Let's kick this article off by pointing out the difference between hydrating and moisturizing our skin, because if there were only two skincare routine steps we had to choose from for glowing skin, well, this would be them. Alright...cleansing would also be at the top of the list. Cleansing is important.
To break it down simply: our skin has multiple functions two of which we'll discuss today:
1. to hold in water, the hydration in our bodies
2. to act as a protective "wall", a barrier protecting our vital organs from our surroundings
Now, you may already know fats and water do not blend together (fats are hydrophobic) which is precisely what that layer of essential fatty acids our bodies produce which our epidermis consists of serves to do: binded with our skin cells which turnover & make their way up to shed off as they flatten, (just like cement & bricks!) together, they form a strong wall that helps us maintain hydration & prevent unwanted elements from filtering into our blood stream near our vital organs. Our cells are composed of water which means no water, no cell health, and no healthy skin!
When we speak about a skin being either hydrated/dehydrated, we usually refer to yes, the amount of water consumed reflecting (or not) through the skin, but also to a second often forgotten factor mentioned above: how capable our skin is of holding in that water, as it is meant to, and prevent it from evaporating into the air. This second factor is completely dependent on that protective lipid layer moisturizing supports.
Our skin, in other words, produces various structures of essential fatty acids which all together form our sebum. Our sebum, that layer of lipids/oils, cannot mend with water and prevents it from filtering through. Now, additionally, a healthy outer layer of the skin together with the sebum, like bricks and cement, form a wall between the inside of our bodies and our outside environment.
In the environment we live in today, the likelihood of our skin barrier being slightly damaged is quite high. Often this can be caused by heavy metals, the use of harsh cleansers or exfoliants or long-term exposure to low levels of toxicity. When it is damaged our skin can start to become "porous". By "porous" we don't mean those lovely pores we all have, but rather microlesions that let the water get through, and evaporate making it rather difficult to stay hydrated, keep cells healthy and as a result maintain a healthy glowing skin.
Often times, apparent signs of premature aging like fine lines can actually be resolved by improving hydration. An ingredient like hyaluronic acid, present in our B3-complex, is already present in our skin but lessens in quantity over time in our bodies which is why applying it topically helps support hydration: hyaluronic acid holds up to 1000x its weight in water!
Moisturized skin/Dry skin
When we speak about a skin being moisturized or dry, we are referring to the presence/absence of oils rather than water. As mentioned above, the sebum protects our skin from losing that water as it is hydrophobic (does not love water) as well as from letting unwanted toxic elements, microbes in through our skin. When a skin is dry, or too oily, it is not producing a correct balance of essential fatty acids. For example, an oily skin type usually underproduces linoleic acid, causing the sebum to be sticky. Whereas, a dry skin type normally underproduces oleic acid, causing the sebum to be "dry".
While the term "moisturizers" has still not been defined to be specifically neither a cream or oil, one thing is loud and clear: the loss of lipids (ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids that form the outer layers of our skin) combined to a damaged, over-cleansed, over-exfoliated skin, are the main cause to skin dehydration, aging of the skin, and worsen skin irritations such as dermatitis, or psoriasis.
All in all, assuming we are drinking enough water through out the day, and that our skin barrier is healthy, boosting hydration with our B3-complex for example, specifically in warmer seasons is a great way to keep it glowing & bouncy, keep hydration levels up and keep fine lines at bay. Second important step is to follow up with a balanced moisturizer, ideally oil-based like our Base du jour, to help ensure that hydration is sealed into the skin and not easily lost through out the day. Together, When hydration & moisturization are supported than skin can serve as a glowing, healthy blank canvas for your makeup routine or for you to be dewy au naturel!
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