Your face is the most exposed, and therefore most vulnerable, part of your body. No matter how resilient it seems when you're young (or how good a bath of direct sun feels on your face), you can't afford not to protect it, and moisture is a crucial part of that protection. Moisturizing isn't just about preventing surface dryness; your skin's moisture content is vital to maintaining a protective barrier against bacteria, allergens, and the elements. And well-protected skin ages slower, breaks out less, and maintains its glowy suppleness longer. So here's a handy guide to everything you ever wanted to know about hydration, and how to make it work for you.
Types of moisturizing agentsMoisturizing ingredients typically fall into one of three categories:
- Humectants, which draw water up to the surface from the dermis and into the skin from the air
- Emollients, which smooth out flaky skin cells and seal in moisture with a protective barrier
- Occlusives, which provide the heaviest barrier against water loss, but can feel heavy and make it difficult for skin to breath
What about oil-based vs. water-based moisturizers?
Water-based formulations are generally lighter, sheerer, and work well under makeup due to their fast absorption. Oil-based moisturizers, on the other hand, are less sheer and may have greater comedogenic (pore-clogging) potential, but can be more effective, due to their increased emollience. While a water-based formula won't bind itself to skin as easily as oil (and thus hide out in your pores), not all oils are pore-cloggers. In fact, many are officially classified as non-comedogenic, like sweet almond or sunflower oil. The truth is, any good formulation contains a blend of water and oils for maximum, multi-tasking effect. And if breakout anxiety is scaring you away from some of these ingredients, keep in mind that under-moisturized skin can break out under the stress of dryness, too. Want to see a truly boss blend of hydrating, healing, heavy-lifting ingredients? This is it.
Can a moisturizer actually heal, or does it just protect?
Moisturizing your skin won't have a topical antiseptic effect, but hydration is 100% necessary for the skin to heal surface traumas, including acne, eczema, or simple irritation. When skin is damaged it loses moisture rapidly, and dry skin is more susceptible to scarring, too. So even when it looks and feels great, you're doing your skin a favor by keeping it well-hydrated to fight future battles large and small. However, as we age, our skin loses its ability to self-heal with the miraculous resilience of youth, due to the slowing of cellular turnover, and thus begin the visible signs of aging. But all hope is not lost! You can actually turn that process around by infusing your skin with the regenerative powers of adult human stem cell derivative MDFc19. Find out more.
So let's get real. Do I really NEED to moisturize my face?
The short answer is yes, but the reasons are multifaceted. As you know, your skin naturally produces oil called sebum, which passes through the follicle, collecting dead skin cells and dirt along the way. Once at the surface, it forms a protective armor against surface baddies. So if skin produces its own oil, why add more? The answer has to do with your cleansing routine. Dry-skinned folks know they need to moisturize, and with the drying effects of just about any cleanser, moisturizing is beyond essential. If your skin is oily, chances are you're combating that oil with a stronger cleanser, which strips your skin, both drying it out AND potentially triggering a manic degree of sebum production. For oily types, moisturizer is about balance as much as hydration.
Does the best of both worlds exist? Why, yes it does!