Beauty Visage Exclusive
Moisturizers lubricate the skin but are only necessary if your skin is dry. This applies to approximately one in ten people. Alternative names used by the beauty industry include emollient, humectant, nourishing cream, skin food, firming lotion and anti-wrinkle cream. These glamorous names imply superior properties which these creams simply do not process.
Moisturizers merely put a film of oil on the skin surface, which in turn seals in moisture and prevents water loss from the outer layers of skin through evaporation. They also smooth down surface scale, giving the skin a more supple feel and smoother appearance, so that if your skin is slightly flaky, applying a Moisturizer can make the skin appear more normal.
Water loss from the outer skin layers is more likely to occur in dry climates with low humidity, particularly in cold winter weather and centrally heated or air-conditioned interiors. You may notice increased dryness and even flakiness of the skin in these situations. Moisturizers only seal in the natural water content of our skin, which comes from the blood supply and sweat glands. Water cannot be added to your skin by splashing on tap water or spraying on mineral water. Likewise, Moisturizers penetrate the living cell layers of the epidermis to a very limited extent. The skin’s nourishment comes from its blood supply, a rich network of capillaries just under the epidermis. It is total nonsense to talk of nourishing creams and skin foods.
The proportion of oil and water in different Moisturizers and preparations varies, hence their different properties. More greasy preparations are often promoted as night cream or nourishing cream, whereas non-greasy types are often promoted as vanishing cream or day cream to be used under make-up. Moisturizers do not prevent wrinkles or aging despite claims to the contrary. Wrinkles are caused by structural changes in the skin as a natural part of skin aging. They are exaggerated and accelerated by sun exposure. The oils in Moisturizers cannot penetrate through the layers of the epidermis to a level where wrinkles are formed. Even if this were possible, they could not be incorporated into the skin’s biological structure.
Various ingredients added to Moisturizers have been promoted as breakthroughs and claimed to repair DNA, prevent wrinkling, reverse sun damage, promote cell regeneration, repair collagen and improve tone. Such added ingredients include protein, vitamins, collagen, elastin, hormones, aloe vera, placental extract and a host of other substances. All these come with a hefty price tag, but simple cheap preparations which you can buy from your chemist or supermarket work just as well as any other Moisturizer.
Beware of pseudo-scientific jargon. If something comes in an ampoule it does not necessarily mean that it will work any differently from a product that comes in a jar or tube, although it will most likely cost more. Price is no guarantee of quality. You are paying for the advertising, packaging and image. Other traps include the promotion of products as ‘natural’, ‘organic’ or ‘herbal’, thereby implying superiority. All creams and cosmetics need preservatives to prevent deterioration and therefore must contain chemicals.
Let’s face it, water is a chemical (H20) and we humans are 70 per cent water with the addition of a pot-pourri of other chemicals including proteins, amino acids and fats. Terms such as ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ are misleading to say the least. Likewise, words such as ‘dermatologist tested’ do not ensure quality. This type of trendy labelling is simply designed to produce a sense of security in the customer. Details of scientific studies are carefully withheld. No one tells you which medical journal published the conclusions of these studies or whether they were published at all. There is no reason why a face cream ‘researched in a Swiss clinic’ or ‘used by millions of French women’ should be any different from one made in Australia, although some women may think this sounds more glamorous. So maintain a healthy scepticism when buying cosmetic products. Beware of the promotion of creams for specific areas of skin or times of day. We do not need eye, neck and throat creams, or special creams for day and night. We merely need Moisturizers to correct dryness (if present) on any area at any time. Legislation is planned which will curb the extravagance of cosmetic advertising and severely limit the types of statements that can be made.
‘Hypoallergenic’ is a trendy term which is basically meaningless and usually indicates that no perfume has been added to the product. Most cosmetics contain dozens of different ingredients and some of these can cause allergic reactions in certain people. Some people are allergic to the preservatives or sunscreens incorporated into cosmetic products, so just leaving out the perfume cannot guarantee that a product will not cause an allergic reaction.