As we age, every part of our body, from our principal systems to the cells from which those systems are composed, grows drier. Since our skin is our largest, most interconnected and most exposed organ, age-related dehydration starts to become visible on our skin as early as our 20s. Because dehydrated skin is more fragile and has less volume, it looks rougher, more wrinkled and ultimately older than well-hydrated skin. Understanding this process, it comes as no surprise that most children don’t need to use moisturizers while elderly people often need to apply heavy creams several times a day to improve its comfort and strength.
To be truly effective, topical hydration formulas contain two essential classes of ingredients: hydrophilic agents and hydrophobic agents. Hydrophilic agents, like Hyaluronic Acid, draw moisture to themselves. These agents help to restore skin’s youthful plumpness, firmness and resilience. Hydrophobic agents, like nut or seed oils, create a waterproof seal that preserves water within the skin’s surface. Both the balance between these two types of agents, as well as the actual agents that are selected, will be key to determining the power and the texture of any given moisturizing formula.
Over the years, I have developed many multitasking formulas to help keep skin hydrated, but during the past few years, I have been exploring a new approach to moisture that I call Hydro-Dynamic® technology. As the name suggests, this technology is focused on changing the relationship between your skin and water. The ultimate goal of this new technology is to create long-lasting moisture without adding a feeling of weight or heaviness to the skin’s surface.
My first explorations focused on re-examining conventional thinking about the hydrophilic/hydrophobic balance to create a new kind of moisturizer for step 3 in the modern 3-step skincare regimen. My initial efforts yielded a breakthrough formula with a light, whipped texture that provided 8 hours of continuous, luxurious hydration. The formula provided a whole new level of relief to people who had lost faith that they would ever discover an elegant and sophisticated solution to their dry skin issues. I had clearly tapped into a well of people with very thirsty skin, and I made a commitment to keep developing more and better ways to help them to quench that thirst.
Recently that commitment to continuing research into hydration has yielded some exceptional results. By reformulating our most hydrating moisturizer, using a different kind of lipid derived from Coconut Extract, I was able to extend the hydration window for from 8 to 24 hours. A second avenue I have been researching is how to complement that extended hydration duration with improvements to both the speed and quality of hydration. What I have discovered is that a layered approach to hydration allows us to achieve these twin goals. Layering treatments is a new idea for us, but it is a major trend emerging from South Korea, one of the most demanding, and adventurous, skincare markets. The most popular new treatment layer is called an “essence,” and it is a kind of a half-step between toner and treatment. By creating a new hydrating essence, powered by Blue Agave Leaf Extract, we have found a new way to enhance skin’s ability to attract and hold moisture. Layering the hydrating essence with our next-generation, 24-hour moisturizer, we have been able to increase hydration by a remarkable 500%.
I have been so impressed with the way that layering has allowed us to improve hydration that I’m eager to explore the use of essences to help address other key skin concerns. Using essences to add a new layer to the twice-daily skincare regimen clearly provides a tremendous new treatment opportunity to transform the skin on every level.
Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Click here to learn more about Dr. Murad.