I sat down with Ann Webb, a renowned medical esthetician, product developer, and owner of Ann Webb Skin Clinic and the Ann Webb Skin Institute. I asked Ann, “What’s the best way to hydrate your skin?” Here’s what I find out:
It’s critical to let the natural oils build up on your skin and to preserve your skin’s acid mantle, which is its defense system against bacteria. Wash your face with a cleanser and warm water once a day, bathe 2-3 times a week, and use an enzyme peel or hydrating face mask in the bathtub.
Talking to Ann, I felt like I was finally getting the real answers to my life-long skincare questions. As a daily bathtubber, I knew I wasn’t treating my skin right for all these years. Thankfully, now I know what to do and which products to use to get the best results.
Secrets of How to Hydrate Your Skin
I had many questions on my mind from “How often should you wash your face?” to “How can I moisturize my skin in the tub?” But what I learned from talking to Ann is that how to hydrate your skin involves more knowledge than just answering those two questions.
What follows is everything I learned about how to keep my skin silky and moist, rather than flaky and dried out.
Is Soaking in the Tub Okay For Your Skin?
I was prepared for Ann to tell me that she is completely against bathtubbing because it dehydrates your skin. In fact, before our conversation, I had braced myself to hear a few admonishments about how bathing so much was ruining my skin.
So imagine my surprise when I discovered that Ann Webb is a bathtubber herself! She says it’s all about balance:
“Bathing does dehydrate you, but if you’re soaking in the tub and put a bunch of hydrating agents on your skin, you’ll be fine. It’s all about balance and managing how much you’re in the water and how much hydration you put on.”
Ann Webb soaks in the bathtub for at least 20-30 minutes 2-3 times a week, regularly.
As a daily bather, I was wondering if there’s a skin-based reason that she doesn’t soak more often, or if she just doesn’t have the time or prefers to shower some days.
To Keep Your Skin Hydrated, How Often Can You Bathe?
When I ask Ann why she doesn’t bathe every day, she told me that she learned from her dermatologist when she was younger that it’s good to let oils build up on the skin. She says:
“Believe it or not, when the natural oils collect on your skin, those oils have things in them to protect your acid mantle. Your skin’s acid mantle lays on top of your skin. It’s your defense system. It’s there to fight off bacteria, pollution and UV rays.”
What I love about Ann is how open and honest she is with her own experience. You can really tell that she’s a teacher at heart, someone who is passionate about her mission. I say this because not just anyone would reveal that they don’t bathe every day. But Ann explains that as a result of the advice she received from her dermatologist, she started to bathe and shower less often. “You don’t walk around smelly,” she says. “You can clean yourself with a washcloth whenever you want.”
When Ann started to adapt this routine and keep her environment clean, she noticed a dramatic change in the condition of her skin.
But How Do You Keep Your Environment Clean?
Ann says there are several ways that she keeps her environment clean, while allowing natural oils to build on the skin:
- Use a Clean Laundry Detergent Such as Free & Clear – The number one thing Ann wants everyone to know is that many detergents and dryer sheets contain toxic chemicals. In addition to being dangerous, these toxins are so destructive to the skin.
- Change Sheets & Pillowcases Frequently – Ann recommends changing your sheets at least once a week and changing pillowcases three times a week. Wow! That’s a lot, right? But Ann says that’s what you need to do in order to keep your sleeping area free from bacteria.
- Use a Clean, Filtered Water System – According to Ann, this is especially important for anyone suffering from eczema, dermatitis or acne. You can go to a home improvement store and get a kit to test your bathwater. Or, if your water smells like chlorine, you don’t even need a kit to know there’s a problem. Showering or bathing in water that’s not clean and filtered can disrupt your skin’s acid mantle and lead to all kinds of problems.
So How Do You Hydrate Your Skin in the Bath?
Ann has a two-pronged system for hydrating her skin in the bathtub: First, she has ingredients for remineralizing the skin on her body. She says:
“I make pretty exotic baths for myself using green chlorophyll, ground mustard, spinach leaves. I keep these ingredients on my bath caddy, along with a jar of coconut oil and a little spoon. Then I just scoop them into my bathwater.”
Ann also has a system for hydrating the skin on her face, neck and chest, while the rest of her body soaks in all those wonderful nutrients.
Talk about multi-tasking!
What Temperature Should Bath Water Be?
