The human body is roughly 60% water.

Water is needed by all the organs in the body, and contributes to overall health. To little water, (or liquids consumed) will contribute to dehydration.

It seems drinking more water would be a fast and easy fix for dry skin.

However, drinking more water, does not directly increase skins moisture level enough to create a noticeable moisturization benefit in most cases.

Experts agree, water consumption amounts tend to have a  limited use in improving overall skin water retention. One recent study (49 volunteers) did show drinking about a gallon (128 oz) of water daily, would provide some improvement in skin water retention.

But this is a very small study group, and many other factors contributed to the overall result. For reference, 1 gallon is 16 – 8 oz glasses of water consumed daily.

This is much higher fluid amounts then the commonly quoted ideal of 8 glasses of water daily (which is not really the “correct” amount for everyone ether, but that’s a different article) So though it may help some, it would be difficult for many to match this range.

Though adequate water consumption is recommended for overall health, this is not normally the fastest fix for dry skin woes.

Dry skin is primarily an external problem, as such, treatment from the outside is the most effective “fix”.  It occurs when the skin can no longer hold water, (or moisture) and it evaporates faster than the body can replenish it.

Though adequate water consumption is recommended for overall health, this is not normally the fastest fix for dry skin woes.

Dry skin is primarily an external problem, as such, treatment from the outside is the most effective “fix”.  It occurs when the skin can no longer hold water, (or moisture) and it evaporates faster than the body can replenish it.

Water does not go straight to the skin when consumed, it must first go through internal organs and the digestive system, and is then absorbed through the body circulatory system. This eventually will carry water to the cells within the entire body. But this takes time, and is not a direct, or fast, path.

Genetics, skin health, UV exposure, environment, humidity levels, skin care products, medications, diet, overall body health, your oil glands and so forth, are the main contributors to skin moisture levels.

Anything that causes water loss from the skin, or reduces skin barrier function (the top skin surface protective layer, which protects the skin from germs and irritants) will lead to dryer skin, that cannot hold and maintain water as it should.  Dry skin generally always has a damaged skin barrier.

Which Moisturizer is the best?

You can use any number of well formulated moisturizing products, of choice, to moisturize the skin: lotions, creams, oils, ointments. All will work well. Match the product type to your comfort level, and desired results, in terms of thickness and feel. Well formulated products, in terms of recommended ingredients, will provide additional benefits, such as skin healing, repair, and overall skin health improvements.

A well formulated moisturizer, used regularly (twice daily if needed) will do more to heal and maintain skin hydration than a gallon of water drank daily.



Thicker products such as ointments will do a better job of sealing water into the skin then a thin light weight lotion. But they can be uncomfortable over the entire body. They do work well for hands and feet, especially if you apply gloves or socks after application, for 30 minutes or so, until absorbed.

An example would be Vaseline Petroleum jelly. This should not be used just before self tan application. Ointments are occlusive, and though they do well to prevent water loss, they can also prevent tanning solution penetration. Ointments contain cosmetic grade Petroleum, which is an excellent, and safe product, for normal skin use, to help hold water into the skin. (despite inaccurate and unfounded, internet scare stories)


A cream or butter will seal water into the skin  better than a thinner lotion. Some can coat the skin very heavily, and effect the way your self tan penetrates, so exfoliate skin well before your spray session. Multi-ingredient butters and creams will be more beneficial overall for skin health and improvement, rather than sticking with a single ingredient based cream or butter. ( Coconut Butter only, or Shea Butter only, for example – I will address this in more detail in a future article)


Oils, can be very beneficial for skin health and moisturization. But results would depend on the type, thickness, and how fast they evaporate from and penetrate into the skin. Each oil has different attributes.  As with butters, a multi-oil blend is more beneficial to overall health and improvement then single ingredients oils  (Olive oil only, Jojoba oil only etc)

Tampa Bay Tan Moistaire and Liquid Hydration spray are examples of a multi-oil blend, dry oil. They can be used pre or post tan, without effecting your tan result. Oils mixed with, or layered under, your preferred lotion or cream can add an extra “hydration shot” of moisture, while providing additional anti-oxidant and skin healing benefits to your cream or lotion.


