Moisturisers work, they do exactly what they say they will, they moisturise your skin. Moisturise = hydrate = more water in the outer layers of your skin. Moisturised skin is healthy and plump.
Moisturisers provide hydration to the outer layers of the skin either by blocking moisture evaporating (occlusives) or encouraging water into your skin (humectants). More moisture in the skin = nice feeling, soft skin. Using a moisturiser can help protect skin from the elements and help prevent dry skin. Moisturisers also help to improve skin tone and texture. Which you would know if you have ever used a moisturiser.
You may see claims for products that ‘moisturise deeper’, these still only moisturise the outer layers of your skin (epidermis), just a little bit deeper than the moisturiser they used as a comparison for the moisturiser makers carried out.
Moisturisers can be thick or thin. Pick which one suits your skin type best (thin and non oil based is better for oily skin), dry skin needs a hardcore, thick moisturiser (like a moisturiser containing urea, petroleum jelly, aka, Vaseline).
Night Creams – Night creams often contain the same ingredients as day creams. They just use a scent that you will associate with ‘night’ and tend to be a thicker texture than day creams. It is personal preference, but I think you only need one cream that is unless you have very dry skin and want to load up on the moisturiser at night without looking like your face is covered in grease during the day.
Older skin is drier. As you age oil glands become less active the amount of natural moisturisers in the skin ( Proteoglycans) also reduces. This results in drier skin.
Soaps, shower gels dry out skin (even if they say ‘moisturising’).
Scents and colourings in moisturisers can all cause allergic reactions.
Additives – Collagen, Anti-oxidants, SPF
Moisturisers are often laden with additives to make them stand out or differ from the moisturiser sat next to them on the shelf. What good are these additives and do they really add anything to the product?
Collagen – Collagen in a moisturiser is no use. Collagen is a natural skin molecule found in abundance in the Dermis (which is below the epidermis). Collagen is a connective protein that supports the lymph and blood vessels in the skin. This is where the oil glands and sweat glands are found. Collagen (along with another set of proteins called elastins) is responsible for skin elasticity, tone and texture. As many people now know, it is believed that the amount of collagen in our skin reduces as we age. So cosmetic companies bung collagen into moisturisers in abundance (the collagen used is usually from cows, fish or birds). The molecules of collagen in moisturisers cannot penetrate deep enough into the skin to replenish collagen lost with ageing. Any ‘plumping’ effect is usually caused by the moisturiser that traps water in the skin and makes it appear plump and more youthful. So the inclusion of collagen in a moisturiser is pointless.
Anti-oxidants – Anti-oxidants fight ‘oxidants’ also known as ‘free radicals’ which are molecules that can cause damage to biological systems (including damaging DNA). I will be tackling these little blighters in their own post. The evidence at the moment is that the use of these in a moisturiser will not prevent you from getting wrinkly nor will they get rid of any wrinkles you already have.
SPF – USEFUL. SPF stands for sun protection factor. The sun causes aging and cancer. Use a moisturiser that contains a high level of SPF and take other precautions to keep your skin out of the sun.
There are an endless number of additives that can be included in moisturisers. I will be tackling the rest of them as they appear!