Let me explain...
Fin out why hydrating products are not actually a thing and how to best hydrate & protect your skin with some clever tips & advice. Watch the video or check out the blog post below. ⬇
Something that might sound a little unsettling —
cream’s aren’t really going to hydrate your skin.
You see, in a lot of water-based creams, water does not actually penetrate inside the skin. If you have ever taken a bath, then you know that you do not come out of it weighing twice as much as you did and having the entire bath water inside your body, right?
What does that tell us? Water molecules for the most part are too big to penetrate the skin. The 'dry plum' fingers that you get after taking a bath actually keep water entering your cells. Your skin’s natural barrier, the HYDROLIPIDIC FILM IS meant to be WATERPROOF!
When it comes to searching for skin hydrating products, there’s another phenomenon that you need to be aware of. Throughout the day we’re constantly loosing water through evaporation called 'Transepidermal Water Loss' (TWL). Learn more about this in our "What is the best natural topical humectant aka hydrator" video & blog post.
What am I supposed to do to hydrate my skin?
1. Avoid dehydration
The obvious dehydrators include: Alcohol, Cigarettes, too much sun at the peak hours of the day. According to science, coffee is dehydrating after 4 cups per day (1). So have your coffee, just be mindful of how much and be sure to follow up with water...which is the next important tip. ⬇
2. Hydrate internally
Drinking water does not mean drinking just drinking green tea, juice or sparkling water. If you drink something other than water, your body starts to metabolize it. Whether it’s lemon, or a taste of strawberry, green tea, herbal tea etc. Metabolizing requires water to metabolize!
So the best way to hydrate internally is by drinking about 2.5 L of pure fresh water daily. This is equivalent to about 10.5 cups of water. (this is an average, and depends on many factors including physical activity level, height, weight etc.)
Fun Fact: In French, skin is ‘peau’ and ‘eau’ is water. There is literally the word water in the word skin!
So even though you can’t truly ‘hydrate your skin’ with a cream, you can avoid dehydration with a topical product.
⟡ With regards to cosmetics it is rather simple: use oils and balms to create a seal on your skin. This seal will help you avoid 'Transepidermal water loss' which is the dehydration caused by gradual water loss through your pores. Learn more about this in our "What is the best natural topical humectant aka hydrator" video & blog post.
⟡ I often get asked for a super moisturizing hand cream that’s not greasy. Unfortunately, there is no such thing if you want to actually seal-in your body's innate moisture in your skin. The best cosmetics for hydrating the skin are oily and waxy, they are called occlusives.
Let's look at the plant kingdom to explain these last 2 concepts.
Most plants do not get their water intake through the leaves. In holistic gardening you are supposed to water the soil and not the leaves. Firstly, it is because that is where the plant likes to uptake its water, and secondly, because it avoids water loss. Spraying plants from above ground is very ineffective compared to drip systems that allow water to go directly into the soil and the plant's roots.
Let’s take a look at desert plants...
Leaves are 98% water if they're healthy. They avoid water loss (evapotranspiration) thanks to their waxy cuticle! Desert plants have an extra waxy cuticle. In fact, the wax we use in our products comes form one of these perennial desert plants: Candelilla.
So this is a reminder to do what plants do, and drink water to hydrate yourself, and protect your skin’s natural barrier with occlusives.
⚘ Avoid dehydration
⚘ Choose balms and oils that are anti-dehydrating
⚘ Mimic plants that uptake water through roots: hydrate internally
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Killer, S. C., Blannin, A. K., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2014). No evidence of dehydration with moderate daily coffee intake: a counterbalanced cross-over study in a free-living population. PloS one, 9 (1), e84154. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0084154
Sethi, A., Kaur, T., Malhotra, S. K., & Gambhir, M. L. (2016). Moisturizers: the slippery road. Indian journal of dermatology, 61(3), 279.
Barco, D., & Giménez-Arnau, A. (2008). Xerosis: una disfunción de la barrera epidérmica. Actas dermo-sifiliográficas, 99(9), 671-682.
Summers, B. (2013). Science gets a grip on wrinkly fingers. Nature.com.