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Your ultimate guide to buying hydrating products at the drugstore


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Photo: Stocksy/Leandro Crespi

Ah summer. The season of sun, sand, surf, and (sadly) stressed-out skin. Hanging out on the beach may give you the glow you’ve been dreaming about since October, but by the end of the day those UV rays can also find a way to parch your skin and leave you feeling like a raisin. However, the easiest way to remedy that is properly hydrating from head-to-toe.

Thankfully, you don’t have to spend any of your summer vacation funds shelling out big bucks to get sufficient hydration this summer because there are plenty of cost-effective drugstore products to do the trick. “Hydrated skin simply looks better and functions better,” says David Lortscher, a board-certified dermatologist, CEO, and founder of Curology, who explains that the way hydrated, plump skin reflects light is actually what gives it that “glow”in the first place. “Dehydrated skin lacks water, and this can manifest as tight, dry, rough, or even peely skin, while inflammation, sensitivity and redness may develop if the dehydration is severe.”

And what’s more, dehydrated skin can even cause wrinkles and fine lines to creep to the surface more prominently. “Despite the increased exposure to moisture with humidity,  heat, sweat, and swimming during the summer, keeping the skin hydrated is still important,” says Tara Rao, MD, a New York City dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group.  “Dryness, while obvious, is an important consequence. Dryness makes the skin look dull and sallow. Those with acne and eczema, for example, can help keep their skin calm with good hydration.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean just dousing your skin with H2O. After all, if that was the case, then showers would be the ultimate way to hydrate (and they’re not BTW).

So what should you be looking for?  “Hydrating products are usually a mix of oil and water: There are creams, ointments, and nowadays mouses and foam,” explains Dr. Rao. “These products are able to attract water from deeper in the skin and the environment to hydrate the outer layer. Oils, while they soften the skin, are better at preventing water loss and softening the skin than they are at re-hydrating.” Dr. Lortscher suggests using a a light, gel-based moisturizer to get sufficient hydration without leaving behind a sticky film. Apply it after you shower to help “seal in” the moisture in your skin for best results. A star ingredient, called hyaluronic acid holds 1,000 times its weight in water, acting like a moisture magnet to hold water in skin. Not sure where to find these hydrators? We got you.

Keep scrolling for the products that you should keep in your hydrating rotation all summer long.

To keep you looking your best through labor day, try this apple cider vinegar hair mask for luscious locks. And get to know summer’s hottest new skincare ingredient, Australian Pink Clay, before it totally takes over your Instagram feed. 

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