Ann Webb tells me that sitting in a hot bath is fine for most people. She says:
“You just have to understand that when you’re going extremely hot, the water could be expanding the vessels of the skin and they could break. The vessels on the face, neck and chest are a lot more sensitive than the vessels on other parts of the body. For people who have rosacea and really red skin, they’ll notice that hot water doesn’t feel comfortable.”
Even if you like your bath water hot, hot, hot, make sure you don’t put extremely hot water onto your face. You want to use warm water there.
The Best-Kept Secret for Exfoliation: Korean Scrub Gloves
Ann’s bathtub routine includes a special product she absolutely swears works wonders! They are called Korean Scrub Gloves. You slip a glove onto each hand, and then gently scrub the skin on your limbs and torso.
However, be careful not to use these on your face, neck or chest, as they would be too harsh for the sensitive skin in those areas. Ann Webb explains how she uses this very simple cloth product:
“I use these Korean Scrub Gloves with just water. I can’t bathe without them. For whatever reason, with all the melanin in our skin, when our skin rolls off, it looks like a light gray to dark black color, depending on how often you use the gloves. If you’re not using these scrub gloves, you’re not really getting clean, and you have no idea what’s really on your body.”
Believe it or not, Ann says that soap holds the dead skin in place, so don’t use any with the scrub gloves. You just use water. And she says that you can’t use the Korean Scrub Gloves every day, but two to three times a week in the bathtub is perfect.
Once you’ve removed the dead skin cells, the skin on your torso and limbs will be eager to absorb all the minerals and nutrients you can feed it.
Another amazing way to exfoliate your skin is to give yourself a Turkish bath at home.
How to Give Yourself a Really Expensive Facial in the Tub
Ann says you can give yourself a really expensive facial in the bathtub by using a cleanser, an enzyme and a finishing mask.
She stresses the most important thing about products is using them correctly. When using any product in the bathtub, you want to make sure to leave it on your skin for an extended period of time. “This is the magic!” she tells me with a twinkle in her eye.
Step 1: Wash Your Face in the Tub with a Cleanser
Of course, Ann uses her own amazing products to cleanse. I can say “amazing” because I’ve tried all the cleansing products mentioned here, and I can’t believe what a difference they make in terms of moisturizing and hydration.
I’m actually wondering what kind of damage I’ve done in terms of wrinkles by not using these products in the tub until now.
Also, Ann doesn’t just recommend applying these products to your face. Include your neck and chest as well. Anyone (I’m not naming names) who has suddenly spotted wrinkles on their chest and recoiled in horror can attest that proactively caring for this area is wise!
Ann says she always starts with Cleansing Milk, which is a hydrating cleanser with lactic acid, avocado oil and jojoba oil. She leaves it on her skin for 5-10 minutes, before massaging it off with a warm, wet washcloth. Go back and read that last sentence again, because it’s critical.
You need to leave the product on to give the active ingredients time to work. Then you need to massage it off, in order to remove the dead skin cells.
Are you with me? Good!
Now, because my skin reacts to everything, Ann advised me to start with Cleansing Milk Sensitive instead of the regular milk. This product switches out the lactic acid in the regular Cleansing Milk for green tea.
Once a week, or more often in the winter, Ann uses the Cleansing Scrub instead of the Cleansing Milk. This is her thickest cleanser and with 6 different oils in the formula, it’s super hydrating.
Step 2: Use an Enzyme Peel
Next, it’s time to brighten your skin. If you’ve ever had a facial at a high-end spa, you’ll be familiar with the glow you get after. The enzyme peel provides the same effect.
Apply an enzyme peel to your face, neck and chest. Leave it on for up to 15 minutes. Ann Webb’s AHA Enzyme Peel is perfect for my sensitive skin. The formula contains papaya, papain, sugar cane and pineapple. It tingled when I applied it to my neck and face, so immediately I knew something good was happening!
Ann Webb also offers other peels with stronger levels of exfoliation. These include the Blueberry Glycolic Peel, a Lemon Luffa Peel and a Probiotic Enzyme Peel.
Step 3: Apply a Finishing Mask
Trying to figure out how to hydrate your skin? The finishing mask is key. It gives your face a ton of rich nutrients and minerals. Most importantly, it hydrates your skin. Take it from me—especially if you’re a daily bathtubber—hydration is incredibly important.
