It seems like we are hearing a lot about skin hydration these days and we can certainly feel the drying effect of the colder weather we are having. Healthy cells exist in an active state which maintains all the functions of the skin. Dehydrated cells aren’t as active and the oxygen levels lower, damage can occur and toxins buildup. As a result the skin looks dull, skin is more sensitive and we age more rapidly.
Hydration is important because the enzymes that make all these things happen require water. It is thought that some medications can deplete the cholesterol essential for synthesizing the outer skin membrane. Acne topicals and some of the aesthetic treatments can be drying so we need to make sure we manage with a good moisturizer after treatments. Occlusive products such as squalene and silicone seal in moisture as well as emollients such as isopropyl palmitate. Humectants such as hyaluronic acid (HA) are gaining popularity. HA’s can hold a thousand times their weight in water. Most moisturizers are a combination of ingredients to meet the different needs and penetrate to the different levels of the skin.
We have a couple newer products and the first is a hyaluronic acid, which play important roles in skin cell epidermal interactions. Youthful skin is hydrated because it contains large amounts of HA in the dermis. By adulthood HA in the skin decreases to 5% of baseline. In the past HA particles have been too large to penetrate into the dermal layer of skin. (deep) There are now new topical nano-hyaluronic acids that are able to get into the cells. Studies have found that HA can significantly improve the depth of wrinkles (40%), skin hydration (up 96%) and skin firmness and elasticity enhanced (by 55%) at eight weeks.
At Dermatology Northwest we carry HA5 by SkinMedica, which has the nano HA. Because it is so hydrating you can immediately see improvement to the skin but after using it for a few months it improves the overall health of the cells as well as skin texture and fine lines. It also contains antioxidants, peptides and polysaccharides. I have gotten good feedback from patients that have used this product.
Loss of lipids in the skin is another factor to maintaining the outer skin membrane. SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore replenishes the natural protective barrier, decreases the signs of aging and also allows the skin to effectively self-repair. This is very helpful for dry skin. One of our employees recently started using this product and absolutely loves it!
SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 gel assists with tissue repair, helps the HA bind moisture to the skin and maintains barrier function. It can be used to enhance your moisturizer for those times when you just need something more. Those on the more oily side can also use it as their moisturizer.
Just to be clear, I am focusing on the hydration aspect of cell function, however there are many other overwhelming ingredients that enhance and repair other aspects of the skin.
As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions.