Hydration and Your Skin

In an article titled “Skin Hydration,” published by Aesthetics, nurse practitioner  Lorna Bowes details the role of hydration in healthy skin. According to Ms. Bowes, “Hydrobalance—the water balance in our skin—is a balance between adequate supply and generation of water and prevention or reduction of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) in the stratum corneum (SC), or the outer layer of the skin, moderated by lipids and natural moisturizing factor (NMF).” She quotes experts who say that drinking eight glasses of water isn’t enough to keep your skin looking youthful and hydrated, but targeting the SC, epidermis, and dermal components with certain ingredients can help your skin look and feel fresh. Bowes lists agents that cause water loss in our skin, such as hot water, detergents, pollution, air travel, air conditioning, and even friction from clothing. In addition, she points out that the autumn and winter months provide even more opportunities for water loss, due to the lowered humidity of these seasons and the increased propensity for people to take hot baths, further drying the skin. Fortunately, you don’t have to accept the role of passive victim when dry skin strikes; Bowes shares several ingredients to look for in your skin care products that protect against moisture loss from the skin.

Topical treatments.

Moisturizers. Moisturizers can increase moisture levels in the skin through reduction in evaporation and sweating, increased non-negative matrix factorization (NMF), or increased gylcosaminoglycans and improved skin barrier function. Moisturizers come in different carrier or vehicle formulations, such as ointments, creams, lotions, serums, and gels.

Humectants. Humectants are the sponges of the skin—drawing water from the environment and atmosphere or from the dermis and underlying tissues. They are fundamentally short- lasting hydrators, but many humectants also boast additional benefits, such as anti-aging effects. Examples of humectants include glycerin (glycerol), urea, sorbitol, propylene glycol, and hydroxy acids. Emollients. Emollients are used to soften skin and create a smoother appearance by filling in the gaps between the corneocytes (the cells that make up a majority of the SC). Emollients also come in the form of occlusive oils that offer an airtight barrier against water loss from the skin. Examples of emollients include cetyl stearate, glyceryl stearate, octyl octanoate, decyl oleate, and isostearyl alcohol.


Mesostherapy. The technique known as mesostherapy has been used around the world since it was pioneered in the 1950s by Dr. Michael Pistor. Various dermal filler ingredients used in mesostherapy have demonstrated biostimulatory effects, resulting in increased hydration and fibroblast activity. One such ingredient, silicium, has been shown to increase collagen production, making it a useful solution for skin rejuvenation.

Hyaluronic acid (HA). While HA topical serums are characterized as humectants, HA as an injectable dermal filler reaps its own set of benefits. HA has been in use now for well over 20 years, and its popularity has led to further research into its biostimulatory effects. HA has been proven to improve skin elasticity and complexion radiance when utilized as an injectable filler.


Drinking water alone won’t provide the plump, radiant skin that we all strive for. For more information about the ingredients mentioned here and how you can utilize them, visit your dermatologist. To read the full article discussed here, visit ure/skin-hydration NHR

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