The truth behind whether moisturizer can truly combat dry skin
Irrespective of age, and gender, everybody wants their skin to look glowing, healthy and attractive to others. The moisturizer you used as a twenty and thirty year old is probably not suitable for your aging skin.
As we age our skin’s ability to produce oil, collagen and elastin has been lost. This causes our skin to become loose and sagging. Without enough oil our skin becomes drier and thinner.
Dermatologists recommend the best way to soothe dry skin is by using products that allow the dermis to strengthen and thicken, such as a good moisturizer for dry skin. They should also provide moisture retention and barrier renewal without been too severe or rough. Skincare manufactures are at the ready with products that will hydrate and moisturize your skin — but do they really work?
Do you know the difference between hydrating and moisturizing?
On a scientific level there is a distinction in their meaning. According to a group of dermatologists and researchers, occlusive is the technical name. The beauty industry use the labels moisturizers, humectants and hydrators to differentiate how your skin feels after absorbing each moisturizing agent. It is a marketing strategy.
In reality a moisturizer is made with oil-based formulas that contain occlusive agents such as petrolatum jelly and emollients. Occlusive act as a barrier and seal on the skin to prevent water from escaping. The skin not only feels smoother your skin's dryness is reduced.
On the other hand, hydrators are humectant components responsible for absorbing moisture from the atmosphere into the upper layer of our skin. Some supply moisture to your skin and hair directly. You'll notice that the humectants in your hair products are not necessarily the same as the ones present in your skincare.
You can buy skincare products that have humectants and occlusives together. Some products only have humectants. Due to their oily nature, occlusive are primarily found in items used for dry skin and hair. Researchers recommend using occlusive agents in the treatment of eczema.
Scientific studies of individual ingredients in moisturizers have been conducted to see if they work and if they are safe.
Dry skin moisturizers contain the following ingredients:
- Hyaluronic acid and dimethicone - help keep skin hydrated
- Glycerin, propylene glycol, proteins, and urea - help attract water to your skin
- Lanolin, mineral oil, and petrolatum - lock in moisture
Do these ingredients have side effects? Are they safe?
Hyaluronic acid is safe to apply to skin and has no known side effects. That being said there isn't enough scientific evidence about the safety of applying hyaluronic acid to skin during pregnancy or when breastfeeding.
Dimethicone has been evaluated in scientific data and deemed safe to use. Possible side effects are slight irritation, dryness, and allergic reactions.
Glycerin and urea have an impact on dry skin. Researchers found that glycerin is less efficient than urea when treating dry skin. All the same, it has been found that when a person already has existing skin conditions constant use of moisturizers containing urea can make their condition worse.
Petrolatum has an immediate barrier-repairing effect, where as moisturizers that contain lanolin and mineral oil have the potential to clog pores. Studies show when there is the presence of oil, or other ingredients, the humectants moisturizing capabilities have fallen sharply.
Moisturizers contain other ingredients that may be beneficial in the treatment of dry skin. The following ingredients have been subjected to research studies.
Water provides adequate hydration to the skin.
Antioxidants found in licorice root, pomegranate, chamomile and green tea have been proven to be good at protecting the skin and neutralizing free radicals.
Glycolic, lactic, or citric acid are found to be successful in safeguarding skin against damage caused by aging.
Aloe Vera helps manage dry skin by stimulating elastic and collagen fibers.
Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide fortify skin from sun damage. Despite their superiority in protecting against harmful UV rays, long-term use of these ingredients may cause health problems.
Jojoba oil doesn't clog pores or irritate skin. Research shows that this ingredient seals your skin with a protective barrier to keep it from losing moisture.
Whatever moisturizer you use keeping dry skin moisturized is crucial. Scientific research investigated the efficiency of moisturizer ingredients to be beneficial by themselves, especially when working to treat cracked, overly dry skin. However these studies did ascertain that the effectiveness of humectants is determined by the solution they are dissolved in.