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Editor's note: An earlier version of this article stated the first product, Rodan + Fields Soothe Moisturizing Rescue Cream, was recommended by Dr. Rita Linkner, which was incorrect. It has now been replaced with the correct product, Rodan + Fields Soothe Sensitive Skin Treatment.
When you hear the word "hydration," what do you think of? For me, it's water. I know water nourishes my body and helps hydrate my skin to keep me mostly acne-free (seriously, one sip of soda and there goes a pimple), but skin needs more than just water to be properly quenched.
With so many products on the market touting hydrating effects, choosing the right ones for you can be tricky. An easy place to start is checking out the ingredients. "Hydration is about bringing moisture to the skin, so some ingredients that are useful for this include humectants — which help to draw moisture in — including hyaluronic acid (which can hold 1,000 times its weight in water) and glycerin," said New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick. She also recommends using AHAs like lactic acid and glycolic acid, which both have humectant properties, as well.
Experts agree that regular use of hydrating products leave the skin looking and feeling healthy, nourished and plumper in the long term. "As someone who has been examining faces for almost 20 years, I can tell you the benefits to someone who takes care of their skin with hydrating products vs. someone who does not is night and day!" Greenwich, Connecticut-based esthetician Nicole Caroline told Shop TODAY.
Dr. Rita Linkner of New York City's Spring Street Dermatology agrees with Caroline about hydrated skin. "Dry skin attracts inflammatory cells, which create redness and itchiness. So keeping your skin properly hydrated every day is a great way to keep it youthful," she said.
Here are some of the best hydrating products on the market, according to experts.
Expert-recommended hydrating skin care products
"[This] is a great moisturizer with active [ingredients] like the emollient dimethicone and allantoin, which has great wound healing powers, [and] together provide a very calming effect," Linkner said. This treatment touts several benefits like relieving redness and protecting skin from the drying effects of wind and cold weather.
"This face moisturizer contains hyaluronic acid and mineral-rich Vichy Volcanic Water to simultaneously help boost hydration and support the skin barrier, leaving the skin looking smoother and plumper," said Garshick. "It is easy to use and can be used on its own or followed by a thicker moisturizing cream. It is oil-free so [it] won’t clog the pores and can be used by all skin types."
Caroline recommends this moisturizer that is infused with sodium hyaluronate to help tackle fine lines and wrinkles. "My skin has never looked or felt better," wrote one Dermstore reviewer.
"This lightweight hydrating cream absorbs easily without leaving the skin feeling greasy and contains a combination of glycerin (a great humectant), pro-vitamin B5, vitamin E and borage seed oil to help boost hydration and leave the skin feeling moisturized for up to 12 hours," Garshick said.
This cruelty-free recommendation from Caroline has over 1,300 reviews on Sephora and boasts a 4.7-star average rating. "[It's the] best serum I’ve ever used," one reviewer raved. "I have cystic rosacea and large pores. It has calmed my rosacea to almost nothing after about three weeks [of] use."
"This classic hydrating serum combines vitamin B5 with hyaluronic acid to provide extra hydration and replenish lost moisture," Garshick told us. "While it can be used with or without a moisturizer, I find it enhances the benefits of a daily moisturizer and generally recommend using it prior to applying your moisturizing cream. It is oil-free so [it] can be used by those with acne-prone skin and leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth."
Caroline recommends this hyaluronic serums to boost hydration. It comes in sets of two 10ml or 30ml ampoules. They contain low- and medium-molecular weight hyaluronic acid to help improve the appearance of fine lines while improving the appearance of tired-looking skin.
"This silky, lightweight serum contains a mix of five molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, helping to attract moisture at different layers of the skin, improving the overall appearance of the skin and leaving the skin looking plump and refreshed. The berry-like scent is also perfect for getting a summertime hydrating boost," said Garshick.
"The low molecular weight of hyaluronic acid allows the serum to penetrate beneath the skin's surface resulting in boosted hydration and a dewy glow," Garshick said. You can use this serum one to two times a day and it can also be followed by a moisturizing cream.
"For those who prefer a mask option to help boost hydration, this mask will leave the skin feeling soft and smooth when it is rinsed off the next morning, as it contains glycerin in conjunction with ceramides and peptides to also help support the skin barrier and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles," said Garshick.
For more stories like this, check out:
- 7 skin care products you should be using, no matter your age
- What every skin care routine should have, no matter your skin type
- Face toner can boost your complexion — here's 10 options for every skin type
- 14 best anti-aging wrinkle creams, serums and more