During seasonal changes your skin may become dry, cracked and itchy. Factors such as aging, environment and poor nutrition can contribute to dull, flaky skin. There are so many different types of lotion marketed for dry skin, which one do you choose? What ingredients do you want in your lotion and what are their purposes?
Glycerin is a sugar-alcohol composed of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. It’s a thick, colorless, and odorless liquid. It is soluble in water, sweet to the taste and non-toxic, it is 100% natural and improves the skin. Glycerin pulls water from the atmosphere onto your skin. The best time to apply a moisturizer with glycerin is immediately after a shower, when the bathroom is still full of moisture. Glycerin is inexpensive so most products have a good amount of it and it’s silky so you can apply your makeup right after applying the lotion.
Ceramides give you an immediate glow by relieving dry, itchy skin. Ceramides are fats found naturally in the skin, their entire job is to seal in water so that the skin cells don’t dry out. They reinforce the skin’s natural moisture barrier and are absorbed very quickly. A healthy skin barrier is made of a combination of lipids, including cholesterol, free fatty acids, and ceramides. These help to maintain the optimal amount of healthy bacteria and flora so your skin remains balanced and protected. Because ceramides help your skin hold moisture they are vital to any routine that will provide long-lasting hydration.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a gel substance found naturally in the skin as well as in the fluid around the eyes, connective tissues, cartilage and joints. It serves a vital function in tissue repair and healing, cell proliferation, providing elasticity and filling space in tissues. When injected as a filler, hyaluronic acid helps to fill in fine lines and crepey skin because it absorbs water, in turn plumping the skin. It can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Applied to the skin’s surface, it adds moisture. However, hyaluronic acid is quite expensive so many moisturizers that include it have a very small amount. Look for a product that has HA listed towards the top of the ingredient list. Aging, over exposure to the sun and certain environmental factors can cause the skin to decrease in its natural ability to produce HA. As the skin loses its ability to produce HA on its own the plump, soft, youthful look you are used to will start to give way to the effects of gravity.
Not all acids are bad. Lactic acid exfoliates and also hydrates by retaining moisture in the skin. It has been used in skin care for over 70 years. Many people experience dry legs in the winter, but applying a product with lactic acid while still damp from the shower, then layering on a basic moisturizer will fix the issue. Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from fermented milk and used to improve skin’s texture and hydration levels. Cleopatra was rumored to bathe in sour milk to improve her skin tone. Hydroxy acids are now used in moisturizers, cleansers, toners and masks.
Petrolatum is a very thick substance and the film it leaves traps the moisture in the skin, decreasing natural water loss. It helps to fill in cracks from chapped skin, although it may feel greasy so it’s best to use overnight. It should get rid of those rough patches of skin.
Peptides are amino acids that help to boost collagen production, which helps to provide the strength behind your skin’s structure. Collagen provides your skin with the strength it needs to be resilient, strong and smooth. Certain peptides help alert your skin to make more collagen to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Argan oil is a plant extract from the nuts of the argan tree and has been used as a moisturizer for centuries. However, it is a relatively new ingredient being introduced to commercially available beauty products. Argan oil in 100% pure form contains vitamin E and unsaturated fatty acids that help with certain skin issues such as acne and dry skin and can be applied directly to the affected area. It is quite moisturizing and has antioxidant properties. Argan oil makes skin smooth, silky and younger-looking because of its high concentrations of vitamins A and E.
Vitamins K, C, D and E are considered powerful antioxidants and they fight age-related free radical damage to the skin. Vitamin D is created in your skin by exposure to sunlight. It is transported through the body to create healthy cells, playing an important role in skin tone. Vitamin C is found in high levels in the epidermis. It has cancer-fighting antioxidant properties and has a major role in collagen production to help keep skin healthy and young looking. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant. Its main function is to protect against sun damage, as it absorbs the harmful UV rays from the sun when applied to the skin. It helps to prevent dark spots and wrinkles. Vitamin K is essential in your body’s healing process. It helps with skin conditions such as stretch marks, spider veins, scars, dark spots and even under eye circles.
Retinoid forms of vitamin A are commonly found in skin care products. Retinol works to increase cell turnover by stimulating cell production underneath the skin. Vitamins C and E remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents. These three vitamins enhance your skin’s youthful appearance.
Silicone is perfect for facial moisturizers. It makes the skin feel silky smooth instantly and can help to fill lines and cover and reduce the appearance of scars, leaving a flawless, matte look.
Make sure when in the sun you use a facial lotion that contains sunscreen. The sun’s damaging rays can cause skin discoloration as well as wrinkles. The SPF of the moisturizer should be at least 15 even on non-sunny days.
Snow mushroom is a fairly new additive to some skin care products. Snow mushroom extract allegedly can hold 500 times its weight in water and locks it in, so it’s great for moisturizing the skin.
Oils are now being included in many skin care products, and for good reason. If they are similar to your skin’s natural oils, they absorb into the skin quickly, softening the surface. Oils are also plant based and often include antioxidants which help to prevent damage from free radicals. Commonly used oils include olive, avocado, coconut and argan oil.
Shea butter is a very effective facial moisturizer because it creates a natural protective film on the skin that prevents water loss while also smoothing dry, flaky skin. It also pulls moisture from toners and serums and seals it all in.
Using a chemical exfoliant regularly will help moisturizing ingredients penetrate the skin and work better. If you have layer after layer of dead skin cells, none of the ingredients will actually penetrate to reach your active skin cells. Make sure to exfoliate so that the ingredients from your products are effectively absorbed.