'Skin flooding' is the latest TikTok trend for soothing dry winter skin. Here's how to do it without clogging your pores.
"Skin flooding" is the latest TikTok skincare trend to offset dry winter skin.
It involves applying hyaluronic acid before your moisturizer to maximize hydration.
We asked a dermatologist how it works, how often to do it, and how to avoid acne breakouts.
For many of us, the middle of winter means contending with skin that stays dry no matter how much we moisturize. So it's no wonder that TikTok's latest beauty trend is skin flooding, which promises to give you a glowy, dewy complexion even on the briskest of days.
While the name might sound like you flood your face with skincare products, the routine isn't actually that complicated at all. It's more about using three to four simple products to maximize hydration and reduce flakiness, as well as curb any potential breakouts caused by parched skin.
And unlike slugging, another popular TikTok trend that involves slathering on petroleum jelly, it barely feels different from a simple nighttime routine.
What is skin flooding?
The name "skin flooding" originated on TikTok, but the actual process has been familiar to dermatologists for a while.
"Skin flooding is a popular trend where the skin is given an intense hydration treatment," said Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology and an associate professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Skin flooding isn't that different from a typical nightly skincare routine. In between washing your face with a gentle cleanser and applying moisturizer, you apply hyaluronic acid to boost hydration.
Hyaluronic acid helps your skin absorb more moisture
Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means it soaks up extra moisture.
"Think of hyaluronic acid like a sponge that grabs onto water," said Zeichner. To really activate it, you'll want to make sure there's some moisture on your face already. "If you apply it to skin that's already damp or with damp fingertips, you give the hyaluronic acid the water it needs to hydrate the skin."
You can also mist your face with water.
If you're new to using it, Zeichner recommended RoC's Multi Correxion Hyaluronic Acid Night Serum Capsules, which "deliver high-potency, stable hyaluronic acid," help you use the right amount of product every time, and are easy to travel with. Otherwise, if you're using a bottled serum with a dropper, a few drops are plenty.
To get the full benefits of using the acid, he said it's "important to apply a traditional moisturizer on top of the serum to lock in hydration." And if you're skin flooding in the morning, you should top it all off with sunscreen.
Skin flooding can cause breakouts if you use too many products — or the wrong ones
According to Zeichner, skin flooding can be performed daily and works with all skin types, but if you have more acne-prone skin, it's important to keep in mind that "heavy, occlusive products can block the pores and lead to breakouts." He recommended starting the process with an oil-free cleanser to prevent breakouts.
If you start to notice your face breaking out from skin flooding every night, you can reduce how often you do it to a weekly routine.
Skin flooding can be used as a primer for other products, like vitamin C serum
One of the benefits of the trend is that it "may help reduce skin barrier dysfunction" when using other skincare products, according to Zeichner. For example, he usually recommends applying a hyaluronic acid serum to prime and hydrate the skin after you're finished cleansing. Then, you apply an active ingredient serum, like vitamin C, before finishing with moisturizer.
Of the TikTok-inspired beauty trends out there, this is one of the lowest-risk when it comes to breaking out or damaging your skin (or even spending a lot on a brand-new regimen). It's also fairly easy to get into: All you usually need is to add hyaluronic acid to your nightly skincare rotation.
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