Does exposure to water cause skin to dry out?

Yes, after some time. Your skin has a natural moisturizing factor (NMF), composed of water soluble compounds like hyaluronic acid. These are hygroscopic, meaning they absorb and retain moisture. The surface lipids (natural oils) keep this moisture locked in the skin. Long exposure to water removes the surface lipids, allowing the moisture to leak out of your skin, causing dryness. So although initially it can moisturize, when the lipids are gone, water can actually dry skin even more. To lock in moisture after a bath, moisturize immediately after patting skin dry.

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