The beauty sin I bet most of you commit
It’s one of those things we know we should do, but how many of us actually moisturise our bodies every single day? I know I’m definitely guilty of letting that beauty step slide almost every day. If you think about it, we’d never dream of dehydrating the skin on our faces, so why is it considered ok to do the same to the skin on our body?
Each day around half a litre of water and vital nutrients are lost from our skin, leaving the body’s largest organ prone to dehydration, itchiness and flakiness – not to mention the dreaded premature signs of ageing.
So it got me thinking – maybe we don’t tend to place as much importance on moisturising our bodies, because we don’t actually know how it works, or what effect it has on our skin. Naturally, I then went straight to the expert – Vaseline Skin Specialist, Daniel Mullette – for answers. Here’s what he had to say:
Bh: How does body lotion work to penetrate the skin and provide lasting hydration? And why do some absorb quickly, while others feel greasy on your skin?
DM: Body lotions work to supply moisture to the skin, as well as to retain moisture already in the skin. There are three key ingredients in a good body lotion:
- Humectants that penetrate deeply into the driest layers of skin and, acting in the same way as the natural moisturisers in your skin, draw in moisture to where it’s needed most. Too many humectants in the formulation of a lotion can cause it to sit on the surface of your skin, attracting moisture for much longer, thus making the lotion feel sticky.
- Occlusives that spread across the surface of the skin and penetrate slightly, creating a barrier to eliminate evaporation from the skin.
- Emollients that contribute to the flexibility, softness and smoothness of skin. Some natural oils (like sunflower seed oil) contain components that are identical to skin lipids, replacing those lost from the skin.
The exact combination of emollients and occlusives affects the long term feeling the lotion leaves on your skin. A poorly balanced combination can leave skin feeling greasy and gluggy.
Bh: How can a lack of moisturisation affect your skin?
DM: Although your skin has natural mechanisms to moisturise itself, it often can’t keep up on it’s own with the loss of moisture from factors such as environmental elements, stress, and genetics. Hence, your skin becomes stressed and dryness starts. It can take several days after dryness starts before the following symptoms actually start to become visible:
Short term: Feelings of tightness, as well as symptoms such as chapping, irritation and itchiness. Skin might also begin to appear dull and opaque.
Long term: Roughness, scaly skin, flaking of dead cells, as well as more pronounced itching and irritation. In severe cases of dry skin, cracking, redness and significant discomfort
are more common.
Bh: So how long would you have to use body lotion for in order to rehydrate your skin?
DM: The good news is that a body lotion with a powerful moisturising ingredient like glycerin will actually work instantly! It should take only a matter of minutes for the lotion to be absorbed and begin to provide some relief of the symptoms.
Exactly how long it takes to return your skin to a normal and fully healthy state depends on a number of factors such as the quality of lotion, the conditions and stresses you place on your skin and how dry your skin was to begin with. Good body lotions should give a visible improvement to skin within 3-7 days. The more severe the dry skin, the longer it can take to restore.
For severely dry skin, a lotion such as Vaseline Intensive Rescue Moisture Locking Lotion is a very effective way to quickly restore moisture without feeling too heavy or greasy. But the best answer here is to not let you skin get dry in the first place! Prevention of dry skin via a regular, uncomplicated routine is more enjoyable than recovery.
Bh also loves: Vaseline Cocoa Butter Deep Conditioning Lotion
Bh: Hypothetically, if you stopped using body lotion, how long would it take before your skin became dehydrated again?
DM: As soon as you stop using a lotion, your skin can start to lose moisture. The exact starting point and rate at which it loses moisture is dependent on many environmental and genetic factors. Since you won't know exactly when your skin has become dry, it's best not to wait for the symptoms! Use a body lotion daily as part of a skin care routine, especially after a shower as this is when your skin is driest and using a body lotion also has the best impact.
How often do you moisturise your body? Be honest now beauties!