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What Causes Dry Skin And What Ingredients In Skin Moisturizers Work

by: Martha Fitzharris
Dry skin is caused by a reduction in the concentrations of the skin’s water-holding sugars and proteins, the proteoglycan and glycosaminoglycan molecules, and by damage to the skin’s protective barrier. Many skin moisturizers and emollient products sold by the major skin care companies delay the healing of irritated and damaged skin and make the situation worse by inhibiting natural skin repair.

New computer instruments have demonstrated that many popular moisturizers increase skin damage in methods similar to skin irritants. Nor are skin barrier creams an answer, such as those containing petrolatum and lanolin.

What we need is to protect the skin surface and to heal the skin from within, by putting the skin in a situation in which normal skin repair can occur.

Most if not all the popular moisturizers and emollients currently sold by the major skin care brands contain high concentrations of detergents and detergent-like chemicals, despite many years of sound evidence that such detergents degrade the skin’s natural protective function and damage the skin. Also, many of the dyes and optical diffusers used to give the appearance of healthy skin are damaging to skin.

Dry skin is caused by two factors: (I) One is the damage to the skin’s protective barrier which yields excessive water loss through the skin, and (II) The other is an important reduction in the concentration of the skin’s water-holding sugar and protein molecules, the complex proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs).

Lipids and fats in the skin provide the epidermal barrier to transcutaneous water loss. These lipids in the upper skin area called the stratum corneum are arranged in layers called lamellae. The lower skin layers contain more typical fats such as triglycerides and phospholipids while the upper layers have more ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids.

Waxes and oils seal the skin’s surface and prevent excess water loss. Cosmetic moisturizers loosen the skin’s protective barrier and hydrate (wet) the skin proteins but have the long-term effect of damaging the skin.

A skin-care product is only as good as what it contains and how those ingredients can help your skin function better. In fact, moisturizers (or any skin-care product claiming to have an effect on SKIN REPAIR, wrinkles or sagging skin) should absolutely contain an elegant mix of antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and intercellular substances as they help skin keep a normal level of hydration, build collagen and prevent cellular damage.

Not the popular dry skin creams that have been in the market since the 1920’s, when the cosmetic industry begun to promote oil/water/detergent creams for moisturizing instead of the vegetable oils that had been used for thousands of years. This was similar to the fallacious campaigns, we may all remember, that aimed to stop women from breast feeding their babies and promoted their replacement with synthetic infant formulas sold for profit.

So next time you see a list of ingredients, think twice, and prefer products with biological skin care ingredients and not those with a list like this one: Water, Mineral Oil, Isopropyl Palmitate, Petrolatum, Stearic Acid, Ceresin, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Candelilla Wax, Sorbitan Oleate, Triethanolamine, Laureth-23, Carbomer, Trisodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin.

Those are some of the ingredients in Pond’s Dry Skin Cream. Not an exception though, for companies such as Lancome, Mary Kay, Oil of Olay, Clinique, Este Lauder, Glycel and NU Skin, to mention just a few, include mineral oil and chemical thikners, emulsifiers and detergents in their formulations.

Examples of biological skin care ingredients are: rose hip oil; emul oil, squalene and other olive oil derivatives; hyaluronic acid a glycosaminoglycan present in the intercellular matrix of skin where it has a protective, structure stabilizing and shock-absorbing role and plays an important role in tissue hydration, lubrication and cellular function, and is able to hold more water than any other natural substance; and snail secretion, the same those little creatures use to protect and repair the collagen and elastin in their skin when damaged, a substance packed with glycoconjugates that enhance the skin’s ability to produce collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans.

The latter are molecules present in the dermis and with a large water holding capacity -true moisturizing- which provides support and skin strenght, helping skin that is about to be stretched to withstand tension and compresion forces without tearing, and also help to firm the skin and avoid sagging and wrinkles.

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