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The dry facts – why hydrating doesn’t work and how to do it right.
If there is one thing that can trick me into buying another skincare product, it would be the potential deep moisture effect. My naturally very dry skin seems to have an unlimited thirst and for a very long time I thought it’s almost impossible to find a product that would satisfy its needs. Then it turned out I invested in some of the best hydrating products on the market – I just didn’t know how to use them.
What makes the skin hydrated?
My mission of finding the perfect moisturizer began around my mid 20’s. Until then my skin seemed self-sufficient. I was using basic skincare products for the pleasure that came with self-care rather than to meet my skin’s actual needs. Because there were no visible needs. I had great complexion, 0 tendency for breakouts and optimal level of hydration. Where did it come from, if not from the cream I was every now and then forgetting to use? It came from the inside:
No matter how great and plump it might be in our 20’s, the skin will gradually lose moisture and hydration over time. The good news is that we can significantly slow down the process with nourishing diet, improving sleep quality, proper hydration, stress management and, last but not least, the right skincare. 6 The right skincare has two components: the right ingredients and the right way of using them. Moisturizers, which rehydrate the outer layer of skin and strengthen the natural skin barrier, contain 3 main types of ingredients:7
How to moisturize the skin?
Think of humectants as ingredients that act like a water- absorbing magnet, and of occlusives and emollients as a blanket that helps keep the moisture and all the active ingredients in the skin. If you want them to work, make sure to layer them in the right order. Here’s how the moisturizing routine should look like:
Step 1 cleansing: this is the base of your everyday skincare routine. It helps remove the harmful particles from your skin’s surface and prepares its pores to absorb all the active ingredients. If you want to start hydrating your skin during this step, pay attention when choosing your cleansing products. The ones containing soap, SLS and SLES will promote dehydration. LAST Cleansing Gel’s rich, plant & science based formula solves problems with dehydration, tightness and destroyed lipid barrier – you can read more about its potent ingredients here.
Step 2 toning: water your skin with the extra kick of stimulation. Depending on the ingredients, toners can remove last traces of impurities, hydrate, exfoliate, brighten, soothe and increase skin renewal. LAST’s Exfoliating Toner adds anti-aging properties to this list: it protects the skin’s collagen from degradation, tones and strengthens skin barrier functioning. 12
Step 3 humectants: now your skin is ready to absorb non-oily serums, creams and moisturizers. Make sure to apply them while the skin is still damp from the toner – it will help the product absorb into the skin and maximize hydration. If you’re applying both serum and moisturizer, start with the thinner product. 13 When the air humidity is high, it’s easier for humectants to absorb water from the outside but as soon as the humidity gets low, the humectants can start absorbing the water from the deeper layers of the dermis into the stratum corneum which can lead to dehydration. 14 That’s why it’s important to prevent any evaporation with the next step of skincare routine.
Step 4 occlusives and emollients: time to seal the moisture in and improve the softness and smoothness of the skin! Finish your skincare routine with oil, wax and butter-based products. Emollients tend to be lighter and less concentrated than occlusives and since they both work as a moisture- protecting blanket for the skin, choose whichever works better for your skin’s current needs. When applying this layer, don’t apply „the more, the better” rule. Thick, heavy, oily occlusives and emollients can easily clog your pores, when used in excess.15
Nowadays cosmetics are often formulated with both hydrating and sealing ingredients so using just one product can be enough to increase the water content and protect the skin from further dehydration. Nevertheless, keep in mind that hyaluronic acid serums, the most popular hydrating skincare product, used alone can easily lead to skin dryness – in dry weather, they will suck water from deeper layers of the skin.16 The same applies to oils – they only retain water content, which makes them moisturizing but not hydrating. When used alone, they can remove lipids from the skin barrier and leave its surface dry. 17
Other ways to hydrate the skin
Bad skincare isn’t the only thing that could leave your skin dehydrated. It’s your lifestyle choices, too. If you want to keep the hydration in, follow these simple guidelines:
Think of your daily skincare routine as putting the puzzles together. There is only one way to do it right. You can go creative, push and try to replace but any attempt of going against the rule of one specific order will leave you with one big mess. Do you feel rebellious enough to risk the same effect on your face?
An international model based in Paris. A researcher, copy writer and a journalist exploring for us the areas of neuroscience, brain, biohacking, living healthy life. Author of Out & About series discovering cultural life in Paris in all its aspects. A strong, wise personality with a growth mindset.
Neurocosmetics – improving your skin, mood and well-being
Achieving the new, using the old.
When the stress shows