Daily exposure to toxins, pollution, and UV rays can destroy our skin barrier and reduce its hydration causing dryness, itchiness, redness, and the appearance of wrinkles.
Our epidermal barrier is like the bricks and mortar of our skin. If there isn’t enough mortar (in the form of ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids) in between our cells, water can easily seep out causing dryness and discomfort.
This is why a moisturizer is needed to hydrate our skin– it keeps the bricks intact. The stronger our barrier, the stronger our defense against infection, inflammation, mechanical, and chemical stress.
It also has anti-inflammatory, anti-pruritic, anti-mitotic, and wound healing properties that can relieve and repair damaged skin.
Although all moisturizers hydrate the skin, their specific action varies depending on their kind.
Emollients are made up of fatty acids from wool fat, palm oil, and coconut oil that occupy the gaps between cells.
While occlusives, such as petrolatum, are usually composed of oil that prevents the escape of water from the skin.
Whereas, humectants draw in moisture from the dermis and the surrounding environment to maintain humidity. Examples of which are honey, glycerin, panthenol, urea, hyaluronic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, propylene, and butylene glycol.
It is important to factor in skin oiliness and environmental humidity before slathering some. There is a possibility of developing folliculitis, especially in oily and acne-prone individuals.
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Dr. Elli Reyes is a specialist of Aesthetic Medicine from the Philippines. With over four years of specialized training, her aesthetic practice has involved a variety of skin treatments involving Botox, fillers and the like. As a licensed physician, she has been engaged by multiple clinics and is regularly interviewed by the local media as an expert in the science of the skin. Her research and writings to date have centered on nutrition, functional health and general beauty.