Updated: Nov 6, 2020
How to keep all that hydration in your skin once you've worked so hard to get it in there!
🏺💜🏺💜🏺 Why oils? 🏺💜🏺💜🏺
Firstly it's important to be aware of the difference between skin that's dehydrated (lacking water) or dry (lacking oil). Your skin does not produce water but it does produce oil. The most popular misconception about using an oil is that it will just make oily skin more oily. In fact the OPPOSITE is true! If your skin is oily then it's lacking balance (that lovely feeling when everything is just right). Oily skin craves oil and is going into overproduction to try and compensate. Adding an oil to your routine will signal to your skin that extra oil is not required. (I admit, my skin is on the dry, not oily side, so if anyone has had this experience feel free to back me up!)
🏺💜🏺 Oils and Barrier Function🏺💜🏺
Another reason for using oils is related to the reason why our skin produces oil in the first place. Our natural oils are there to prevent moisture-loss (seal water in) and to lubricate the skin (elasticity). If the surface of your skin is compromised with blemishes or broken skin the natural barrier function of the skin has also become compromised. Adding oils to your routine is a way to mimic this function when your skin can't do it. This enables skin to take a break from protection and can revert to healing. Definitely something to consider if your skin is damaged and doesn't seem to be able to recover.
🏺💜🏺 Locking it in 🏺💜🏺
Yes, oils will contribute to your overall skin health. However, there's a more pressing reason to get oils into your routine. In the immediate they are essential for locking in all the lovely hydration you just put into your skin. Your moisturiser is key here as well. Not all moisturisers are occlusive (water-blocking) so some will perform better than others.
🏺💜🏺💜🏺 Technique 🏺💜🏺💜🏺
Sealing in the hydration works in a similar way to adding hydration in the first place. It's not so much about finding one product and sticking to an exact procedure. It's about knowing your skin and what it needs at any given time. Finding which oils and creams work best for you is something you must discover through experimentation.
🏺💜🏺💜🏺 Layering vs. Mixing 🏺💜🏺💜🏺
This is an age-old question! My preferred method is to mix. But sometimes I layer as well. Sometimes I layer before. Sometimes I layer after. I guess you can see where I'm going with this... You have to experiment! Some people will have a whole explanation of how oils won't work if you put them before/after, etc. But I don't really like these kinds of rules as it may stop you from finding something that really works for you. It's similar to the concept of using a skin of hydrator as a last step: it seems like there no point but actually it helps everything to absorb.
🏺💜🏺💜🏺 Moisturisers 🏺💜🏺💜🏺
Not all face creams are created equal. Some are much more occlusive than others and will do a much better job preventing TEWL (trans epidermal water loss) because they are thicker, richer and contain hydro-phobic ingredients (ingredients that repel water). Think Vaseline: completely occlusive, as compared to a gel cream: not really occlusive at all. Generally moisturisers fall in between - this allows your skin to breath but still helps to contain the precious moisture.
When you consider your moisturiser keep in mind that choosing and using your face cream is a whole topic to itself. We'll cover it in more depth in another Unit but you can't really have a full hydration without addressing your moisturiser so this might start to get you thinking.
💬💬💬 Do you feel that you know how to seal in hydration? What oils and creams do you use for this? Do you stick to the same combo or do you switch it up? How do you know if it's working? Do you think that your current moisturiser is effective at preventing water-loss?
Any other comments or questions about locking it in?