Moisturizers – Are they really needed?
The truth is that moisturizers are a growing component of daily skin care and account for one of the most common over the counter products sold in the world.
This growth is partly due to the fact that what started as a simple moisturizer has become a sophisticated vehicle for delivery of complex nourishment and regulatory molecules to the skin.
The moisturizers are mostly used for one of the following reasons:
1. To repair the skin’s ability to provide effective barrier against outside pollutants, toxins, bacteria, viruses, fungi and to prevent the essential components of our skin and tissues from escaping our bodies.
2. To increase the water content of the skin in both dermis and epidermis.
3. To reduce skin vulnerability against trans-epidermal (through the skin) water loss.
4. To rebalance the skin’s composition of lipids (fats) both inside and outside the skin cells.
5. To deliver nutrients and regulatory substances to the viable portion of the dermis and epidermis.
The anatomy of most moisturizers encompasses at least one of the following components: emollients, occlusive agents, humectants as swell as additives designed to add extra benefits to the traditional functions of the moisturizers.
Emollients improve the visual aspect of the skin by sealing the tiny splits between the components of stratum Occlusive agents block trans-epidermal water loss. Because of the powerful occlusive properties, these agents have to be used carefully on the face as acne related to the use of cosmetics can result. Humectants are designed to attract water either from the environment or from the underlying dermis to the epidermis.
The era of newer, much more sophisticated moisturizers is upon us where scientifically formulated delivery systems can offer additive benefits of supplementing and modulating skin cells for their optimal function and differentiation. As such, these new moisturizers offer a cutting edge frontier where therapeutic benefits are combined with the moisturizing qualities of topical products. Vitamins, minerals, growth factors, peptides, enzymes and co-enzymes are some of the few categories of molecules currently in use in the latest fight to prevent skin deterioration and optimize its functioning.
About the author:
Mariusz J. A. Sapijaszko, MD FRCPC is the Director of the Western Canada Dermatology Institute located in Edmonton, Alberta. He is also the Clinical Assistant Professor at the Division of Dermatology, University of Alberta, in Edmonton. His areas of expertise include cosmetic and laser surgery.