Super Ingredients for Skin Moisture and Hydration

Victoria Moorhouse

Skin Hydration

The ingredients list—consider it the nutritional label of your beauty products. You can find out a ton by glancing at this long list of names and formulations, including what’s going to give your skin the extra hydration it needs. Come summer, after hours spent in a drying chlorine/water combo and out in the sun, it will definitely benefit from a regular treatment of moisturizer and obviously from keeping your body hydrated by drinking water in general. Don’t know what to look for? Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best moisturizer ingredients in skin care products (there’s a bunch, FYI), some of which you may already be lathering on after cleansing.

MORE: Is There Such a Thing as TOO Much Moisturizing?

Hyaluronic Acid
In cleansers, lotions, creams and more, hyaluronic acid is clearly a superstar. It’s all about maintaining a moisture balance in your skin, which may surprise you given its “acid” surname. So how does it work? Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means it pulls hydration from the environment—and reportedly even deeper in your skin—to the outer layers to plump things up and nourish. Essentially, it helps you hold onto to moisture before it escapes and is found naturally in your skin.

Snow Mushroom
This one we’re still learning more about, but a new collection from Olay (out in mid-July) has us considering it’s reported skin hydrating qualities. The line we’re speaking of in particular is formulated with snow mushroom extract, which is allegedly an ingredient that can hold 500 times its weight in water and locks it in, which makes us wonder if it behaves like an occlusive agent to our skin.

This is another humectant to know about (think drawing moisture in!) It’s found in a ton of moisturizers and will help retain moisture and plump up areas of dry skin, meaning it doesn’t just smooth out your skin at the surface. That being said, you’re not going to go to the drugstore and pick up a bottle of glycerin—it’ll most likely be included in a cocktail of other skin hydrating ingredients.

The Oils
Oils are huge right now, and for good reason. Some service as beneficial emollients that are very similar to your skin’s natural oil, sebum, absorbing into your skin quickly, softening the surface with providing moisture. Think jojoba oil and it’s placement in a wide variety of moisturizing products. Another plus of oils that many are plant-based and include other skin helping agents such as antioxidants, something that will help prevent free radicals from damaging the barrier of your skin that controls moisture, fatty acids, and vitamins. Some major ones are olive, avocado, coconut, and argan oil.

MORE: The A-Z Guide to Beauty Oils

These are lipid molecules found in the matrix of the outer most layer of your skin, which is reportedly linked to the skin’s barrier function—keeping things in and out! And because of that, ceramides have been said to help with the hydration balance of the skin. CeraVe, a well-known line of skin treatments, is based on replenishing your skin with ceramides that have been lost, thus leading to dry skin. Returning this molecule back into the skin will the help your epidermis protect against moisture loss in the future.