Skin Hydration Mistakes You Might Be Making (& What To Do Instead)

In the skincare world, there is a ton of information regarding products, with tips coming from every direction. When focusing on skincare, the goal should be to keep your skin healthy and your moisture barrier sufficiently hydrated. It doesn't have to be complicated either — there are basic skincare products everyone should have in their beauty arsenal. However, people often unknowingly make mistakes that prevent their skin from getting the hydration it needs. This is important to remedy since your moisture barrier is often your body's first line of defense from free radicals and illness.


Your skin can become compromised if you don't take proper care of it. This may include using the wrong products or allowing your skin to dry due to weather changes, travel, or accidental harsh scrubbing during rushed washing. A compromised moisture barrier can damage collagen production, causing fine lines and wrinkles and dry, irritated skin. To ensure your body's force shield remains intact, avoid making these common skincare mistakes that strip your skin of hydration, and keep these tips in mind.

Inconsistency can benefit from accountability

Applying your skincare products inconsistently is a major mistake for maintaining healthy skin hydration, as is giving up on them entirely if you're not seeing quick results. Patience is key to sustaining hydrated skin, since results never appear overnight. Establishing a regular skincare application routine per instructed use is paramount to skincare success.


Sticking to your own routine can be particularly difficult if you're prone to inconsistency. Try establishing set times and setting alarms on your phone to hold yourself accountable, or join forces with friends for mutual accountability. Send your friends daily notifications at agreed-upon times; this can simultaneously help you with your own self-reminders. Perhaps practice skincare routines together while on audio or video calls, or conduct routines concurrently with a roommate or partner in person. Posting an accountability calendar in your bathroom can be a visual means for tracking skincare consistency. Etsy is a great place to find digital downloadable ones. Place stickers, draw lines or smiley faces, or mark off the days when you've conducted your skincare routine.


Though late is better than never, the sooner you prioritize and maintain proper skincare, the greater the benefits and realized results you'll see throughout your lifetime. If you have kids, teach them the importance of taking care of their skin. This can help you with your own skincare routine, so why not try executing your routine alongside theirs so everyone develops healthy skincare habits?

You lack the right products in your skincare regimen

The products you have in your skincare lineup are just as important as the act of taking care of your skin. Using incorrect products, or ones with ingredients that irritate your skin, can damage your skin, even exacerbating existing skin conditions such as acne. For example, you shouldn't use exfoliants if you have sensitive skin; if you have combination or oily skin, you shouldn't use them aggressively. Scrubbing too hard damages your skin and can cause wrinkles. This doesn't mean you shouldn't use exfoliants. You just need to know how to use them correctly.


Glycolic acid and ingredients such as retinol, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid all contain exfoliants. So, if these are in your skincare routine,  be certain you're using them as directed by your dermatologist or as your skin can handle them. Usually, these ingredients are recommended for use only a few times a week, not daily.

If you want to use something every day, focus your attention instead on products with moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and lipids. You can also incorporate products with antioxidants, which are amazing for protecting your moisture barrier from harmful free radicals and pollutants. 

You don't remove your makeup before bed

In addition to lacking the correct products in your routine or applying solutions inconsistently, another gaffe is over-applying the right products and letting them sit on your skin for extended timeframes. Washing your face morning and night, even if merely rinsing with water, can prevent leftover soap, shampoo, and face wash from sitting on your skin for prolonged periods and irritating areas of your face and body.


Going to bed without removing your makeup is something we're probably all guilty of doing at some point, but making a regular habit of it is a guaranteed way to harm your skin's moisture barrier and cause breakouts and excess oil. You may also find smears of makeup on your pillowcase. Mascara worn overnight can pull the moisture from eyelashes, causing brittle lashes prone to breaking, a more visible reaction of how your products risk stripping natural moisture across the skin. Set reminders to remove makeup each night before placing your head on your pillow, and regularly swap your pillowcase out with a fresh covering. 

Since cosmetics can be sticky and can absorb additional components including dirt and dead skin cells, letting them remain on your skin longer than recommended can compound dryness, irritation, and inflammation of the skin's epidermal top layers. Gentle exfoliation assists with removal of residue buildup and dead skin cells which lead to clogged pores. 


