What Moisture Does for the Skin
Moisture is essential to skin health!
What Moisture Does
Moisture is essential to skin health. Skin cells must remain hydrated and be bathed in an aqueous solution in order to maintain balanced fluid pressure gradients and chemical compositions on the inside and outside of the cell. The pressure and ionic gradients facilitate the transport of molecular compounds into the cell for growth and repair and out of the cell for excretion.
Without proper moisture, skin cells become dehydrated—they shrink, and the cell membranes can become more brittle and susceptible to pathogens. In other words, dehydrated skin looks tight and is more prone to infection. Dehydrated skin also becomes a repository of toxins and free radicals that damage skin cells and other components of the extracellular matrix.
Moisture-Depleting Conditions And Habits
Skin naturally produces its own moisture and moisture-locking barrier: sebum. Unfortunately, modern life and beauty trends compromise and strip away this natural protection through practices like:
- Applying makeup
- Daily face washing
- Daily showering (especially with hot water)
- With our natural protection compromised, moisture is more easily drawn out of and away from the skin in dry environments—like the humidity- and temperature-controlled climates in all buildings and homes. As a result, replenishing moisture to the skin is absolutely essential every day.
There are a few ways that skin’s moisture may be restored:
- Drawing moisture from the lower layer of skin and/or the environment into the epidermis
- Returning moisture to the skin via moisturizing skin care products
- Preventing evaporation from the skin into the environment
Get the Most out of Your Moisturizer
Moisturizers are typically formulated with both water and oil components, and often other active ingredients to brighten, repair and protect your skin. There are several different types of products that can help deliver and retain moisture within the skin.
Lotion—water is the main ingredient in this moisturizer, making this a light option that is perfect for oily skin types. Moisturizers designed for young skin often use this formulation, as oily skin is common during periods of fluctuating hormones.
Cream—a medium-thick moisturizer, this formulation works best for people with normal to combination skin. Creams can mix with a wide variety of targeted ingredients, making this the most common type of moisturizer for aging skin.
Ointment—the thickest type of moisturizer, often used by people with very dry skin. Ointments are also the most common carriers for medications, making this moisturizer widely used by people with challenging skin conditions.
Moisturizer Application Tip #1: Apply To Clean, Damp Skin
For optimal absorption in the skin, you need to clear away anything that could get in the way, like:
- Excess oil
- Dead skin cells
And, if you remember from high school chemistry class, water is cohesive—water molecules readily bond to other water molecules. So, to achieve optimal absorption, ensure that your skin is damp so that the water molecules in the moisturizer have water molecules on the application surface to bond to.
Moisturizer Application Tip #2: Order Your Layers
If you use more than one product to treat and moisturize your skin after cleansing, apply them in order from lightest to heaviest:
- Spot treatment
- Full face moisturizing lotion or cream
- If you use a separate SPF product, that should go after your daily moisturizer.
Moisturizer Application Tip #3: Apply Gently
Your moisturizer needs to be absorbed to do its job. Absorption is largely a chemical process; it happens by osmosis and cell transport. Rubbing harder will not accomplish better or deeper absorption…so ease up on the pressure. Applying your moisturizing products should be done using a gentle, circular massaging motion. You should never see any redness or irritation after putting on your serums or creams.