Hydrating the skin is ultimately easier than you think since it is enough to let nature do it!
When it comes to skin hydration, there is always the fear of not doing enough. So, we superimpose lotion, serum, cream, according to the rule of the famous “layering” in Korean or Japanese. But isn’t it a little “too much”?
Well, definitely. Basically, imagine that the skin is designed to hydrate on its own! It is permanently perfused by the deep layers of the dermis, which store the water provided by food and drink. And on the surface, the stratum corneum (composed of dead cells linked by a “cement”), makes “cover”. It prevents evaporation. Nature is therefore very well made. Especially since the skin also produces sebum which binds with the water secreted by the sweat glands to form a natural emollient: the famous film “hydro-lipid”. It, therefore, has everything you need to bathe in 5-star comfort.
The only thing is that there are of course inequalities from one skin to another. Not all have the same capacities to fix the water in the stratum corneum or to produce sebum. And not all of them are exposed to the same climate, nor to the same hormonal influences. An external hydration supply may, therefore, be necessary for the skin to be at the top of its happiness. But not too much is needed!
Why Too Hydrate the Skin is Not Recommended
“It makes the skin lazy!” Explains Dr. Laurence Beille, the dermatologist. “Women often think they are doing well by applying rich products. However, this excess of lipids sends slowing down messages to the deep cells of the epidermis. Cell turnover is, therefore, less successful. Consequence: the skin becomes dull”.
So be careful, the temptation to offer creams with generous texture, very “down jacket” to your skin. He doesn’t like fat more than that. But he also doesn’t like being inundated with water! All this “liquid care” that comes to us from Korea, these gelled, water-engulfed textures (“cosmetic water”, “sleeping mask”, etc.) are totally detrimental to it in the long run.
“Extreme hydration expands the porousness of the skin and advances the infiltration of irresistible and aggravation specialists. Ultimately, the skin becomes brittle,” recalls the specialist. This is to say that “layering”, “the wet leg effect” is not always a rich idea…
Apart from naturally dry or pathological skin (ichthyosis, eczema) which need continuous hydration, the skin only needs to be really watered/nourished when it shows signs of discomfort. “Understand when it blushes, itches, tightness, cracks or flakes” explains Dr. Laurence Beille. It is a sign that the “cement” of the stratum corneum is altered (due to environmental aggressions, the use of cosmetic products that are too strippers, etc…). The barrier function is no longer properly ensured, the water evaporates and the skin becomes fragile.
What Are the Best Creams for Moisturizing the Face?
This temporary dryness can be compensated with lipid-based products (ceramides, cholesterol, essential fatty acids) or constituents of NMF (Natural Moisturizing Factor): urea, lactic acid, etc. which fix the water inside the horny layer. But no need to always adopt the richest cream or to layer the layers! “We simply adopt the texture of the cream to the feeling of the skin,“ says Dr. Beille. The drier the skin, the more fat it needs. Or maybe even oral supplementation (a 3-month course of Omega-3, especially in winter). But once the stratum corneum is retyped, it returns to the previous level of hydration.
Do not unnecessarily overload your skin, otherwise, it will lose all its radiance!
“Getting used to excess hydration can be uncomfortable for a while, but the skin eventually gets used to it,” reassures Dr. Beille. In addition, any cream having a moisturizing base, the specialist prefers to advise, after the age of thirty, an anti-aging product rather than strictly moisturizing or nourishing.
For example, in the morning, a serum based on hyaluronic acid, which hydrates the skin without greasing it and serves as an antioxidant, on which sunscreen is superimposed for additional protection against aging. Read our topic here: The best wrinkle cream? Sunscreen! No more need because the sunscreen is an emulsion, the skin is already covered with a good layer of water and fat!
In the evening, the dermatologist recommends the application of a retinol-based product (Ossential Daily Power Defense by Zein Obagi). Why? Because this active ingredient takes part in the differentiation of the cells of the epidermis, thus contributes to form a solid cutaneous barrier. And that is essential for well-hydrated skin (the famous “cover” effect!).
Also, pay attention to the products used for cleaning. “I don’t really like micellar waters. They also contain lipids which help make the skin lazy,” warns Dr. Laurence Beille.
Which Body Cream?
It is different. “Certain areas, like the legs, naturally tend to be dry because they are poor in sebaceous glands. They can, therefore, have a constant and sustained need for hydration” indicates the doctor. No harm in spreading them more, therefore.