Lotions come in a variety of thickness, from thin to thick. A thicker lotion absorbs more slowly, but will also hold more moisture into the skin then a thinner lotion. No “one” brand is best, rather many brands can work well based on clients personal preference, needs, and ingredient makeup. I would recommend one avoid Dove Brand, due to issue related to tan development, and fade. But most other brands work well.

Lotions are a blend of differing ingredients, that create more of a synergistic benefit to the skin. Not only providing moisturizing, but also anti-oxidants, Essential Fatty acids etc that will provide more then one skin benefit.

Tampa Bay Tan Yum’e products are examples, that include many of the recommended ingredients below.

Recommended Ingredients:

Products that contain stearic acid (a fatty acid), emollients like ceramides, glycosaminoglycans  and cholesterol, and  hyaluronic acid, are all recommended. (these will not effect body’s cholesterol levels). Anti-oxidant rich products, and products with added plant extracts, plant oils, vitamins and treatment ingredients will help skin heal, and minimize irritation. This will assist the skin barrier in repairing itself.

Life Style Tips:

When moisturizing, apply moisturizing products to the skin within a few minutes of showering , to towel dried skin. This will help to seal the water from the shower into the skin.

Mild shower gels, which are less irritating, will help preserve the skin very important Barrier function (the protective skin layer, that help lessen moisture loss, and protect the skin from germ intrusion and irritants)

Bar soaps, especially deodorant bars, anti-bacterial soaps, and highly perfumed products can be over irritating to the skin.

Irritating ingredients (many plant extracts or irritant cosmetic ingredients at higher percentages, and some fragrances for example)  incorrect product pH – can all cause damage and break down of the skins protective barrier layer. This causes skin to lose its ability to hold moisture.

When skin is very dry, look for petrolatum or lanolin based creams, which are more effective at preventing water lose. Vaseline brand Jelly or lotion containing petrolatum would be an example of a petrolatum based product.

After swimming or hot tubing, shower to remove residual pool chemicals. Long tub soaks, or long hot water showers can damage the skin surface. Use warmer, rather than very hot water, and lessen long soaks or long shower sessions.

Use gentle exfoliation methods. Brushes or Scrubs with abrasive particles can be harsher on the skin. If skin is delicate or dry, try switching a scrub cloth or mitt. Smittens exfoliate mitt is one example of a softer plant based fiber mitt.

Consuming food rich in essential Omega 3 ,6 and 9 fatty acids, (5 servings a day is recommended)  can contribute to skins overall improved health, and better ability to maintain adequate moisture levels. Recommended foods such as Walnuts, flaxseed, salmon, olive oils.

Daily Supplementation with Fish oil, Flax seed, Evening primrose, Borage seed oils (2.2 grams a day) Cerimedes (phytoceramides)  will help heal  and improve the skin protective layer and lessen water loss.

When using treatment products on the skin, limit over irritating products, and adjust application/use amounts based on how the skin reacts (AHA, BHA, Vitamin C, Retinoids or Retin A etc)

Limit UV exposure, and protect skin with a well formulated broad spectrum sunscreen – year round used daily. UV damage can thin skin and exacerbate dryness and impairs skins ability to heal and recover.

Keepin that sunless glow! – Vicki



References for this information:

Skin Research and Technology, August 2015, issue 3, pages 366-372
Clinical Cosmetic Investigative Dermatology, August 2015, issue 8, pages 413–421
Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, June 2014, issue 6, pages 25–32
Archives of Dermatological Research, March 2013, issue 2, pages 151-162
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, February 2010, issue 2, pages 719-724
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, June 2007, issue 2, pages 75-82
British Journal of Dermatology, February 2008, issue 2, pages 251-260 and September 2008, issue 3, pages 567-577
Skin Research and Technology, May 2009, issue 2, pages 242-249, and November 2003,Issue 4, pages 306-311
Journal of Investigative Dermatology, June 2005, issue 6, pages 1099-1011, and February 2003, issue 2, pages 275-284
Dermatologic Therapy, February 2004, 17 supplemental 1, pages 43-48
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, April 2003, issue 11, pages 771–788
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, March 2003, issue 3, pages 352–358