Most people use these two words interchangeably, when they are actually quite different.
Dry skin is caused by a lack of the lipids within the stratum corneum, the outermost portion of our epidermis. In general, this lipid content by weight is made up of 10% free fatty acids, 25% cholesterol and 50% ceramides. These lipids are essential in the prevention of water loss. Dehydrated skin is caused by a lack of water within the skin.
Our skin is a part of our excretory system, and approximately 4-6 ounces of water pass through and out of our epidermis every day – known as transepidermal water loss or TEWL. In order for the skin to maintain optimal health, a delicate balance is required in order to prevent excessive TEWL, which can lead to impaired barrier function. Impaired barrier function is characterized by rough, red and flakey skin that is easily irritated and sensitive to topical products.
Maintaining this delicate balance requires drinking plenty of water to keep our dermis hydrated, using humectant ingredients topically so the epidermis is able to attract water from the dermis, and the use of skin-friendly occlusives to hold that moisture within the epidermis to prevent it from evaporating. Examples of humectant ingredients are hyaluronic acid, urea, glycerin, sodium PCA and honey. Occlusive ingredients that are beneficial to the skin are dimethicone, cyclomethicone, plant oils, shea butter and niacinamide. Occlusives that should be avoided are petrolatum, lanolin and mineral oil.
Because our epidermis only allows a small amount of water to penetrate from the outside in, it is up to us to apply beneficial ingredients to keep our skin healthy and hydrated every day.
Article from PCA Skin
Who's going to win, Natural or Chemical?
Let's start by finding the definition of each word. Natural: based on the state of things in nature;. constituted by nature. Chemical: a substance produced by or used in a chemical process. (Dictionary.com)
My interpretation of Natural from this definition is these are things coming from nature, ie plants, vegetation, you know, NATURAL stuff. But don't natural things from nature undergo chemical processes such as photosynthesis? Photosynthesis: the complex process by which carbon dioxide, water and certain organic salts are converted into carbohydrates by green plants, algae and certain bacteria, using energy from the sun and chlorophyll. (Dictionary.com) That's natural right?
Water, carbon dioxide, these are chemical compounds we are exposed to every day and yet, we fear the word chemical. Marketing campaigns and the media have been using the word chemical as a scare tactic...and it's working. We have a fear of the word chemical and when it comes to skincare, we want products that contain natural ingredients and not chemicals. (Way to go marketing campaigns for the word Natural. You are currently winning.)
Does this mean organic? No. Organic products are also full of chemicals and chemical compounds. We will cover organic products in a different blog. What I am aiming to do with this article, is to promote a full understanding of what it is consumers think they want in a skincare product. We want natural, but we don't want chemical. Chemicals ARE natural and found in nature. Our bodies are a chemical factory and yet there's still a fear of the word chemical. So, tell me what you want, what you really, really want? (I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want!)
When it comes to looking for a skincare product that you want, why not see a professional? Does the grocer know what's best for your skin? Or the volunteer worker at the co-op? Ever wonder why the products you are spending your money on aren't working? They're all natural aren't they? Here's where your Esthetician comes in.
This person has been trained and has put in countless hours learning about the skin, ingredients and products to be able to help you the best they can. Don't have or know an esthetician? Ask your friends, who do they see? Get a recommendation. A highly trained esthetician has your best interests in mind. And, upon a skin analysis, will recommend tools for you to use at home.* Can't afford all the products s/he is recommending? That's fine. We understand, however ask which one would be the most beneficial to you the day of your treatment. It's OK to slowly start adding professional products into your daily routine. Your skin will thank you. And in the long run, your wallet will too.
Professional products have active ingredients, a lot of which are naturally derived chemicals, and offer more in terms of potency. You don't have to use as much and it will last longer. While seeing the initial investment as being high, (maybe compared to what you were using) overall you'll be getting more in the long term, plus your products are being recommended to you by someone trained to understand what would be best for your skin. Bottom line, professional products from your esthetician are going to be more beneficial and give you more bang for your buck in the long run.
Who won? Chemicals are natural substances and are found in everything, but light and electricity. When it comes to finding what works for you, your esthetician is in your corner, making recommendations to see you succeed in good skin health.
*If your esthetician does not perform a skin analysis when you come in or ask you much about your lifestyle, food & water intake, you might want to opt to seeing a different esthetician.
"Your skin looks so good, you don't need to do anything with it. I've tried everything and my skin still has problems! I just don't know what to do anymore. I don't have time to do things to my skin."
I hear these works come out of my new client's mouths every week and ladies and gents, I am here to listen. When you come through my door, I want to hear about your life. I want to know you ate that piece of pie last night or indulged in some ice cream. I want to hear about why your life or job is stressful at the moment and you're not sleeping well at night, which means you need to drink coffee all day and who has time to drink that much water anyhow?
Yes, I want to hear these things about your life. I want to hear about YOU when you walk through my door. This information helps me. When I understand why you feel you need to drink 6 shots of espresso to get through the day. I understand why you do not cleanse your face at night because you just worked a full day and you had to take the kids to practice, rehearsal or a game, then make dinner, help with homework and oh crap, I need to put those dishes in the dishwasher and keep the laundry going, what about my few minutes of downtime to catch up on Facebook? (You know who you are.)
As I get to know you, I will grasp a better understanding of what will fit into your daily routine to help you reach your skincare goals. I have some great skincare tools, but if they do not fit into your lifestyle, they will not work. I'm interested in what works. Lets talk about what WILL fit into your routine and remove the guessing game at the drugstore. Do you have a skincare product you just bought from the grocery store, but realized as you use it, it's just not working for you? Bring it with you to your appointment and we'll find the comparable product to replace it. Mention this article and you'll receive 10% off the product replacement.
It's true, I don't do a lot of "procedures or treatments" on my skin, but you want to know my secret? It's not really a secret, but it's something that works for me. I understand the busy lifestyle. I travel to Seattle every Monday for work, (you locals know that means 4-5 hours of driving round trip) sometimes fly across the country for one day of work, teach an aerial class, host open gym times, train for aerial performances and have my downtime with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to promote my new business location. I also indulge in that piece of cake or cookies and sometimes I don't drink enough water. I UNDERSTAND the busy lifestyle, however I have a skincare routine that fits within my lifestyle.
Call me and we'll create a skincare routine that fits within YOUR lifestyle. I want you to succeed with your skincare routine. It doesn't have to be some big process you spend a lot of hard earned money on and end up avoiding because it takes too long or it just isn't working. Take the guessing out of what might work for your skin. Bring in your products that aren't working for you and we'll find something that does. Mention this article to receive 10% off your replacement products. (Yes, this means you need to let go of what's not working.) Let's formulate your skincare plan together. Let's create your very own secret skincare routine that fits YOU.
Karli Stewart is a Licensed Master Esthetician, Makeup Artist & Licensed Massage Practioner. She owns Mode Skin Care & Esthetics in Olympia, WA and is a Global Educator for Bio-Therapeutic in Seattle, WA.