Today’s biology lesson: The skin is the human body’s largest organ, and more than half of our body is made of water. Given these facts, it’s easy to understand why moisture management is so critical.
Your skin helps to retain your body’s moisture, but you also lose a lot of water through the skin when you sweat. Keeping these processes balanced is the key to dewy, hydrated skin. Here’s how to achieve ideal moisture balance.
How does skin get dry?
The very top layer of our skin is called the stratum corneum: it’s a part of the outermost layer, known as the epidermis. The stratum corneum is where moisture regulation occurs — so when skin becomes dry, it isn’t able to function properly.
When skin cells get dry, they shrink and become brittle, which makes them more prone to toxins, bacteria and other outside invaders that can affect skin health. The result is uncomfortable, tight-feeling, flaky skin that is much more prone to a variety of skin concerns — including shedding, premature ageing, and blemishes.
Does dry skin cause ageing?
While moisturised skin definitely looks healthier, smoother and younger, dry skin does not directly cause signs of aging. However, because dry skin is weaker and less protected, it is more prone to the processes and elements that do cause ageing. Wrinkles occur when our skin thins out and loses collagen, a protein that’s responsible for skin’s plumpness and elasticity.
If skin is dry, it’s easily irritated and inflamed, which can affect collagen production — and over time, can lead to sunken, wrinkled skin. Simply put, moisturising is a vital part of your anti-ageing efforts. It’s one of the simplest and easiest ways to promote plump, healthy skin.
What are the best ways to hydrate my skin?
- Cleanse gently. Achieving balanced skin starts with not stripping skin's natural moisture. You shouldn’t have to choose between clean-but-dry skin and dirty-but-nourished skin. Look for salicylic acid cleansers that gently exfoliate with nourishing ingredients, like allantoin, green tea extract or aloe. SLMD Skincare Salicylic Acid Cleanser contains exfoliants to clean the skin as well as allantoin and green tea extract to keep it hydrated.
- Moisturise effectively. Choosing a moisturiser can be tricky, so keep your eye out for products that have “blemish-prone skin” on the label to make sure it doesn’t occlude your skin (i.e. clog your pores), which can worsen any pre-existing blemishes. After cleansing, use SLMD Skincare Facial Moisturizer to replenish your skin’s natural nutrients. It’s packed with powerful antioxidants like vitamins C and E, which help brighten the complexion.
For daytime, be sure to follow with a non comedogenic, broad spectrum sunscreen.
Should I moisturise if I have oily skin?
Though it may sound counterintuitive to add moisture to skin that’s already oily and blemish-prone, having oily skin doesn’t mean your skin is hydrated. In fact, you can have a complexion that’s both oily and dry — and dry skin can actually make breakouts much worse.
Here are Dr. Lee’s top tips for keeping blemish-prone skin moisturised:
- If you have oily skin, avoid occlusive products like Vaseline and opt for lightweight, oil-free moisturisers that will let your skin breathe.
- Use water-rich topical products to hydrate your complexion on top of your usual moisturiser. Serums containing niacinamide and hyaluronic acid — like SLMD Skincare Skin Drink — are great non comedogenic options.
The best way to give your skin everything it needs is to build a skincare regimen that cleanses, moisturises and protects your skin. SLMD Skincare Blemish-Prone Skin System takes out the guesswork with 3 easy steps, morning and night.
Dr. Lee’s last word
There is some belief out there that if you have oily skin, you don’t need to or even shouldn’t moisturise. This is NOT true — ALL skin types need moisturiser. However, if you have oily skin, you should be more selective about what moisturiser you’re using.
—Dr. Sandra Lee