Whenever I would say this to my clients they would always look at me shocked and tell me ‘I’ve been told to cleanse, tone & moisturise for my entire life!’ From an early age we’re constantly taught to moisturise our skin to stop it drying out, but this actually is doing more damage than good.
Let me explain…we have 3 main layers of our skin: the epidermis, this is the visible layer of skin and provides a barrier against the outside world. The dermis, beneath the epidermis, is the living layer which contains collagen, blood vessels, oil & sweat glands. The deeper subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) is made of fat and connective tissue.
Our visible layer of skin (epidermis) doesn’t just appear there, we have monthly skin cycles where the skin from the bottom of the epidermis (stratum basale) moves up to the surface where we shed it off. This process starts to slows down as when get into our mid 20’s, which is why we should exfoliate regularly to keep the process going and stimulate new cells to keep coming through as efficiently as possible.
What moisturisers actually do
A lot of cheap moisturisers are most commonly a combination of oil and water which can not be absorbed into the skin due to their large molecular weight. If the moisture cannot penetrate the skin it will only hydrate the outer layer of dead skin which, as I’m sure you can guess, is dead. We do not need it, there is no benefit to it being hydrated. If you are just using a moisturiser and not doing anything to remove surface dead skin cells, then as you apply it, you are essentially sticking the dead skin cells back onto the skin. This can lead to a dull, tired looking complexion and premature ageing!
Let me ask, when you get out of the shower does your skin feel dry and tight until you put moisturiser on? I’m afraid to say that your skin has become a moisturiser addict and is now dependent. With continuous use of moisturisers, the outer layers of skin are regularly saturated and, as a result your skin responds by stopping making its own hydration as it is registering hydration and doesn’t think any more is needed. Due to this reduction in natural skin hydration, all the epidermal skin layers miss out, as the moisture doesn’t travel up with new skin cells during the renewal process!
All is not lost however! I haven’t used a traditional moisturiser on my skin for 4 years now and I never suffer with my skin feeling dry. To begin with it was hard, it took around 6-8 weeks of not using moisturiser for my skin to stop feeling dry, but I haven’t looked back! Here’s a few hints and tips to make the process easier:
- Use a decent quality exfoliator to keep the cell turnover happening
- Get yourself a high-quality hydrating product that contains hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate is an especially good form of hyaluronic acid) or vitamin B5. These products are low molecular weight and highly absorbed by the skin, so you get deep, long lasting hydration
- Using vitamin A (retinol) products really boosts cell turnover and is a potent antioxidant. This will help to rebuild the skin’s resilience. Be aware that higher levels of vitamin A can cause the skin to be dry and flaky, so when wanting to increase hydration levels start low and stick with 0.2% or 0.3% and increase over time
There are thousands of products on the market, as always, I would suggest going to an aesthetic clinic to get the best advice for your skin but here are some personal favourite hydrating products of mine:
- ZENii Hyaluronic acid booster serum – RRP £70
- Hydrating B5 gel from Skinceuitcals – RRP £65
- HydraFacial’s Pur Moist oil free – RRP £45
- ZO Overnight recovery crème – RRP £80
If you’re interested in learning more about this subject here’s a link to a fantastic interview with Dr. Zein Obagi discussing this subject with Refinery 29. He is one of the world’s leading dermatologists…I fan girl over him regularly:
If you have any questions or would like any suggestions on clinics in your area feel free to contact me.
Thank you for reading