Feature

Moisturising your skin

Green Lifestyle magazine

Here’s how to keep the largest organ of our body looking and feeling great.

skin

Top row: Apivita First Line Day Cream Fine Line Reducer, $59.90, www.apivita.com; AEOS Profound Nourishing Treatment, $112, www.begenkishop.com; Miessence Intensive Body Cream, $12.20, www.miessence.com; Jojoba 100% Natural Ultimate Jojoba, $39.95, www.thejojobacompany.com.au; Be Genki Body Oil Vitality, $30, www.begenkishop.com; Kosmea Replenishing Moisture Cream, $44.95, www.kosmea.com. Centre row: Bloom Organic Hydrating Facial Moisturiser, $38, www.bloomcosmetics.com; Nvey Eco Riche Epidermal Repairing Moisturiser, $55, www.nveyeco.com; Dr Bronner’s Patchouli Lime Organic Lotion, $14.95, www.drbronner.com.au; Live Clean Nourishing Night Cream, $32.95, www.live-clean.com (1800 137 480). Bottom row: Grown Facial Moisturiser Contour Sculpting: White Tea & Phyto-Peptide, $69.95, www.grown.com; Endota Spa Lilly Pilly Body Moisturiser, $45, www.endotadayspa.com.au; Antipodes Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream, $48.95, www.antipodesnature.com; Blossom Eco Rose Face Creme, $63.95, www.blossomeco.com.au.

Credit: Louise Lister

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Like other physical traits, our genes determine our skin type: dry, oily or somewhere in-between. They also have a say in how we age, as the skin gradually loses the natural oils that kept it elastic and wrinkle-free in childhood. Throw in environmental assault, cold weather, harsh skincare products, hot showers, stress, illness and our diets, and you have plenty of factors diminishing the moisture levels from our skin.

Applying a moisturiser hydrates and aids the skin’s strength, texture and overall appearance on the surface layers. The skin is made up of both watery parts which keep the skin hydrated, and oily parts which help to hydrate and also protect against water loss. When choosing a moisturiser, look for one that mimics this, with oil parts (such as macadamia, evening primrose, rosehip, or sweet almond oils) and water parts (such as aloe vera, vegetable glycerin, algae and honey). Some water parts such as aloe vera and glycerin will also act as a humectant, drawing water from the atmosphere. For best results keep a routine and apply regularly.

Choosing certified organic moisturising products means that you won’t be putting toxic chemicals on your skin (that have likely been tested on animals). Ingredients to avoid include parabens, which are used as preservatives and are listed with the prefixes methyl, ethyl, propyl or butyl. Mineral oil (or paraffin oil) and petrolatum are byproducts of the production of petroleum from crude oil, and have been implicated as carcinogens and the cause of hormonal problems. They can also block the pores. Avoid products with propylene glycol, which is found in such products as anti-freeze and brake fluid.

It’s also important to keep hydrated from the inside. What you eat and drink plays a part in how your skin looks. Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. It narrows the blood vessels in the skin’s outer layers, which means less blood and oxygen can get to the outer layers. The result: wrinkles (not to mention the fact that it causes cancer).

Over-indulging in alcohol can have a detrimental effect, causing redness as a result of dilated blood vessels. Eating foods that contain essential fatty acids can have a positive effect. These foods include olive oil, walnuts and flaxseeds. A balanced diet, a little exercise and plenty of sleep will also go a long way to keeping skin clear and healthy looking.

Bath-time tips:

1. Apply moisturiser to clean skin to avoid clogging the pores.
2. Use a moisturising cleanser rather than soap in the bath or shower, as it won’t strip natural oils from your skin like regular soaps can.
3. Take warm rather than hot showers, as excessively hot water can dissolve the lipids (fatty compounds) in the skin.
4. Dry off gently after your shower rather than rubbing hard with the towel, which can roughen your softened skin.
5. Apply moisturiser before your skin is fully dry after a shower, to seal the moisture in the skin.