Did you know that moisturizing is one of the most important things you can do to keep your skin and body at optimal health? According to science, the outermost layer of our skin, the stratum corneum, “is the first line of defense for the body, serving an essential role as a protective barrier against the external environment.”
In order to ensure that our skin is effective at keeping our bodies protected from bacteria, weather, and toxins, we must maintain the health of that outer layer. The stratum corneum, also known as the moisture barrier, is key to maintaining hydration and water retention as well as giving our skin that glowing look.
Why is moisturizing good for me and my skin?
When your skin is dry, the stratum corneum forms cracks and openings between the protective cells, which can allow irritants and viruses into the body. Additionally, these cracks show up as flaky or hard looking skin. Applying moisturizer hydrates and plumps up the cells in the stratum corneum, allowing them to form a better protective layer and for the skin to appear smooth and soft.
As those skin cells plump up, they also have the desirable effect of filling in fine lines and wrinkles. Moisturizing may not exactly be anti-aging, but according to Academic Dermatologist Michael Detmar, “most [anti-wrinkle] cosmetic treatments are variations on moisturizers, because they immediately reduce the appearance of fine lines by 15-20%.”
In addition to making your skin look good, moisturizing is also beneficial to the skin’s healing process. The natural cycle of skin cell renewal takes less than a month in young people with healthy skin, but this tends to slow down as we age or if we do not take good care of our skin and can result in dullness and scarring. Moisturizing encourages skin regeneration, helping to heal wounds and reduce the appearance of scars and dark spots.
What is the best way to moisturize my skin?
In order to maintain optimal skin health, it is important to moisturize on a regular basis. Everyone’s skin and lifestyles are different (not to mention that our skin changes depending on our age, our environment, and what’s going on in our lives any given week), so it’s important to find a skincare routine that works for you.
There are millions of skincare products out there and one might think that a detailed, 10-step routine is necessary to keep their skin looking and feeling good, but that is far from the truth. Even if you never do anything else for your skin, following a few simple steps will help you maintain a protective moisture barrier and healthy skin.
Follow this two-step process daily for healthy, hydrated, and glowing skin:
Step 1: Get your skin wet.
Wetting your skin before applying a moisturizer helps to plump up the cells in the stratum corneum layer, therefore allowing your moisturizer to penetrate deeper into the skin. Applying an oil-based moisturizer on top of dry skin can actually be counterproductive, resulting in the oils sitting on top of the skin and clogging your pores rather than getting absorbed.
The easiest way to do this is simply to wash your face or take a shower before moisturizing, but we also like to use a botanical toner if we’re in a hurry. Our Hydrosols and Witch Hazel face sprays are perfect for this.
Step 2: Apply an oil-based moisturizer, aka an emollient.
Oil-based moisturizers are ideal for ensuring that your skin gets deep hydration. Oils emollients provide moisture to the outer layer of the skin and smooth out the skin cells. We recommend choosing an oil that mimics the skin’s natural sebum (like jojoba, almond, argan, or hemp seed oil) for the best effects.
Oils can be used on all skin types, including oily or acne-prone skin. Applying an oil that is similar to your skin’s naturally occurring sebum helps the skin to balance its own oil production so it will not overproduce more oil, which is a common cause of acne.
If you’re interested in moving beyond the basics of moisturizing, these three additional tips will amp up your routine for radiant, healthy skin:
1. Apply a serum.
This step goes in between getting your face wet and applying an oil-based moisturizer. Serums, like our Electric Daisy Regenerative Day Serum, are packed full of antioxidants and beneficial ingredients that feed your skin. Allowing these powerful compounds to soak in before locking them in with a moisturizer is a great way to target specific skin issues like acne, damaged skin, anti-aging, or irritation.
2. Apply an occlusive layer.
Occlusives are rich, heavy moisturizers like shea butter, cocoa butter, or vaseline that create a layer over your skin to lock in moisture and prevent water loss. It is best to apply an occlusive layer after allowing your oil-based moisturizer to soak in for a few minutes during a nighttime skincare routine.
3. Nourish from the inside-out.
Your skin is one area where the saying “you are what you eat” definitely applies. Foods like sugar, dairy, alcohol, and carbohydrates can cause stress, breakouts, and irritation in your skin. On the other hand, eating a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods and drinking lots of water can greatly improve your skin’s health and appearance. Foods rich in Omega-3’s (like sesame, hemp, and flax seeds) can be particularly helpful for balancing your skin’s sebum production and preventing acne.
The steps outlined in this article are simply the building blocks for a skincare routine that fits your lifestyle and body. We highly recommend experimenting with different products and ingredients to figure out what works best for you. Let us know your essential moisturizing routine for glowing skin in the comments below!