydrating, and softening for the skin.

Some of the amino acids found in honey are also found in the skin’s NMF. That’s why it’s hydrating for the skin. Also, the sugars found in honey work as humectants by binding water to the skin.

7. Polyglutamic Acid

And speaking of amino acids, polyglutamic acid is another hydrating skincare ingredient that works very well for all skin types.

It’s because polyglutamic acid is a combination of a recurring amino acid, namely glutamic acid. It’s a humectant so it attracts water to the skin. But it also helps the skin retain that water.

Because of its structure, it creates a very thin layer on the skin to prevent water loss. So it works double duty to replenish the skin. That’s why products with polyglutamic acid are majorly hydrating and also moisturizing.

8. Panthenol

Also called pro-vitamin B5, panthenol is another common humectant found in hydrating skincare products. When used topically, panthenol converts to the active form of vitamin B5, which is pantothenic acid.

What sets it apart from other humectants is its ability to calm and soothe the skin. That’s why panthenol is majorly formulated in soothing products or barrier-repairing products.

It’s the ideal hydrating ingredient for people with dry, sensitive skin. It’s also the best ingredient to use when you’ve over-exfoliated or dealing with rosacea flare-ups.

So these are the most hydrating ingredients you can use for your skin. As you can see, most of these hydrating ingredients are naturally occurring. So essentially, skincare products that aim to mimic your skin’s natural moisturizing factors make the best hydrators for the skin.

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