The Clear Skin Difference – It Begins With Hydration

DRY SKIN = TYPE
DRY SKIN LACKS OIL
DEHYDRATED SKIN = CONDITION
DEHYDRATED SKIN LACKS WATER

 

Water – it’s the elixir of life.

From the minute our primeval ancestors ventured from ocean to land, prevention of dehydration has been the key to our survival.

Fortunately, we have evolved a lot since then.

And today, our bodies have formed an exquisite network of physiological controls that help us maintain our body fluid.

However, that’s not the case when it comes to our skin.

A healthy, clear skin requires a water content of 15 – 20% to remain supple and intact, which contributes to plumpness, elasticity, and resilience.

There are many factors involved such as ageing, which can deplete moisture, leaving skin severely dehydrated.

The overlapping cellular structure of the stratum corneum and lipid content serves as “waterproofing” for your skin, without this it is susceptible to a number of conditions:

  • Tightness
  • A feel of roughness
  • Itchiness and irritation
  • Severe redness and inflammation
  • Cracks that can sometimes bleed
  • Slight to severe scaling and flaking
  • Inflamed breakouts, papules and pustules
  • Fine lines, visible signs of premature ageing

These are all signs your skin lacks hydration.

OILY SKINNED FOLKS CAN BE DEHYDRATED

Hydration should not be determined by the number of blackheads or breakouts you have.

This is because the sebaceous oil activity in your skin can still be normal, or even overactive with dehydration.

I find my clients often get confused with OIL PRODUCTION and HYDRATION.

It is important to note that ANY SKIN TYPE can become DEHYDRATED.

Dehydration is to do with the lack of water in your skin; somehow, it has been altered and affected and lost its ability to retain moisture.

SKIN AND WATER MOVEMENT

Lets take dehydration one step further for a minute, and focus on structures within the epidermis that are responsible for moisture retention and balance:

If you want clear skin, then all tissue must maintain sufficient water balance for proper functioning, including the ability to adjust within your environment.

Therefore, balanced hydration is based on the following:

  • Relevant ambient humidity in the environment
  • The retention powers of the outer layer of skin, the stratum corneum
  • The transit time and amount of water, which is transmitted from the dermis to the stratum corneum

ANATOMY OF THE SKIN

To fully understand dehydration, I need to do a recap on skin anatomy, so please bear with me.

Your skin the truly amazing organ it is has several functions, which you can read all about in the article, “20 Incredible Facts About Skin“.

But it is your skin’s ability to create a barrier to water loss, which is one of its most crucial functions.

The stratum corneum is responsible for maintaining appropriate water content. It is a superficial, wafer-thin layer that is an effective water barrier due to three characteristics:

  1. Cells referred to as corneocytes are surrounded by waterproofing lipids which prevent evaporation of water from the skin. Common lipids are fatty acids, ceramides, and cholesterol.
  2. Water-soluble compounds within the corneocytes make up our natural moisturising factor (NMF). They absorb water from the environment and the skin’s lower layers, helping to keep it adequately hydrated. Our NMF is comprised of amino acids including urea, lactic acid, pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA) and urocanic acid.
  3. Desmosomes are tiny protein bridges that hold the corneocytes together; their role is to keep skin hydrated, making water evaporation difficult.

When these mechanisms don’t function correctly, cells can’t shed effectively, adequate water content is impaired, and skin becomes dehydrated – causing many of the conditions discussed above.

This is why including gentle exfoliation in your home care regime is key.

THE IMPORTANCE OF EXFOLIATION

Let’s take a minute to look at your skins natural exfoliation process, referred to in the beauty industry as desquamation.

Your cells constantly migrate from the bottom layer of the epidermis to the most superficial layer and finally shed.

The enzymes responsible for this shedding, “desquamation of corneocytes”, are dependent on adequate hydration.

If this process gets disrupted, your skin enters a “dry skin cycle” which gives it a rough, scaly appearance.

This imbalance of your skin’s water barrier can be characteristic of eczema, scaly dry skin, fine lines, and ageing.

Gentle, regular exfoliation stimulates cellular renewal, boosting your skins own metabolism, helping you to achieve clear skin.

THE CLEAR SKIN DIFFERENCE

Phew, it seems dehydration really is tricky to treat.

This is because so many things are involved when it comes to keeping the correct balance of moisture in your skin.

Dehydration may be a temporary condition within your body or it may be a deeper issue, concerning lack of free water in your skin, which can cause trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL).

