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Moisture and Hydration

Moisture and Hydration

In honor of Earth Day later this month, I’m focusing on one of the most important substances on earth - Water - and the role hydration plays in skincare to create healthy skin.

Most of us who live in California and the west are to some degree aware of the importance of water. Living through so many years of drought has made me hyper aware of the reservoirs, the snowpack in the mountains and the amount of or lack of rainfall.  

Our bodies serve as a mirror for the larger environment. Almost all of us have been encouraged by magazines and media to drink more water and hydrate. We may have heard that the body is 60% water. Our internal water is actually made up of several kinds of salt (sodium) and other minerals and the water inside the cells is different from the water outside of the cells. A sodium-potassium pump system maintains the balance. Internally, we are a salty sea.

Lake viewed through trees   Image by jplenio from Pixabay 

Dehydrated skin lacks internal water and is different from dry skin, which is considered a skin type or condition. Dry skin lacks natural oils, also called sebum. The skin can become dehydrated which can be caused by multiple factors. Changes in the weather and seasons, being in heated or air conditioned rooms and buildings, basically living in the world can cause dehydration. Because it is an internal as well as external condition, the remedy often requires a two pronged approach. 

Well hydrated skin “bounces back.” In many articles I read, a test to tell if your skin was feeling dehydrated was to pinch the cheek and observe whether or not fine wrinkles appear where the skin was pinched. This is a sign that the skin needs internal hydration. When your skin is dehydrated, fine lines become more noticeable, the skin might feel itchy, the appearance will be dull and dark circles under the eyes more pronounced. 

A combination of treatments and simple life adjustments can help your skin to rehydrate. A common piece of advice is to drink more water and other hydrating liquids. Personally, I add sea salt - not enough to be able to taste it - to my filtered drinking water. I’m usually a very thirsty person, and when I drink salt water I feel less thirsty and more satiated. Adding other hydrating foods and liquids - juice, milk, fruits such as melons and berries, cucumbers - certainly improve the hydration levels in the body. 

Serums and moisturizers that deeply penetrate into the skin with hydrating benefits can support and improve the skin cells' hydration levels. Our Rose & Nettle Daytime Face Serum.  In this serum, aloe provides a perfect hydrating ingredient.

 Aloe Vera slices stacked on top of each other Image by endri yana yana from Pixabay 

Adding a humectant ingredient such as algae extract, aloe vera, glycerine, cucumber or glucose can attract moisture to the skin and help it absorb into the cells. Algae extract and humectants in the Enzyme & Rosehip Nighttime Face Serum are able to carry hydration deep into the skin. 

The outermost layer of skin is called the epidermis and it serves as a skin barrier. As the name implies, it acts as a boundary for the deeper levels of the skin. The barrier keeps out harmful stressors, and helps to prevent inflammation and irritation. It also helps your skin to hold onto its internal  moisture. Water evaporates even from the skin and body and this is especially true at night.

Now that we’ve hydrated the skin, that moisture needs to be locked in close to the cells. A rich cream moisturizer such as either our Olive Leaf & Neroli Moisturizer or the Aspen & Shea Butter Moisturizer fits that bill. Both have ingredients that will soothe and replenish your skin.

Beneficial oils are a primary tool in preventing this evaporation and over time will improve the health of the skin barrier. Our Frankincense & Rose Geranium Oil Serum brings healing antioxidants to a base of beneficial fatty acids. It’s important to apply any oils or oil based serums *after* you apply treatment serums or moisturizers. The oil serves as a seal and prevents any of the healing benefits from a serum applied on top of the oil from penetrating the skin. 

I tend to change my moisturizer seasonally and I like to have options to best serve the changing conditions of my skin. Some days, I need a cooling moisturizer and some days, I’d prefer a richer product.

If you’re curious about our moisturizers and serums and which ones will best suit your skin, come into the shop or contact us. We’re always happy to make recomendations!

Water is essential to life and to all aspects of health - for each person, plant and animal and for the planet. If you are interested, there are many organizations which protect waterways and provide equitable access to healthy clean water. 

**I’m not a doctor or scientist, but I am a person who likes to research. This blog is never meant to be medical or health advice.

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