The Important Difference between Hydrating and Moisturizing: What You Need to Know

People often think hydrating the skin and moisturizing it are the same thing.  There is an important difference between the two and it will ultimately make all the difference in how your skin looks and feels.  Skin is both oil and water loving.  Every single cell in the body is comprised of water and lipids (fat).   The outside of every cell membrane is comprised of fats while the inside is water.  Water is what makes cells plump and fats are what make them pliable and elastic.  So when it comes to caring for your skin, you can have oily skin but it can still be dehydrated.  In other words, it may produce plenty of oil but it is lacking the water or hydration that keeps it plump.

Skin can become dehydrated by not consuming enough water, over-exposure to the outdoor elements, lack of sleep, frequent travel by planes and change of time zones, processed foods, lack of exercise and, of course, the wrong products for your skin type, to name a few. However, you can not replace water or lipids through diet alone.  There is a belief that if we consume enough water, that alone will hydrate our skin.  In the larger, over-all health picture, it is absolutely essential that you consume at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day.  This helps flush toxins, aids in organ function and transports vital nutrients throughout the body which will reflect in healthier skin.  It is also essential to consume healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, eggs, organic butter, and high-fat fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. A healthy high-fat diet will ensure that cell membranes remain pliable and able to communicate with each other.  When you deprive yourself of these healthy fats and oils (as we’ve been led to believe for decades now) cells become brittle, can’t communicate with each other and break down.  One of the outward signs of poor cellular communication is saggy, droopy skin.

The quickest way to address both hydration and moisture is with topical products. With coconut oil as the new, all-around Healer of All Things, it is still only oil.  Many clients were commenting to me that they’ve been using coconut oil or oil-based products for their skin but it still felt dry!  How can this be? Oil creates the seal to prevent dehydration but it doesn’t provide the water that plumps the cells. No matter how much oil you slather on your skin, it will not penetrate.  So how do we address this?

I’m thrilled that oil-based products have made a come-back.  BUT…they need to be used in tandem with a water-based product for optimal results.  I love using an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based toner, water-based serum and then an emollient (oil-based) moisturizer as the final seal.  Again, the water-based products do the plumping while the oil-based products provide the seal to prevent evaporation.  With that combination, you’ve got a winning solution and you’ll be able to feel and see the difference in your skin.  Most products will have some sort of formulation of both water and lipids.

What type of ingredients provide hydration?  Look for products containing hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, aloe vera, glycerin, algae extract, panthenol…to name a few.  Talk to me about creating the perfect formula for your skin by combining serums from Le Mieux or AnneMarie Borlind and using our very own, locally produced, oil-based line from  Pure Luxe Apothecary.

Everything you need to support yourself and your skin topically, nutritionally and emotionally is available here at EdenSpa, lovingly chosen and explained to you by ME:)

What’s in a Routine? How to take care of your Skin…

With so many techniques, procedures, gadgets and products for your skin on the market, it’s hard to know exactly what to do or what to choose.  In spite of all the advances and access, your skin still requires some very basic care and if you don’t skimp on that, you can even avoid or at  least delay the need for a procedure down the line.

I liken the products and routine needed to take care of your skin to a theater production.  Each product has a particular role or function and without it, you have no “production”.  So, first things first…Let’s start with the night time routine, since that’s the most important one.  Your skin repairs itself at night, just like your body does during sleep.  This is recovery time from the  daily onslaught!

Step 1:   Cleanse your skin with a mild cleanser (these are your “stage hands”)–I prefer using a cream or oil-based cleanser since these are most supportive of your skin.  By cleansing, I mean mix a bit of cleanser with water and massage it into your skin.  You may remove it with a soft washcloth, cotton pad or sponge.  Using something to remove the cleanser is cleaner than splashing all over the sink, plus it gives you a light exfoliation as well.

Step 2:  Toner (these are the “props” on the stage)–toners are so different now and probably cause the most confusion.  People always wonder why they need a toner.  Nowadays, toners are loaded with humectants that attract moisture and anti-inflammatories. They soothe and hydrate and provide slip for your moisturizer to glide on.  Toners are different than an astringent.  Astringents have a drying effect and I don’t recommend them, even for oily skin.  Too harsh!! Many people like to spritz toner directly on the face.  You can also put it into the palm of your hand and pat it on.  And while it’s still damp, apply Step 3…

Step 3:  Serum (these are the “actors” in the play)–serums are your “action” product and deliver the most healing and supportive ingredients directly into the skin.  They have many functions such as hydration, brightening, repairing, reducing redness, removing bacteria, treating blemishes.  Most serums will serve a combination of functions and some are specialized for specific conditions such as acne or rosacea. Apply a serum morning and night for best support and apply it while your skin is still a bit damp from the toner.

Step 4:  Moisturizer (this is the “final curtain”)–moisturizer is an absolute must even if you have oily skin.  This “seals the deal” and allows all your other products to remain on the skin and do their job. Moisturizer protects your skin and keeps it supple and elastic.  Apply while your skin is still damp from the serum to seal in hydration.  And don’t forget your neck!!

Step 5: Eye Cream (this is the “special effect”)–eye creams are important because the skin around the eyes and on the lips is especially thin.  Pat it on around the bone surrounding your eye using a light touch.

Step 6: Exfoliate (this is also what I call a “special effect” because it’s not done every day) –exfoliation is helpful to rid your skin of dead cell build-up.  Build-up can cause your skin to look dull and prevent your products from being absorbed.  2-3 times a week is enough for most people.  You can exfoliate simply using a wash cloth or sponge.  You can also use more sophisticated products like a gentle scrub or brush.

So now your morning routine is exactly the same as the night time routine except I just splash my face with water in the morning and don’t cleanse.  You may use a sunscreen during the day instead of your regular moisturizer.  Easy-Peasy, right?  If you are faithful to your routine, your skin will be faithful to you. Get your routine out of the way early in the evening so you don’t give in and go to bed with the day’s gunk still on your face:)