So, understanding the underlying cause of the condition is essential for healthy, clear skin.

This is why I feel it is extremely important that you begin to get a thorough understanding of your own skin type and skin conditions.

By doing so, it will help you to manage or correct any concerns you may have, related to dehydration.

INGREDIENTS FOR HYDRATION

What this tells us is in order to get that clear skin difference; we need to achieve correct hydration within our skin cells.

This all depends on a functioning natural moisture factor, the skin barrier and balanced sebum.

Below are some of the classes of ingredients, responsible for moisture retention and balance:

Humectant products for hydration: These are critical for clear skin and hydration; they work by attracting water from below the epidermis and the atmosphere, drawing it into the stratum corneum. Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, urea, pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA), lactic acid and sorbitol, are all great examples of these ingredients.

Occlusive ingredients for skin protection: These contain wonderful rich phytosterols for skin healing, which have natural water barrier effects. Shea butter, avocado, sunflower oil, cocoa butter, macadamia, jojoba, squalane, evening primrose and baobab oil are all lovely, rich emollients, that will keep your skin soft and supple.

Skin-identical ingredients: These are acid mantle restoring ingredients, which contain compounds found in our natural moisturizing factor (NMF). Ingredients such as copper peptides, urea, lactic acid, and pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA), all help to keep moisture balanced in our skin.

Barrier restoring ingredients: Another range of skin-identical ingredients that mimic those found in the stratum corneum are lipids. They are essential building blocks found in skin’s outermost layer, and include ceramides and oils rich in linoleic acid like sunflower oil, safflower, shea, baobab, rose hip seed oil, and evening primrose.

Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of what to look for in a formula.

Your skin is greatly influenced by ingredients that support its own environment, which help it to return a more balanced state.

20 thoughts on “The Clear Skin Difference – It Begins With Hydration

  1. Melinda Frank says:

    Hi Samantha, I went for microderm abrasion and after the first one my skin looked amazing. After the second one which may have been done too soon (2.5 week gap as recommended by the therapist), I had red marks across my face (this was about the only thing that healed nothing else did), fine lines and wrinkles immediately the next morning, visible pores and extreme over production of oil which now causes acne. My skin always feels tight and uncomfortable despite the extreme greasiness and shine on it even immediately after washing.My skin always has a thick layer of oil on it which looks and feels terrible. I know it’s probably due to a damages moisture barrier but I am not sure which part of it has been affected ie should I be using creams with humectants or lipids in it as I can’t find one that serves all purposes. I really had no issues before the microderm besides a few superficial acne scars but now have a host of issues. My skin looks old, leathery and dirty from the extreme shine. This was 8 years ago and I still haven’t found a solve, I was 20 years old when I did the microderm abrasion. Please help:-( I have been to a dermatologist who just says my skin is oily and nothing can be done but I’ve explained that this happened over night, I never had skin like this before. I live in South Africa so probably also don’t have access to most products available internationally.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Melinda
      First let me tell you micro-dermabrasion can be one of the most damaging treatments for the skin and you are not alone in ending up with compromised skin because of the treatment. From your symptoms it sounds like your important micro flora over the skin your acid mantle is depleted and your barrier function has been completely compromised.
      I think equilibrium would be a really good choice for you, it is gel based – you want to avoid a cream base which will only feed the oil and oil loving bacteria more. I would combie this with H20 because did you know often an oily skin is a dehydrated skin?
      I don’t like roaccutane when it is abused because it can do damage internally and cause more sensitivity on the skin in the long term, however when monitored very carefully and used for a short period of time I have seen some great results. look out for Vitamin A as an ingredient, not in an oil like my A+ but instead in a serum base. Sorry I am not sure what range to recommend, but do some research around vitamin A, yes it can be irritating topically but again controlled can have some great results aon the skin, s it is not only anti ageing but also a normalising vitamin to help balance ratio of oil to water.
      I do hope this information helps, internally consider essential fatty acids, again it may sound counter intuitive but actually a lack of this internally can cause your skin to go oily. Yours in skin health. Samantha

  2. Beth says:

    I love all the education in this site! Looking forward to starting with these products. Please keep educating us. Thank you. All the best.