You're not consuming enough water

Lifestyle habits are often underrated, yet incredibly influential in protecting your skin's moisture barrier. Since your body needs water to survive and your skin's longevity of health is reliant on keeping its moisture barrier in top condition, keeping your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day is essential. Just as lacking water intake can cause dehydration — which can be accompanied by painful headaches and fatigue — recall that your skin is part of your body and, thus, is equally dependent on the water you consume. Remember that alcohol, caffeine, and smoking all lead to dehydration. To re-hydrate your body and skin, drink water alongside your morning cup of coffee.


Eating foods with high water content can help you stay hydrated throughout the day. Foods that naturally contain a lot of water include watermelon (of course!), berries, peaches, citrus fruits, cucumbers, lettuce, and celery, among other options. The more natural, whole foods you eat throughout the day, the more likely you are to consume the necessary water-based hydration your body needs. Processed foods and items high in saturated fat, sugar, and added synthetic ingredients are unlikely to contain sufficient water content and are not at all helpful in protecting your skin's moisture barrier the way that whole foods such as fruits and vegetables can. 

Flying can dry out your skin

As you make your next travel plans, remember to prioritize your skin. A common skin hydration mistake is going to new climates, elevations, or places with weather, including temperatures, which your skin — and your skincare routine — aren't accustomed to accommodating. The way you travel to new destinations is equally important to consider, especially if you'll be flying, since this can undoubtedly dry out your skin's moisture barrier. Since flying involves going to extreme elevations in a plane which recycles the airflow during a flight, moisturizing vapor is easily zapped from your skin. The loss of your skin's hydration can happen so stealthily you may not even notice the effects immediately.


The best way to keep your skin hydrated when flying is to keep travel-sized moisturizer on you in your carry-on luggage. Make certain you're applying moisturizer from head-to-toe before and after your flight or while you're up in the air if you begin to feel the effects of dryness. Be aware of the outdoor temperature, weather forecast, and relative humidity of your travel destination so you can pack your skincare kit accordingly. Regardless of where you go, sunscreen and moisturizer are two items you should never leave at home.

Harsh cleansers and hot water negatively affect the skin

Hot showers may be relaxing, but exposing your skin to running water at higher temperatures risks adverse effects on your skin. When your skin is exposed to hot water from a shower, bath, or hot tub, the hydration-encapsulating oils in your skin are removed from the skin's top layers, pulling water from the moisture barrier beneath and resulting in irritated, red, dry, and potentially cracking skin. Ultimately, experiencing skin damage through this cycle can accumulate, and the reduction of moisture in your skin can move further through the layers. Furthermore, hot water exposure can worsen existing skin conditions including eczema and rosacea. 


Be kind to your skin by turning the shower water temperature down to a warm compromise for the duration of your shower, or just let the hot water relax you for a few short minutes before you transition to a cooler water temperature setting for the remainder of your shower. Choose your shower products intentionally, avoiding harsh ingredients for all products applied to your skin, including body cleansers, shampoo, and conditioners which can run down your skin when used on your hair.  Over-exfoliating, intense scrubbing, and irritation-inducing body washes frequently top the list of mistakes harming your skin's moisture barrier, so whichever cleansers you select, be gentle when using them on your skin.


You're only focusing on face-based skincare

An extremely common mistake often made regarding maintaining your skin's moisture is solely focusing on the face and neck, since most skincare products target those areas. Moisturizing your face gives you a bright glow and soft skin, but your skin will lack necessary moisture from the shoulders down. Instead, make a ritual of moisturizing your skin from the top of your scalp down, beginning with moisturizing hair products and hair masks and going all the way down to applying foot cream to your heels and soles. You can use just a few products for your entire body, or you may prefer to seek out products specific for each type of skin and relevant exposure of areas to moisture-stripping elements. For instance, hand creams tend to be thicker and can help replenish hydration to hands after repeated washing.


When hydrating your body's skin, body butters, creams, and lotions with ceramides are exceptional picks, as are solutions with glycolic and hyaluronic acid, while products with collagen-boosting elements can reduce crepey skin on elbows and knees. Don't forget your lips, either. It's easy to forget that your skin extends to the opening of your mouth, but your lips have their own moisture barrier requiring proper protection to avoid long-term damage and  short-term effects such as dry, chapped lips.