Keeping Your Skin Moist
I think that for most people proper skin care starts with being adequately hydrated. Ok, here’s a shocker if your skin is healthy it does not really need any additional moisture! wow, i know i was shocked when I first heard this too. Our beautiful skin is quite capable of keeping itself hydrated. The skins surface is kept soft and moist by 2 things our sebum and a natural moisturizing factor (NMF).
The sebum, is a waxy clear substance that is made up of lipids, and acts as a natural emollient and barrier. It keeps us protected and it waterproofs our hair and skin and it also keeps it from becoming dry and cracked! It also helps inhibit the growth of microorganisms on our skin. Sebum, which when translated means”fat” is made up of many things we produce such as wax esters, triglycerides, fatty acids and squalene. It can vary the amount of sebum we produce and can be genetically predetermined. It varies due to season change, also. The fact is the amount of sebum needed to keep our skin healthy and moist is very small. There are people who are lucky to believe their skin is too oily, when in actuality they are only producing 2 grams of sebum per year, amazing! We have fallen under the impression that it is our enemy when it truly is not. We really do not need to have deep cleanings and strip away our natural moisture.
I know there are times when your skin may feel tight, dry, scaly. This is because your skins natural oil barrier is losing its effectiveness. Why? Probably because of weather, its cold and windy or dry and windy. Instead of letting our skin heal itself we want to slather it with chemicals and heavy creams. Don’t Do It!!!
So while the sebum locks in the moisture the natural moisturizing factor keeps your skin hydrated. Our NMF is a combination of many substances such as water, free amino acids, lactic acid, and urea along with several others that maintain the skins moisture and suppleness by holding and attracting water. Our water content for our skin is normally 30%. Also to help keep this moisture locked in our skin we have a barrier that is called the transepidermal water loss.
This provides constant movement of our bodies water through our skin,and also can be affected by weather, seasons, and humidity. We have to remember that as we get older our skin starts to lose its own moisture and in order to maintain a healthy balance we should use oils that resemble our own natural oils, and not slather our skin in heavy chemical ladened creams.