Moisturizer Breakdown Part 1 – the why, how, when and what of skin moisturizing
Our skin is our largest organ.
Yep. most of us know this. But, what does the skin actually do for our bodies?
At the most obvious level, our skin protects us. Our skin acts as a barrier to a variety of external factors such as bacteria, chemicals and temperature. The skin contains secretions that can kill bacteria, and the pigment melanin provides a chemical pigment defense against ultraviolet light that can damage skin cells. Additionally, our skin helps in temperature regulation through vassal constriction to preserve body heat, and sweating to cool the body.
The skin also functions as a large storeroom for the body. The deepest layers of the skin can store water, fat and metabolic products. The skin produces hormones that are important to the entire body system.
Most sensationally, the skin allows us to feel, literally. The skin is full of nerve ending and touch receptors that allow us to detect cold, hot, smooth, rough, pressure, tickle, itch, pain, vibrations, and more. The skins “sense of touch” is what gives our brains a wealth of information about the natural environment, including temperature, humidity, and air pressure. This sense of touch lets us feel physical pain–a necessity for avoiding injury, disease, and danger. Alternatively, this sense also allows us to experience tenderness, kindness and wellbeing. Massages, hugs, holding hands, kisses… are all facilitates through the skin and sense of touch.
Wow, skin is amazing!
Yes, it is! And keeping our skin healthy, helps it function optimally.
Regular moisturizing helps to nourish our skin and reduce skin problems. Moisturizing everyday can reduce the chance of developing extreme dryness or oiliness. Both extremes are harmful for skin and cause common skin conditions like acne.
Our skin is constantly regenerating itself. New skin cells are regularly replacing old cells. Healthy, well moisturized skin can more rapidly repair itself, allowing new, younger skin cells to rise to the surface. Also, the massaging affect that is used when applying lotion helps stimulate blood circulation and new cell generation.
Aesthetically, moisturizing is important to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. As we age, our skin becomes dryer. Our skin produces less natural oils, suffers sun damage and decreases in cell renewal. This causes dry, tighter skin and more wrinkles. A study published by the British Journal of Dermatology compared the number of wrinkles and levels of skin hydration in 122 women over a period of eight years. The researchers found that on average, a 28-year-old woman had a 52% increase in visible wrinkles by the time she was 36 if she had dry skin, compared to a 22% increase in women with well-hydrated skin.
Healthy skin care tips.
How can you increase the moisture level of your skin?
Your skin’s health is reflective of your overall health. To help keep your skin healthy and well moisturized, drinking plenty of water is most important and obvious. Drinking at least 80 oz of water a day will help to provide vital hydration. Additionally, eating a diet rich in vitamins, antioxidants and healthy oils helps to support the health of your skin. A clean, whole food diet helps to provide your skin with nutrients that encourage smoother skin, help clear blemishes and support healthy skin function.
In addition to diet, your skin care routine can help support the health of your skin. Be sure to use mild soaps on your skin. Avoid soaps and shampoos that contain alcohols and synthetic fragrances that strip your skin of moisture. Use soaps made from natural, nutrient rich oils to help nourish your skin and maintain the natural oils of your body. When showering or bathing, less is more. Hot showers and baths are not good for your skin. Shower for a shorter amount of time and with warm water. You’ll see the difference in your skin. When you get out of the shower or bath gently pat your skin dry instead of rubbing. By patting dry, your skin will retain more of the moisture you are going to seal in when you moisturize.
Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize!
Help your skin be it’s best!
The most important times to use moisturizer are after a bath, shave or exfoliation. Moisturizing after a shower is very important because hot water strips all the moisture and oils out of your skin, leaving it parched and dry. While hot water may be relaxing, it also wreaks havoc on your skin. Never skip the moisturizer. It’s crucial to moisturize your skin any time it comes into contact with water.
Most skincare professionals suggest moisturizing twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. This ensures your skin’s moisture will remain constant both throughout the day and while you sleep.
Other times to be attentive to your skin’s moisture needs are at the change of seasons, when traveling and during your menses. Changes in exterior climate and/or hormones will cause a shifts in your skin’s moisture content. Both cold winter air and hot summer sun are drying. Traveling typically includes periods of recycled dry air and less water consumption. And during your menses, estrogen levels fall leaving your skin dryer and more sensitive. These are all times to be more attentive to your skin’s need for extra moisture.
Read the label!
Your moisturizer should be skin food.
Yes, your skin is a protective barrier, but it is also permeable. 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed. The moisturizers you choose should not only be non-toxic, but they should help nourish and support the health of your skin.
When choosing a moisturizer, avoid harsh and toxic chemicals that dry the skin and can cause hormone and environmental disruption. Watch for stabilizers such as Polyethylene Glycol and range of preservatives that can contain ethylene oxide, formaldehydes or parabens which can be carcinogenic. Avoid synthetic fragrances which can most notably include diethyl phthalate. Phthalates like DBP, DEHP, and DEP are a class of plasticizing chemicals known to be endocrine disruptors and toxic to organ systems. In addition to being harmful to our bodies, many moisturizers contain micro plastics and chemicals that are disruptive to our water and soil. And, the packaging is commonly not reusable or recyclable.
Think of your moisturizer as skin food, and just like delicious, fresh fruits and vegetables, Mother Nature provides! When choosing a moisturizer, look for whole, natural ingredients that are preferably organic. Organic oils and butters contain less pollutants, are less harmful to our environment, and are more nutrient and antioxidant dense. Not only do they help your skin to feel softer, but they also provide vitamins and minerals vital to your skins’ health. Look for moisturizers with natural, non-synthetic scents. Essential oils are extracted from actual plant materials and therefore contain some the therapeutic properties of those plants, plus they smell better! Finally, don’t forget to follow your moisturizer through it’s entire life cycle. Choose a brand with sustainable, ethical ingredient sourcing and environmentally responsible packaging.
We’ve got you covered!
From skin health, to ethics and environment.
Living Earth Naturals has a range of safe and sound moisturizers to choose from. All are made from sustainably, ethically sourced, certified organic oils and butters. We use extra virgin and unrefined oils for highest nutrient value. Our thickeners and stabilizers are plant based and eco certified, and we only use therapeutic grade essential oils for scent. Our packaging is always reusable or recyclable, and even our shipping supplies are eco friendly. When it comes to your skin, we are here to help you connect your personal and planetary care.
And, we also make lots of fun, mild, natural soaps that won’t dry you out!
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