How Do Moisturisers Work?

Yes, you moisturise. Do you know why though? Moisturising is a crucial step in skincare as…

Your skin makes its own protective layer that covers you all over- sebum. When it produces too much you get oily skin and potentially spots. As you get older the production of this decreases and thus so does your ability to retain moisture in your skin i.e. fine line time.

The top layer of your skin- the stratum corneum- is made up of fat, oil, and skin cells that keep the moisture in your skin. Applying moisturiser boosts this function, preventing the top layer from drying out. About 30% of that layer is water and lipids, and you don’t want it to dry out as you lose your shield so to speak. You lose protection from the outside elements and bacteria. Also, your dermis (the layer under the epidermis) lets the water evaporate, so you want to keep the epidermal layers intact and strong so it has a better chance of keeping it in.

Other factors.. the skin on your face is super exposed- much more than your body.

Facial skin is among the thinnest on your body and tends to be the most delicate.

Your face doesn’t have such thick under-layers of fat as other areas of the body do. It is going to be the first to show ageing, as this makes it more likely to be dry; plus it shows sagging more easily as you don’t have the nice fat bulking it up!

There are three types of moisturisers that keep your skin moist in different ways:

  • Occlusives: They create a barrier on the skin that water molecules can’t evaporate through. With this, the skin keeps its natural water and natural moisture. In the mainstream beauty world, these are things like aqueous creams, E45, and paraffinium bases. In the organic world, think balms, shea and mango butter.
  • Emollients: They penetrate the skin and are absorbed. To you, they are creams and lotions and can have many different ingredients.
  • Humectants: Pull water from the dermis to the epidermal (top skin) layers. They can also help draw and attract water from the air towards your skin

Most well-made moisturisers will have a mix of all of them. Ours do!  A straight occlusive can be awesome over the top of a cream emollient moisturiser when you really need to trap and raise moisture levels. Emollients should always come with a humectant, check they are both there.

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