Quench your skin

G Magazine

Keep your skin supple with this super simple guide to moisturising.


Credit: iStockphoto

- Advertisement -

With so many jars of goop on the shelves, choosing a moisturiser can be mind boggling. There are those
that promise to hydrate, smooth or energise the skin – and then there is the anti-ageing arsenal that boldly promise to stop the clock and turn back time. Tantalising descriptions aside, the most fundamental and important job of a moisturiser is, believe it or not, to ensure skin is ‘moisturised’.

Keeping moisture trapped in the skin’s surface layers is important for influencing the strength, texture and overall appearance of the skin; but most importantly it helps to maintain the skin’s barrier function. Our skin’s surface is a barrier to the outside world: it protects us from environmental assault, sun damage, infection, micro-organisms, inhibits loss of water and last but not least, is the organ of touch – making it preferable for your skin to feel and look radiant and healthy!

If you look at the structure of the surface layer of the skin and what it needs to function well, then finding the right ingredients becomes simpler. The skin is made up of both oily and watery parts. The watery parts of the skin cell contain natural moisturising factors (NMFs) and include everything from organic acids, water, sugars, amino acids, minerals and hylauronic acid. These keep the skin lovely and hydrated. Then there are the oily parts in between the skin cells made up of fats and lipids; namely cholesterol, ceramides, lipids, sterols etc. These also keep the skin hydrated and protected and help prevent water loss.

The levels of moisturisation we need change over time. When we are children, our skin is the most normal it will ever be, so not much extra moisture is required. As we age levels of oil diminish in the skin, so more oil in a formulation is warranted. Adversely, for oily skinned teenagers, a watery gel with humectants (these help attract water from the atmosphere and keep the skin hydrated, such as glycerin, aloe vera and hylauronic acid) without the oil content suffices. There are many other factors that can diminish the levels of moisture in the skin: environmental assault, cold weather, harsh skincare products, hot showers, stress, illness and what we put into our mouths!

What to look for in a moisturiser

When choosing a moisturiser, look for ingredients that will mimic your skin’s natural substances; water, oil, along with humectants.

We share a wonderful synergy with plants; sharing many similar elements; making them ideal for replenishing our moisture supplies. Certain natural and plant ingredients contain similar NMFs to those found in our skin cells including aloe vera, herbal extracts, vegetable glycerin, algae, honey and lecithin.

Nut and vegetable oils mimic many of the fatty acids, lipids and ceramides found in the oily parts of our skin. For example as we age and moisture levels decrease, macadamia nut oil and evening primrose oil are an ideal lipid replacement. Other skin-loving oils include grapeseed oil, rosehip oil, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, borage oil, rice bran oil and avocado oil. Choose certified organic products – they’re free of nasty toxins and rich in antioxidants.

What to stay well away from

Steer clear of mineral oil in cosmetics as it blocks skin pores and robs the skin of its fat-soluble vitamins – plus it is from an unsustainable and unhealthy source; specifically a byproduct of producing gasoline for cars from crude oil. Paraffin and petrolatum sit in this category too. Parabens are commonly found as preservatives in many moisturisers, though are known to be allergens and possible carcinogens. Propylene glycol, also widely used, is known to cause skin irritations and dermatitis along with inhibiting skin cell growth. If in doubt, do a little online research.

Rejuvenating Facial Night Moisturiser:

Jojoba oil mimics human sebum and because it is actually a wax, it is a natural humectant. Rosehip oil is super rich in skin-rejuvenating fatty acids and transretinoic acid. Both lavender and rose geranium are rejuvenating and anti-inflammatory.

35 ml jojoba oil
10 ml of rosehip oil
5 drops rose geranium oil
2 drops lavender essential oil

Mix together in a 50ml bottle with dropper. Massage a few drops into a clean, but damp, face of an evening.