Proper Moisturizing for Your Skin Type
Aug 8, 2013 - 2:31:10 PM
Though we think of our skin as an inactive organ, there is actually constant water movement throughout its various layers. When the water reaches the surface layer, called the epidermis, it is likely to evaporate, leaving the body forever. This natural process, as well as the body's overall hydration, and the environment in which a person lives can affect the level of moisture in the skin. Thus, it is recommended that everyone use a topical moisturizer to maintain a healthy balance of skin hydration.
Effective moisturizers can improve the look of the skin by evening both its texture and tone while camouflaging imperfections. Moisturizers are not simply a cosmetic fix for dry skin, but also a preventative measure for the discomfort caused by this condition. It is also essential to a person's overall health that the outer layer of skin remains intact. Skin conditioners are marketed for a variety of skin types, and it is important to understand how the ingredients in each product will either benefit you or be a disadvantage to your skin's health.
The Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) is the group of humectants that naturally occur in the skin to help it maintain a certain level of moisture. The skin can self-moisturize through the combination of naturally-occurring substances such as lactic acid and glycolic acid. Many of the moisture-retaining molecules found in the skin are also added to skin moisturizers.
Moisturizers can be divided into two categories: humectants and occlusives. Humectants promote water absorption either within the epidermis or atop its outermost layer by forming a bond to the moisture content. Glycerin, which is a common ingredient in moisturizing products, is one example of a humectant. The molecules of glycerin are small enough to penetrate the skin and help it to absorb water. A larger molecule in the humectant family, hyaluronic acid, naturally occurs within the body. The particles of hyaluronic acid cannot readily penetrate the epidermis and are found in plumping lip glosses or injectable fillers.
Occlusives prevent water from leaving the skin by forming a barrier composed of oil that remains on the skin's surface. Petroleum jelly and paraffin are two common mineral oils and examples of occlusive moisturizers. Typically, these or other oils are combined with additional ingredients to form lotions and creams, as oils are not accepted as appropriate to put directly onto the face.
Skin moisturizers may be composed of humectants, occlusives, or a combination of the two types of moisturizers. Different types of skin warrant varying treatment plans. Occlusives are best suited for dry skin, known medically as xerosis, because of their high oil content. Normal or combination skin can benefit from both occlusive and humectant moisturizers, while oily skin can be maintained through a water-based humectant moisturizer.
Dr. Mark M. Hamilton, M.D., FACS is an Indianapolis, Indiana-based facial plastic surgeon who holds a double board certification with the American Board of Otolaryngology and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Contact Dr. Hamilton by phone locally at (317) 859-3810 or toll-free at (800) 597-3223, or via the online contact form at http://www.hamiltonfps.com/
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