Saturday, January 26, 2013

Does water moisturize your skin?

Water from the inside of your body creates most of your skin's moisture. External moisture has very little affect on your skin's overall moisture level. In fact, excessive amounts of water from the outside can actually be drying to your skin. This is because external water is considered to be a mild irritant, and will disrupt the integrity of the skin, allowing for the water from within your skin to evaporate out. This means that if you wash your skin a lot (without utilizing a proper moisturizer with the right kind of protective barrier) your skin will become dryer. And, don't be fooled by the word "humectant" (moisture attracting ingredients), because humectants primarily attract moisture from the deeper layers of your skin, and pull it to the surface - they don't typically attract significant amounts of moisture from the outside. However, external water does have some benefits; When used in moderation, it cleans away the grime, and softens and smooths the skin so that it is initially more receptive to accepting and retaining the healthy barrier ingredients that will keep the moisture IN your skin. The key to maximizing your moisturizing efforts is to 1- look for good barrier ingredients that prevent water evaporation, while healing damaged skin cells, and 2- make sure you are moisturizing after you wash, when your skin is most receptive. But, water itself, is NOT a moisturizer... It simply evaporates. It is only used in moisturizers as a delivery system - and frankly, many manufacturers use it simply to reduce their production costs, without thinking about how "good" the product really is. So, if you want to get the most for your moisturizing dollars, you should start examining the ingredients. Ingredient labels are listed in descending order from the highest percentages to the lowest. Therefore, if water is at the top of the list, it probably has anywhere from 65-85% water. Are you paying a lot for water, or for the ingredients that actually work? The second thing to look for are good barrier ingredients. Now, I caution here that some barrier ingredients are far worse than using nothing at all --- I am NOT a fan of anything with petrolatum or mineral oil (two common barrier ingredients that I'll discuss in other posts). But, if you find wonderful natural ingredients that are rich in fatty acids, vegetable oils & butters, and natural waxes high up on the ingredient list, then you are choosing wisely. Some examples of great moisturizers from The Butter Bath Company include our body butters and our body oils.
So, what is the best way to moisturize? Ideally, hydrate from within by drinking proper amounts of water every day. Then limit your exposure to excessive amounts of water externally. When you wash your skin make sure that you also use a good barrier moisturizer to prevent evaporation from your skin. And, get the biggest bang for your buck by selecting moisturizers with little to no water (The Butter Bath Company NEVER uses water in ANY of our products). And, avoid outside irritants that can disrupt the integrity of your external layer of skin. And, always, LOVE what goes on your skin! I believe that you should always love what goes on your skin, or you shouldn't use it at all! We invite your questions & comments! For more information on our products, please visit our web shop at