Ann Webb’s DIY Face Mask Recipe
Ann likes to whip up a DIY face mask from oatmeal. Here’s the recipe:
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 cup very soft, cooked oatmeal made with water
- 1/2 banana
Smash the avocado and banana. Mix together. Then stir in the cooked oatmeal. Apply to your face and neck in the bathtub. Leave on at least 10 minutes.
Ann explains that the fat in the oatmeal is great for hydration. The oatmeal has a calming effect on the skin and the banana adds potassium. Better yet, she says that this mask can soothe eczema and dermatitis.
Ann Webb’s Hydrating Face Mask
If you don’t want to make your own hydrating face mask, you can use the Charcoal Blend Calming Mask by Ann Webb. It’s made with kaolin clay, a tea blend, and charcoal. This mask is designed to soothe, hydrate and detoxify the skin.
While you’re soaking in the tub and letting that mask work its wonders, try some other relaxing bath ideas that take me-time to the next level. For example, sip on a cherry spritzer or color on the walls with bathtub crayons. Or, for the ultimate relaxation, try bathtub meditation.
So How Often Should You Wash Your Face?
Because there’s so much bacteria around from our cell phones and pollution in the air, Ann says it’s important to wash your face once a day.
So if you’re bathing 2-3 times a week, you’ll wash your face in the tub on those days. But on the other days, you can still use your cleanser at night followed by a moisturizer.
In the mornings, just give your skin a quick rinse with warm water and dry off with a washcloth.
And when you wash or cleanse your face, don’t forget your chest and neck, too!
Should You Use Cold Water to Close Your Pores?
After you wash your face, aren’t you supposed to splash cold water on your skin to close your pores? This is something I’ve always heard. I grabbed the opportunity to check this out with the skin care guru in my midst.
To my surprise, Ann says that when you get out out of the bathtub, you don’t need to splash your face with cold water if you’re going to apply any additional products. She tells me:
“You need to leave your skin open for product that will come after—lotions, serums, hydration. The products you put on after you bathe are more important than cold water. Plus your pores will naturally close on their own.”
Ann tells me the secret to keeping her products in the ideal condition. “I have a little bathroom fridge,” she explains, her voice rising in excitement. “My fridge is so pretty! I keep a bunch of my products in there: My B5 serum, my hyaluronic acid serum, my vitamin C. Chill the products and then they’ll be cold enough to lock down the pores.”
Use the Right Towel
If you go to the trouble of taking such good care of your skin, make sure your towel is not going to be abrasive. We’ve found the most gentle towel around. It’s called the Cariloha bamboo towel. You can read our full review here.
How Ann Webb Learned to Care for Her Skin
Ann grew up poor in a small town. Unfortunately, she had severe acne, but there were no resources to help her condition. By the time Ann was 18, she was determined to find a solution for her skin problems, so she set off to meet anyone who could help.
On her journey, she met renowned dermatologists and plastic surgeons, and then she went to work for these skin experts. She discovered the protocols that not only helped her care for her own skin but also would allow her to help thousands of other people.
In 2005, Ann and her best childhood friend, Joanna, created Skin By Ann Webb. All the 28 products in the line are clean, which means they’re free from harmful chemicals, dyes, detergents, phthalates and parabens.
Today the Ann Webb Skin Clinic has helped more than 15,000 clients in its 30 treatment rooms. Something that I find truly wonderful is that Ann is committed to being affordable, and she won’t turn away anyone from the clinic based on the inability to pay.
Now you know why Ann is so passionate and equipped to dole out advice on how to hydrate your skin.
The Benefits of Knowing How to Hydrate Your Skin
I’m so glad that I got a chance to spend time with Ann. Not only is she down-to-earth and friendly, but also her work is revolutionary when it comes to clean, effective, affordable skin care. She helped me understand the secrets of how to hydrate your skin. As a result, my skin feels so much smoother and softer.
I also feel more confident, because taking care of my skin is no longer a crapshoot. Before I spoke to Ann, I had no idea what I was doing. I would go from using a bath gel to a cleanser, not really understanding the difference between any of these products. If the package was pretty, I’d buy it.
Now I know what the products are, why it’s so important to use clean products, and how each one affects me. I think I’ve finally unraveled the mystery of how to hydrate your skin.
Thanks to the right routine and products, my dry skin has disappeared. For the first time in years, my face looks a little glowy and moist. This morning I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I used to only notice a dry patch on my cheek or a red splotch near my nose. This time, I smiled at the little miracle I saw there!