Facial Skin Improvement Techniques
Why it matters, If you think of the difference between a plum and a prune, a grape and a raisin, you’ll see what a difference moisture – or lack of it-can make! Moisture is the magic ingredient which keeps skin soft and supple and keeps it looking young. Make moisturising a regular step in your skin care routine and your complexion will reap these benefits.
Why your skin needs water
When we talk of moisture in relation to your skin, we really mean water. It is the skin’s water content which keeps it looking good and keeps it healthy too.
If your skin lacks sufficient water it will become rough and dry. Fine lines may form and the skin may appear thinner and more fragile.
Skin which is short of water is also less supple so that it may crack or become chapped.
Harsh winds, hot sun, cold weather and dry air from central heating are just some of the external factors that can take moisture from your skin.
Skin is a very complex structure and the ways that it retains water are equally complicated. Basically, there are three natural ‘barriers’ which prevent too much water loss. The uppermost layer of the skin provides two and the ‘acid mantle’ makes up the third.
The uppermost layer of the skin is made up of dead cells. These overlap to form a natural barrier to regulate water loss. Within the uppermost layer are chemical substances called Natural Moisturising Factors which also help to hold water in the skin.
The ‘acid mantle’ on the skin’s surface is a film of water, perspiration and sebum – an oily substance secreted from glands below the skin’s surface. The oil in this film helps to ‘fix’ water to the skin.
How water is lost
A small amount of water is, nevertheless, continually lost from the surface of the skin through evaporation. At the same time, the lost water is continually being replaced from the skin’s lower layers. Ideally, water loss and replacement should be regulated by the skin so that water content is always kept at the right level. But only skin which is in good condition will function ideally. Dry skin does not control its water content well and all skins become drier with age.
There are also many external factors which speed up the rate at which water is lost. Harsh winds, hot sun, cold weather and dry air from central heating all increase the evaporation of surface water from the skin.If the skin is immersed for too long a time in water, particularly hot water, it will lose water and become dry. You can see this by looking at your fingertips after a long, hot bath.
Chemical factors, too, can lead to excessive water loss. Many detergents and household cleansers can cause dryness because they damage or even temporarily remove both the Natural Moisturing Factors and the skin’s ‘acid mantle’. The ‘acid mantle’ can also be adversely affected by using unsuitable cosmetic products. For example, an astringent made for an oily skin but used on a dry skin would remove essential oil and leave the skin very dry.
Although your skin needs water, that alone can’t be used as a moisturiser as it would quickly evaporate. And although oil will ‘fix’ water to the skin, that alone can’t moisturise either. A moisturiser combines both oil and water.
Moisturisers keep your skin looking good by:
• adding more moisture
• helping to retain moisture
• counteracting the effects of moisture loss
• protecting your skin against dry conditions
• making your skin smoother, so that makeup goes on better and stays on better.