Moisturizers and related personal care products with moisturizing and hydrating benefits like toners, serums and essences are an important part of consumers’ daily beauty routine. When looking at the personal care, or more precisely the skin care market, the claim “moisturizing/ hydrating” tends to be the most frequently used claim.
Why do we get dry skin?
Our skin is the largest organ in our body and the first line of defense against harmful environmental stressors like microbes, pollution, and UV rays. The stratum corneum is the skin’s outermost layer, and has the important task of preventing pollutants or several irritants to get into and through our skin but also to keep moisture inside the skin by minimizing the evaporation. On the one hand, an attacked skin barrier represents a possible entry point for e.g. pollutants or pro-allergens in many respects, at the same time moisture can escape more easily from the inside to the outside: the consequences can manifest themselves in different forms of dry skin. So if your skin looks dull and flaky, feels tight or even worse, starts to show red patches and itching, your skin’s natural defense mechanisms might no longer be intact.
The stratum corneum consists of corneocytes and intercellular lipids made up in a brick and mortar structure. Inside the corneocytes (brick) a mix of water-soluble molecules, the Natural Moisturization Factor (NMF), are responsible for protecting the moisture inside the skin and ensuring that it’s adequately hydrated. The intercellular lipids (mortar) form a bilayer structure composed of different lipid components, a popular one being ceramides, which keep the corneocytes in place.
Due to aging and dry skin conditions, as well as through an unhealthy lifestyle and harsh cleansing routines, the NMF in the corneocytes and also ceramide content in the lipid bilayers decreases, resulting in increased permeability and epidermal water loss.
What can we do to maintain or recreate a healthy moisture balance in the skin?
By using moisturizers we can counteract the symptoms of dehydrated skin. When thinking of the skin as a slightly brittle brick wall, two repair mechanisms can be tackled:
- "Patch the mortar” as in filling the holes of the skin barrier.
Prevent water loss from the inside and permeability for pollutants and microbes from the outside by topically supplying the skin with lipids, that fill the gaps in the lipid bilayer and reinforce the skin barrier.
- "Take care of the bricks” as in binding moisture inside the skin.
Besides lipids the skin needs an optimal proportion of water to retain its softness and suppleness. The ability of the skin’s stratum corneum to absorb moisture depends on the natural moisturizing factors contained in the epidermis. Hydro-regulative cosmetics can help to counteract this effect by substituting the natural substances. The skin’s inherent NMF consist mainly of lactate and pyroglutamate components. In LACTIL®, Sodium Lactate and Sodium PCA (2-pyrrolidone-5-carbonic acid) are the major functional components, mimicking the components of the natural NMF. In addition, LACTIL® contains glycine, urea and niacinamide, which further enhance moisturization.
By using formulations containing active ingredients that take care of both the ‘bricks,’ and the ‘mortar’ is the most effective way to maintain our skin’s healthy moisture balance.
When shold we moisturize?
In order to maintain healthy skin, moisturizing products should be used regularly, but it is most crucial to moisturize after cleansing routines like showering or facial cleansing. Surfactants in shower gels and cleansers, and even hot water itself can cause dry skin conditions, as the natural moisturizing factors and the intercellular lipids of the stratum corneum are washed out. So applying moisturizing body lotions can provide a remedy.
Product of the month
Dry and irritated skin is especially common during the colder months as we turn on the heating to keep us warm. Cold or heated air contains less humidity, increasing the transepidermal water loss from the skin into the atmosphere. So, to combat this regular use of cosmetic products with moisturization benefits can help to decrease the water loss and improve the skin’s complexion.
SK-INFLUX® V, an active ingredient for skin care applications, is a skin-identical lipid concentrate. It contains ceramides, cholesterol, free fatty acids and phytosphingosine that mimics the structure of the skin barrier. By filling the gaps of the lipid bilayers of the stratum corneum, it restores and reinforces the protective skin barrier to reduce the transepidermal water loss and protect the skin from external stressors, helping dry skin to recover.
Formulation of the month
Winter is coming. Knowing how best to help your skin to deal with the changing conditions is essential. The “Intense Dual Moisturizing Lotion” combines two active ingredients that combat dry skin in need of moisture. SK-INFLUX® V mimics the lipid structure of the skin barrier and helps by restoring the lipid bilayer of the outermost skin layer and decreases transepidermal water loss. LACTIL® on the other hand mimics the NMF and rebalances the hydration status in the corneocytes by attracting and binding water. In combination with glycerin the moisturizing properties of LACTIL® are prolonged even further.