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Many people slather on oils to “moisturize” the skin. Or just grab a bottle claiming to be “moisturizer” thinking that will not make them feel dry. It all depends on what ingredients are being used to help with “dryness” or “dehydration.”

Oils do have the ability to instantly improve the appearance of flaky dry skin. They work to “glue down” bits of dry skin, however doesn’t heal “dryness.” To give an example, this is how lip balms get rid of the appearance of chapped lips immediately. Rubbing oils on your face makes you feel smooth and silky but yet dry at the same time.

There are TONS of DIY recipes out there of people mixing carrier oils together without any water/humectants and calling it a “moisturizer.” They’re easy to make, the lack of water means no need for preservatives and a longer shelf life. The term moisturizer comes from moisture, which means this type of product should contain oil but also a liquid- typically water.

So let’s start our little lesson:

Dehydration is a condition that can happen with any skin type, it means your skin is lacking water. Many people think applying oil will help with dehydration, and it will definitely help as a barrier slowing down your skin’s evaporation but it will not directly draw water to your skin which is why you are dehydrated.

Dryness means your skin is lacking lipids/oils. Applying oils will definitely compensate for your skins lack of natural oils. More often than not if you suffer from dry skin you also suffer from dehydration, with the lack of lipids and oils your skin does not have a barrier to protect itself from the loss of water, resulting in both dryness and dehydration.

So you must be asking what the heck do you do at this point?

Our skin needs BOTH oil and water, or to be more precise; humectants. Your moisturizer should have both of these in order to be effective in fighting dryness and dehydration. But that is not enough, your moisturizer should have theright balance of oils and humectants for your specific skin type/condition.

If you’re extremely oily you will most likely do well with humectants and low oils (non-comedogenic of course). If you are very dry but breakout-prone you need a moisturizer with tons of humectants and non-comedogenic oils.

In conclusion there are two ways of increasing your skin moisture:

  1. Directly by attracting water to the skin-This is done by using humectants (eg. glycerin and hyaluronic acid) which attract water to the skin by attracting water to itself.
  2. Indirectly by preventing water loss-Oils/butter/waxes are used as barriers limiting the evaporation and water loss from the skin.

Of course using light exfoliation a few times a week will help slough off the dead skin cells and keep your skin looking new, fresh, and vibrant! There is no point rubbing moisturizer on dry cracked skin.

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