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Why Skin Flooding Is The Ultimate Hydration Hack To Streamline Your Moisturizing Regimen

Skin flooding is more than just a fancy way of saying you're applying moisturizing products. Learn more about this new beauty trend, how to do it like a pro, and whether or not you're a good candidate for it.

I know what you’re thinking: first slugging, then cycling, and now skin flooding? It appears there’s a new TikTok-inspired beauty trend rising in the skincare scene every other day, and people seem not to get enough of them. Among these, flooding is the latest technique to make waves which is all about saturating the skin with intense moisture.

To be honest, we’re not usually quick to jump on the bandwagon of TikTok trends. As a matter of fact, we’re always encouraging everyone to be extra cautious and not rush into anything without proper research.

However, we have to admit that skin flooding is a trend that we can fully approve of. The truth is that this concept has been a part of the skincare world for a long time, and dermatologists (as well as us) have been recommending it for years. And get this, unlike other trends that can be downright scary, this is one of the safest on the skin. It’s also fairly affordable to do and everyone can benefit from it.

What is skin flooding?

Skin flooding is a technique that involves applying moisturizing products in a particular order to ensure that the skin receives maximum hydration and seals it in for long-lasting moisture. Most of the time, skin flooding is done with a serum that contains hyaluronic acid and other humectants, followed by an emollient cream or ointment. Even though the trend might be new, layering moisturizing products is definitely not.

Dr. Josh Zeichner says, “flooding is just a fancy way of saying that you’re applying a hyaluronic acid serum to the skin followed by a moisturizer, and this is actually something that dermatologists have been telling patients for years. Hyaluronic acid acts like a sponge. It pulls in hydration to the outer skin layer, but it’s not great at keeping it there. That’s why you need to apply a moisturizer on top of it that has emollient or occlusive ingredients to help keep it in place.”

hyaluronic acid serum is great for attracting water into the skin and increasing hydration. However, if you apply it without topping it with a moisturizer, you may be selling yourself short. That’s because the hydration pulled by the serum will simply evaporate into the air, which will be a waste of your hyaluronic acid’s hard work. Even worse, in a dry climate or winter, it can force the skin to pull water from its deeper layers, which can lead to dehydration. That’s why you need to follow up with occlusives and emollients. They help by covering your skin’s surface with a protective film to seal the water and prevent it from evaporating.

What are the benefits of skin flooding, and is it for everyone? 

This technique is a real saver for dry, chapped, and tight skin and an absolute ace during winter months. Because the products are applied in the ideal order, it delivers intense hydration that lasts throughout the day and makes the complexion appear moist and plump. It’s also a good chance you’ll notice a more radiant appearance and less noticeable fine lines after flooding your skin—TikTokers attest to it.

You can bet on it this trend especially if you spend a lot of time indoors. The effects of heating tools and air conditioning systems can be harsh on your complexion and leave it parched. But by flooding your skin with moisture, you give it the much-needed hydration to quench its thirst.

However, don’t rush out to flood your skin because it’s not for everyone. Those with very oily skin prone to pimples may particularly find that the technique exacerbates their condition since it involves applying a thick layer of occlusives that can feel greasy and potentially clog the pores. But this can be avoided by using non-comedogenic products.

What are the downsides of skin flooding?

The downsides of skin flooding are relatively minimal and may include temporary redness or irritation, particularly if you have sensitive skin. You can reduce the adverse effects by using gentle products without alcohol and fragrances, as these are the most common ingredients that can bother the skin. Doing this technique too aggressively and with the wrong products may also trigger breakouts and clog the pores in acne-prone skin.

Remember that too much of a good thing can be harmful to your skin, even if it’s about hydrating products. By moisturizing too much, you may be overtaxing your skin, which won’t bring you any benefit.

How to do skin flooding

How to do it like a pro

It’s important to have your face cleansed and still damp before applying the moisturizing products—damp skin enhances the penetration and efficacy of the hydrating ingredients from your serum and cream.

So start with washing your face with a gentle cleanser. Next, apply a hydrating serum with humectants such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and polyglutamic acid while your skin is still wet. They will help to draw the moisture in. Finish with a thick layer of a cream or ointment that contains occlusives and emollients like petrolatum, squalane, and shea butter to lock the moisture into the skin.

We suggest doing it only in your nighttime routine since flooding your skin during the day could leave you feeling sticky and weighed down from all the hydrating ingredients. Plus, by doing it at night, you support your skin’s natural repair process and give it a boost of hydration to work with. And don’t feel like you need to do it every day—once or twice a week will do.

Moreover, you can add an extra serum in-between to get the most out of this technique. Skin flooding actually makes a good primer for other products, like a serum with vitamin C, peptide, or niacinamide, by increasing skin absorption. In layman’s terms, what you apply between hyaluronic acid and moisturizer will work better.

The verdict

We approve of skin flooding. Using a combination of humectants and occlusives is not actually a new concept, and it’s something that has been practiced in skincare for a long time.

Who wrote this?
Picture of Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu is the founder of Women's Concepts and a certified skincare consultant. She has over five years of experience working in the beauty editorial industry and over a decade as an acne sufferer. With a background in dermatological research, Ana brings a wealth of expertise to a diverse range of topics, from buzzy ingredients to anti-aging and acne advice. She holds a BA in Sociology and Political Sciences. Find her on LinkedIn or Instagram.
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