Do we really need a moisturizer?
Myth: You should apply moisturizer morning and night to replenish skin
Fact: Actually… you don’t even need moisturizer
There is a lot of confusion out there about moisturizers. Do we need them all the time? Sometimes? What do they do for us?
I have found that moisturizers can be helpful in some cases. Some examples are when you travel to extremely arid locations or, during cold conditions (such as skiing), after medical procedures, or while traveling in an airplane. All these conditions expose your skin to sun, wind, and unique conditions for a substantial amount of time. Although moisturizers can be used occasionally, don’t depend on them to keep your face nourished.
If you feel like you need a moisturizer, then something needs to change in your skincare regimen. Eight years ago, I followed the renowned advice of Dr. Zein Obagi and stopped using moisturizers. Since then, my skin has become more flawless, dewy, and plump.
Don’t we all want to have flawless skin?
Below, I will outline some of Dr. Obagi’s major research findings that also work as critical tips for all beauties who want not only flawless skin, but STRONG skin.
There is no such thing as sensitive skin, but there is such a thing as weak skin. When the skin is weak, there often will be redness in the T-zone, tingling, tightening, dryness, reactions to procedures (shaving, waxing, cosmetics), blotchiness, swelling, edema, and rosacea. Feeble skin is the result of the use, or overuse, of adverse products for your skin, and more specifically the use of moisturizers. In fact, Dr. Obagi believes that moisturizers are slowly killing our skin.
We all want to slow the process of our skin aging, and that means we have to rethink moisturizers and get strong skin. Strong is healthy. The cells in the dermis of healthy skin collect water from the food we consume and the water we drink. This water is delivered to the surface of our skin to nourish and repair. We want our cells to be active, which means they are strong, which means they are not sensitive. Are you following me?
When you apply a moisturizer to your skin, the cells in the epidermis (the layer you can see on your face) send a message to your cells in the dermis (the lower levels of your skin) that says: “We are fat! We are happy up here. Don’t bother us!” This message causes the dermis to become lazy, which is just an antonym for active. Lazy, weak, sensitive skin will create dry, thin, and non-elastic skin.
The reason I love Dr. Obagi so much is that his findings and knowledge of skincare products makes sense. He believes natural hydration should come from within us, which resonates with me considering I know I am what I eat and drink. The image Dr. Obagi gives of this concept is of a tree. Imagine cutting a tree from the root--the tree will die, no matter how much moisture you give it. Another image I love is thinking of your skin like a muscle and moisturizer like a pair of Spanx. Don’t get me wrong, I love Spanx, but even I can admit it’s only a temporary fix (or suction if you will) to the sag that exists. Strengthening from the inside out will give you better long-term results.
Instead of thick moisturizers why not use serums or certain creams that are treatments? I recommend using creams that contain retinol and anti-irritants. Retinol activates your skin and anti-irritants, such as herbal extracts, soothe your skin. Basically, your creams should stimulate (aka activate) your skin! Also, be sure you're adding AHA's or BHA's into your regimen to help promote cell turnover. Here are some of my favorite creams, serums and natural exfoliants:
FAVORITE TREATMENT CREAMS
FAVORITE NATURAL EXFOLIATORS
FAVORITE SERUMS/BEAUTY OILS
1) Moisturizer interferes with our skin's natural cycle of exfoliating itself, and instead keeps old, dead cells stuck to skin
2) Moisturizer makes your skin more sensitive, weak, and lazy
3) Switch to serum or creams, rather than heavy moisturizers
4) Make sure your cleanser is not aggressive (causing tight skin) nor should it contain sulfates
5) Exfoliation can help activate a lazy complexion (BHA's, AHA's and Retinol's)
6) There are sunscreens that are not in moisturizer format that can be used (see blog post on sunscreens here). Do I even have to say how important SPF is?
7) Be patient with yourself and your skin. Results don’t happen overnight.
8) This one is important: Beauty comes from the inside. If you want nourished, strong, and active skin then focus on the food and drink you are consuming. If you want radiant skin--if you want to glow--then nourish yourself in every possible way.
Being nourished to me means feeding my body yummy nutrients.
Being nourished to me means feeding my heart compassion for myself and others.
Being nourished to me means feeding my soul a quiet peace.
Being nourished to me means feeding my mind with positivity.
How many ways can you nourish yourself?
Shine on beauties.