      • Melissa says:

        Hi Samantha
        What a lovely read . It’s so nice to read something which is not an advertising speel ! I would really like some advice on products after reading your trusted article . My skin seems to be aging more quickly than that of my friends some much older than me . My skin is sensitive with an oily t zone . And my wrinkles seem to be very much under the eyes and sagging eye lids . Please could you recommend some help ? Thanks so much
        Melissa

        • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

          Hi melissa thank you for that lovely feedback makes me writing these articles all the more worthwhile when people really benefit from them. My 5 go to ingredients for ageing are Hyauronic acid, urea Vitamin C, peptides and Vitamin A which will also help balance oil in the skin which will be great for you. Keep inflammation out like the sun, harsh ingredients and treatments as this can lead to premature ageing. Good luck your sin skin health samantha

  3. Jessica Bodhaine says:

    Very informative, THANKS! I struggle with a dehydrated face due to medication and an autoimmune disorder. I swear by evening primrose oil! I also use varations of tea and/or oils. I probably have more time on my hands than most of you, so I get to do a lot of experimenting. Being young and newly disabled, controlling random new skin issues is my new “job”. Herbal Steams are amazing,(I never had time for that when I was working).
    Rambling, sorry. If you have an​ hour, you can infuse evening primrose oil with herbs, teas, whatever. (Several sites teach the diy infusion process. Most don’t come close to the info on this site though)
    Infusions last several months, don’t require refrigeration,and get stronger with time, (but can go rancid so check it occasionally and don’t let it sit around…Use it!), making them great for busy people that don’t remember how long their latest concotion has been sitting in the refrigerator. Mine is by my bed so I remember to use it in the morning and at night.
    *Let hydration products sink in before slathering moisturizer or thicker oils on your face!
    Learning how to hydrate my skin has made a HUGE difference in my skin! (I drink tons of water and herbal tea​, it wasn’t enough. Overnight olive oil, soaks weren’t either)(I still use olive oil after hydrating)
    These are a few herbs I use for hydration,(if any of these are not recommended​, PLEASE LET ME KNOW, as my knowledge is from the internet and LOTS of personal experimentations! Lol!)
    * Hibiscus Tea aka The Botox Plant
    *Bay Leafs (generally mixed with other herbs/teas)
    *Jasmine w/green tea (EXCELLENT for all types of nerve pain! I make some with Epsom salt, refrigerate for a potential cold compress for my diabetic friend. Great in a foot soak or bath. Neck/head Occipital nerve pain, spasms… I just put my used tea bag wherever I need it. I have Cervical Dystonia and it helps my spasms)
    *Rosemary/lavender tea (Rosemary can be a little strong)
    *Chamomile Tea (my absolute favorite on patchy days) My sister has terrible cystic acne. I had her put a used chamomile tea bag on her face for a few hours,(using a bandaid, which isn’t a good method for sensitive skin), but it worked for her! If you aren’t familiar with cystic acne, Google it, if chamomile tea can heal that in a short amount of time, It can do anything! I keep several types of chamomile infusions for different purposes. It has never let me down.
    *I always add rosehip seed oil and sometimes patchouli,(patchouli is thick so​I generally use it with moisturizer after hydrating).
    There are so many essential oils and herbs you can use. These are just what works for hydrating my face. I’ve tried EVERYTHING! The “essential oils cure everything” phase came with several disappointments,(I do still use them, just not as much). Teas and herbs usually don’t​ require a carrier. You get all of the hydrating, healing properties without being worried if you’ve diluted it enough! Tolerance levels vary for E.O.’s so I don’t like sharing specific amounts. If you are adding anything other than rosehip seed or primrose oil, start with 1-2 drops. E.O. goes a long way and isn’t always hydrating!
    Hydrating is COMPLETELY different than moisturizing!
    This site seems to have the most informative and ACCURATE information.
    My rambling is complete. Lol!

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Jessica
      I absolutely loved your ramblings and love that you love, the articles. It’s what makes my ramblings so worthwhile so thankyou for the feedback.
      I was so interested to read the healing benefits that you have experienced that I would love you to do an article for me, I am thinking of starting a new section on my blog combined interviews from people in the industry and from my readers, real people with real experiences which after all is the essence of the site ‘Transparency in beaut’y and you could be one of the first to feature let me know your thoughts and if you have a website I could give you a link back..Samantha

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Angelica

      I would certainly be recommending H20 this is a pure form of hylauronic a real drink for the skin. secondly Bio lipid oil and Fortify to replenish lost skin identical ingredients.

      Hope this helps

  4. penny price says:

    I agree my skin is very dehydrated it can be dull, sallow and lacked lustre…. Basically everything you covered in your wonderful article

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