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The moisturiser myth

Published: Tue January 08, 2013
Categories: The Myth Minx
Tags: anti-ageing, beauty, Dehydration, fiona, glowing skin, healthy, Inadequate Moisturiser, moisturiser, skinstitut

Welcome back (and a very Happy New Year) to my regular readers. And to those of you who are new to the Myth Minx Blog, I hope you’ll enjoy uncovering the many myths surrounding the cosmetic & beauty industry with me each Tuesday. You can also tweet me on twitter @Skinstitut using my hashtag #MythMinx This week, I wanted to start the new-year talking about one of the biggest myths within the skin care industry, Moisturiser. Many of you will no doubt be looking towards 2013 and hoping to achieve better-looking brighter skin. To achieve this goal there are probably many trends, treatments & products that are on your mind to make sure you achieve youthful, glowing skin. However, one product that is often underrated in the ongoing effect it has on our skin is the humble moisturiser. Many people believe: “As long as I moisturise, it doesn’t really matter which one I use.” Others think, “As long as it’s expensive, then I know it will work.” All in all, both of these thoughts are not true, when it comes to the renewal of your skin. Sure, It is probably moisturisers that garner the most attention in our daily skincare routine -- since these skin care products have the potential to restore moisture to the skin and, in the process, make way for suppler, softer and smoother skin.  However, with a society that values youthful beauty especially where the skin is concerned, moisturisers are, indeed, valuable parts of the cosmetic and dermatologic pantheon. But many choose a moisturiser for the wrong reasons… According to a US study on skin care products; moisturisers are the third most popular over-the-counter topical skin products with hydrocortisone (steroid used to relieve skin inflammation and allergies) and anti-infectives (medicine used to inhibit bacteria, fungi and viruses). These products come in many forms from lotions and creams to gel-based formulations that act in similar manners.Most supermarkets and drug stores as well as online sites carry an array of brands and formulations of moisturisers.  The trick is in choosing the right one for your skin type and needs as well as your budget. What ingredients should your moisturiser include? There are three basic ingredients in a moisturiser – humectants, emollients and occlusives – without which a moisturiser will not be a moisturiser.  The rest of the ingredients listed on the labels are just fillers, fragrances and additives that can be absent without significantly affecting the efficacy of the skin care product. First, humectants attract water in two ways – one, improve water absorption from the dermis (skin layer between epidermis and subcutaneous layers) into the epidermis and, two, help the stratum corneum absorb water from the environment. Second, emollients include lipids and oils that hydrate the layers of skin.  As s result, these substances improve the appearance and feel of the skin mainly by enhancing elasticity and flexibility. Third, occlusives lessen evaporation by creating a protective barrier over the skin.  These substances work best when applied on slightly damp skin, thus, the common recommendation of applying moisturisers after a bath. What doses of ingredients should ideally be in your moisurizer? The above-mentioned ingredients are usually formulated in balanced doses.  In this way, the humectants work with the occlusives in improving skin hydration while the emollients improve on the skin elasticity. So what should you truly look out for when selecting a moisturiser? Ultimately, your choice of a moisturiser should depend on how well your skin responds to its ingredients in the long-term period. Basically, a good moisturiser holds in the water content in the epidermal layer, provides a protective layer on the skin’s exterior and prevents water loss through evaporation.  In the end, your skin feels softer and suppler to the touch while being smoother in appearance – truly, youthful skin even as you advance in age. All the others are nothing but a myth.   What do you think? What makes you choose a moisturiser? What have been some of the myths that you’ve fallen for when selecting one as part of your daily routine? 

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